27 May 2010

Celebration of student villages `kicked off´ in sporting style

Union Sabatical Officers and Dan Walker

A well-known sports reporter and former University of Sheffield student returned to the city to celebrate the University´s new £160 million student villages.
Dan Walker, who graduated from the University in 1999 and has since become a household name for presenting BBC´s Football Focus, led the official celebrations to mark the success of the University´s Ranmoor and Endcliffe Villages, which provide accommodation for over 4,700 students.

Work began at Endcliffe in 2006 with the demolition of the traditional halls of residence, the refurbishment of older properties and the construction of contemporary apartments and social facilities, then work progressed to Ranmoor in 2008. The project was developed to provide students with a vibrant student community, with everything they need in one place. The work also dramatically updated the University´s former accommodation facilities to meet the needs of current and future students.

In keeping with the sporting theme, the celebrations kicked off with a mini football tournament between 12.00pm and 3.30pm, and Dan presented the winners with their trophies.

The day also featured a special announcement from Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett, which revealed that Catalyst Higher Education (Sheffield) PLC, the University´s partner in the residences project, has given a gift donation of free accommodation to one student each year for the next three years. The gift, which is worth approximately £4,360 a year, is set to be given out to elite sports students, and it is hoped that one of the recipients will be going for gold in the 2012 Olympics.

Special guest Dan Walker was given a tour of the new facilities, reminisced about his time living in the University´s Earnshaw Hall´s of Residence and thanked the University for helping him achieve his goal in becoming a sports reporter.

To show the full scale of the transformation, guests at the celebration, including those involved in the development of the Villages, Alumni and local residents, were also able to browse an exhibition showcasing the development of the Villages and the positive changes made to the University´s accommodation.

The accommodation portfolio offered by the University of Sheffield is now considered to be one of the best in the UK, with 75 per cent of rooms being en-suite. Security was a key feature of the build and the villages have state of the art CCTV and access control, something that has reduced crimes such as theft by 95 per cent. The new accommodation also features first class conference facilities which double as social space for students to hold a wide range of events and activities, including many with a non-alcohol focus. Changes to welfare support provision have also been drastically improved, with dedicated teams providing help and advice, as well as dealing with disciplinary issues, for all students living in University accommodation.

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "I am delighted to celebrate the opening of the student villages, which have been radically updated to provide our students with top quality facilities.

"Accommodation at the University is not just somewhere for students to sleep, eat and study, but should be a home from home. As a result, our villages are comprised of close knit communities within a comfortable and safe setting, and give students the flexibility to live in the way that suits them best."

Dan Walker, commented: "I loved my time as a student in Sheffield and it was great to be asked to be part of such a big day for the University. The accommodation has improved immeasurably since I was at Earnshaw Hall back in the dark ages. I'm half tempted to come back to do a PhD!"
To find out more about accommodation at the University of Sheffield, visit the link below.