What was the £25 graduation ticket price spent on?

QUESTION:
I had a wonderful morning with my son and other family members at the FCES graduation event (yesterday). The weather was wonderful and the venue idyllic. However, my expectations were not met when it came to the refreshments –in fact, I was quite disappointed. I would like to ask what I received for my £25 ticket fee for the Graduation event. It certainly wasn’t food. I wonder if Exec can identify what the fee was actually spent on?

 

ANSWER:
Following the ceremonies held at the Trentham Estate in 2012 the University reviewed the location and pricing for its graduation ceremonies with particular concern as to how we manage large numbers of guests in inclement weather. Equally the cost of the graduation ceremonies and the fairness of the previous ticket pricing was raised.
A number of alternative venues were considered for future ceremonies, however, following a feasibility study and consultation with the Students’ Union it was agreed that the previous venue at the Trentham Estate offered by far the better overall experience for our graduating students and their families.
In 2012 all students were charged a flat fee of £35 to attend graduation which covered the entry of the graduate to the ceremonies and a guaranteed 2 additional guests. In 2012 30% of students requested 2 or less tickets and indeed 32 students brought no guests at all to the ceremonies. This meant that the remaining 70% of students and their guests were receiving far more for their £35 than the other students. It was, therefore, agreed that given the increasing costs to students for obtaining their degree that a fairer system would allow free entrance to the ceremonies for all graduates and to charge a fee per guest.
A comparison exercise was undertaken with other Universities and a fee of £25 agreed. This fee covers the entrance into the gardens (normally costing £8), access to the ceremony hall, a celebratory brochure and the post ceremony celebration catering for students and their guests.
We listened to feedback to our pricing structure once the ticket prices had been announced and agreed to offer a £10 refund for all tickets that had been purchased for a child after between 6 and 14. All under-fives entered free of charge. The Students’ Union were fully involved in the review from the start of the process.
The feedback received from virtually all who attended the week was of a higher positive and enjoyable experience. A sample of the comments can be found at http://storify.com/StaffsUni/staffordshire-university-awards-2013 .

It was important to us to ensure that our Students were the decision makers in the style, content and range of products that were offered as part of the post ceremony refreshments. We took the opportunity throughout the planning process to run a number of tasting panels of proposed products. The final range was decided upon by Students and were the products that they had given the highest marks to regards to in taste and visual appeal. We were also mindful that there would be a large number of our guests that would have specific dietary requirements and so for the first time we were able to offer the ability to book special dietary requests for not only the students but also their guests. Comments and feedback from the Students show that this was very well received.

Could the policy on hospitality be reviewed?

QUESTION:
Hello,
I would like to submit the following question:
Could the policy on hospitality be reviewed to ensure it supports the university’s aims?   During the visit of the external examiners to Stafford Campus, we were informed that they could not be provided with coffee as this was contrary to hospitality policy. Our externals travel for up to 4 hours to reach us and it is appropriate to give them a drink on arrival (Staff bought the externals drinks and paid for the drinks themselves).  I attended a leadership seminar/consultation meeting last semester and staff were provided with drinks and cakes – profiteroles if I remember rightly.  I think it would benefit the university more, and would be more professional,  to treat our externals with consideration and to scrap the cream buns.

ANSWER:
Hospitality can be booked by any department in the University and by any clients who are using our facilities.  The decision to either provide refreshments for visitors or not lies with the visit organisers and it may be that some departments, in managing their internal budgets will make different decisions.  The catering teams will fulfill all approved requests and even when these are at short notice, will try their best to make sure that visitors are looked after.

If the question is implying that the catering team should provide free of charge refreshments for visitors then I’m sorry but we are not in a position to do this unless the University makes this decision.

Concerns about the Cadman Courtyard

QUESTION:
I’m concerned by the usage of the Cadman Courtyard over recent weeks and would appreciate Executive’s response to this. It feels more like a HGV / van terminus than a space that is welcoming and accessible for students and visitors – right now in the middle of Show & Tell there is a bin truck in the middle of the courtyard, as there was yesterday, with similar disruption and noise last week. Last week included one of the entrances (a fire exit at that) having a Brown’s recycling dumpster placed right in front of it. The Cadman Gallery, Careers Centre, Cashiers Office, Open Space, and Courtyard Café all open out onto what could be a real hub for this part of the campus but this I feel is having a negative impact on achieving that.

ANSWER:
The Cadman Courtyard is currently being used by the contractors who are working on the library refurbishment project, so there is more commercial vehicle activity than usual in this area.  Our Estates team have also been asked to provide skips in the courtyard for FACT and the activity around Show & Tell, although these will only be required on a short term basis.

Why is the airnet signal is so poor at Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre?

QUESTION:
Hi. Being a customer of the gym at Stanley Matthews Sports Centre, can I ask why the airnet signal is so poor/none existent?

 

ANSWER:
The AirNet wireless network is one of Information Services key services with over 2000 people using the system every day.

We have recently become aware that the AirNet wireless coverage in the gym area of the Stanley Mathews sports centre is not to the standard that it should be for the number of users in that area. Plans are in place to address this situation and further develop AirNet, working in partnership with Hewlett Packard, as part of Staffordshire University’s ICT transformation.

Did the sale of beer breach licensing provisions?

QUESTION:
In relation to the question regarding the sale of beer at Dolche Vita and other locations in Stafford, can Commercial Services confirm that this did not contravene the applicable licensing provisions? If a breach was undertaken will appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible?

 

ANSWER:
It would be inappropriate to discuss disciplinary action in this forum, however we can confirm that the Campus & Commercial Services team did not breech any licensing provisions.

