Senate House fifth floor reopens as Bristol SU offices, taking over student study space

The movement of student support services means the loss of popular study seats

On Monday (22nd April) the fifth floor of the University of Bristol’s Senate House reopened as an area where the students can access key Student Union services.

According to the SU website, it will now be easier for students to access advice, learning and development opportunities, SU democracy and campaigns, and the elected officer team.

The move from the Richmond Building in Clifton to Sentate House was following feedback from students that the SU facilities were too far away, hence the move to the heart of campus.

The facilities now in Senate House include The Bristol SU Welcome desk, academic advice, the SU staff team, activity rooms, and development team meetings.

When the move was announced earlier this year it faced backlash from students who felt it was unfair to remove the use of study spaces given the shortage across campus, especially during exam season.

The fifth floor used to consist of multiple study rooms, available to book out for student societies, but now only rooms 5.20 and 5.22 will be open in the evenings as activity space.

Student groups, specifically Drama Soc, protested against the closure of these rooms as 170 study spaces were lost that were utilized for society meetings and performance practices. The university, already having issues with spacing availability, did not offer alternative and permanent spaces for these societies.

These societies heavily relied on Senate’s bookable spaces, but since these rooms have closed, there has been worry among the students, who can’t put on their shows if they cannot find replacement spaces to use for rehearsal.

In response to these student views, the SU said: “We know that there is a shortage of study space on campus and we are actively lobbying the University to find additional space for students to study and make it easier to find out which spaces have availability.

“From Thursday 25 April – to Friday 31 May the Carpenter Room in the Richmond Building will be able to be used throughout the day, during weekdays and weekends, to help provide additional student space for students.”

The fifth floor as a study space was only temporary, with the SU reinstating that: “Taking on the space secured the long-term future of two large Senate House rooms for student group activities – which only happens if the SU are the tenants.”

For more information on where to find different services, head to the SU webpage and FAQs here.

Related articles recommended by this author:

Search continues for university graduate who went missing after Bristol house party

Iconic Bristol nightclub Gravity to close down immediately due to ‘economic strains’ 

Senate House fifth-floor study space set to close later this year