Should the university be endorsing day-time drinking in the work place?

QUESTION:
Recently there has been a warming welcome in the Beacon Foyer of hot chocolate and grab and go tasty meals, however it was rather disconcerting on Monday to see that this was supplemented by large cans of larger – possibly traditional accompaniment to pie and peas for English diners but not warming, not conducive to afternoon study and probably not what a lot of the new MSc students were expecting to see.

Should the university be endorsing day-time drinking in the work place especially when alcohol is a major health hazard. Those who want to drink do have bars to go to including on the premises, should those who those who don’t or who abstain for various reasons have it so in their face? The larger has now relocated to Dolche Vita – again it doesn’t seem entirely appropriate.

 

ANSWER:
This was a one off and we appreciate now with hindsight, that it wasn’t an appropriate location for the sale of alcohol. The Commercial Services team would like to apologise if any offence was caused and reassure everyone that this was not our intention.

Why have self-serve salad boxes been removed from catering outlets?

QUESTION:
I have been into Bush House today and was looking forward to using the salad bar and choosing my own salad. It is no longer available. I have asked staff and they explained that Bush House are discontinuing the salad bar and only offering pre-made salad boxes. These boxes start at £2.49 each- over double the price of a basic salad tub (from last academic year) and more to the point, they are filled with mayonnaise, croutons and cheese which are all high in fat.

The primary food offering in the Food for Thought today seems to be chips, pizza, burgers and other hot or fried foods. What options are there for staff who want to eat a healthy/low fat diet for medical and health reasons?

How can we promote healthy living amongst staff and students when such a limited range of food is being offered on campus? It leaves us with no other option but to use external outlets, which have a wider choice, but obviously this will impact on the income from on-campus outlets.

 
ANSWER:
Many thanks for your comments regarding the offer in Bush House. In terms of the salad bar offer we decided to remove this due to lack of sales and as a result introduced the pre packed salad boxes as an alternative due to higher sales experienced in other areas.

I accept your point regarding the increase in price for the salad boxes, but to be fair, these products are better quality with a lot more filling and indeed are selling much better than the previous Bush House salad bar offer.

In terms of the hot food offer, we do have a daily special which includes Jacket Potatoes, a casserole or freshly made curry of the day, burgers (which again are available with freshly prepared salad etc), fresh fruit pots and a host of wraps with assorted fillings.
I accept that we also sell fish and chips, but I do believe that this is the only unhealthy thing and we do need to offer some indulgencies.

The “choose your own” salad Bar is still available in the Pavilion and we are currently planning the menu and offers for the new food court in the Brindley Building, and indeed we will be offering a much wider selection of salad and deli including fill your own salad boxes and daily breads from March onwards.

 

Will there be a pricing review for the university sport centres?

QUESTION:
I pay a monthly membership at Beaconside Sports Centre. This costs £25 per month.

Is there any chance of there being a pricing review as I feel this is quite expensive?

I have previously had memberships for Pure Gym (£10.99 p/m for 12 months then £17.99 p/m) and Fitness First (£14.99 per month). Both are significantly cheaper than Beaconside Sports Centre, still offer all exercise classes as part of the membership and have more equipment.

Alternatively, could there be a membership offer that does not include classes? Due to the time of the classes I cannot attend them. Perhaps there could be a discounted membership for ‘Gym Only’ passes?

 

ANSWER:
Sports centres are pleased to announce that they will be offering their customers a new great value flexible membership from the 1st September. No more fixed term memberships dictated by us.

Based on the one month membership and in recognition of customers individual lifestyles, we are offering a unique ‘decide your own duration’ membership. The more months you purchase the greater the discount you will receive.

This great new package means a simple pricing structure to suit you.

More details will be advertised during August.

 

Which conference rooms on campus now have a cost?

QUESTION:

We have been informed that we can no longer book certain meeting rooms in the Octagon Building as they are conference suites and have heard that we will also be charged for certain rooms, but nothing seems to have been circulated to university staff.

Can you confirm which rooms these are (Stafford and Stoke) and also the costs?  What is the procedure, will a booking form have to be completed and authorised by the relevant Business Manager?

If bookings were made prior to this decision will they be honoured or will the Faculty be charged?

 

ANSWER:

As part of the new conference and events strategy that was agreed last year, the university has rebranded the conference offer as venue:staffs.

As part of the strategy, certain rooms on both campuses are now under the management of the conference office to primarily sell to external customers and to be used for corporate teaching.

The rooms now managed by venue:staffs are listed below:

Stoke
Ashley Building:  Dudson Boardroom LT014,  Emma Bridgewater LT111,  Susie Cooper LT113, Clarice Cliff LT115

Stafford
Octagon Building: Octagon Boardroom, Shugborough Room (K350), Knightley (K352), Haughton Room (formally Octagon Annex)

The rooms now managed by venue:staffs are still available for use by university staff, if  the internal booking is an externally facing meeting that has a sales or external income stream for the university.

The primary purpose of the rooms is to generate additional revenue. Any bookings made prior to January 2012 will be honoured.

To book one of the venue: staffs rooms and for prices, please contact Nicki Morris on ext. 2701 or email hospitality@staffs.ac.uk

Will there be catering facilities on College Road?

QUESTION:

With regards to the answer outlined in Could The Pavilion have power assisted doors? Can I ask if there will still be catering facilities at College Road for the many staff and students who populate this site?

 

ANSWER:

We have no plans to change the catering offer on college road, however as and when new and refurbished buildings open and the campus footfall dynamics change we will keep the opening times and the food offer under review.