As I was sitting down, consuming yet another stomach-churning Roger Kirk baguette (a chicken and bacon one), I witnessed a scene that would be more suited to a South American socialist revolution. A hoard of students abruptly burst through the Kirk’s swinging doors in a manner that would have had Roger take note. Rather than passively ambling around campus with the usual care- free, indifferent attitude, these students actually got up before one o’clock to protest.
So what had caused such uproar? Could it have been the doubling of student fees? The closure of all campus bars? Tony Blair’s military crusade widening, in order to incorporate Iran as well as Iraq? No.
Vanburgh’s laundry room was due to close on Monday, leaving students with no other choice other than to make the arduous journey to Langwith or worse still, the demoralising walk of shame over the bridge to Goodricke. On hearing this, I genuinely felt pity for these people. How could these freshers be forced to lose their dignity as they drag their post-ziggys stained pants and diesel encrusted shirts over the bridge, fully exposed to the elements?
This pity suddenly dampened as I momentarily recalled memories from last year of having to walk through pole soc sessions in order to get to the laundry room. Their lives would now surely be enriched. That aside, it was incredible to witness such a passionate protest from students who, God forbid, were faced with the prospect of attending lectures in a pair of grimy Levi’s.
There is indeed an unexpected twist to this revolutionary tale. The protest worked. Fifty or so people armed with banners (they were probably made from items of clothing left in the laundry room for ages) and a petition actually made the university back down and leave Vanburgh’s laundry room in place. I don’t think this has ever happened before.
Perhaps the next step could be a round-up of about 500 rowdy Goodrickers, storm the Roger Kirk Centre, and demand that the toilets be dismantled and sold to provide funds for Goodricke’s much-needed and long overdue refurbishment. Plaster on the walls would be nice. Even showers that don’t resemble an over-flowing, open sewer would suffice. Alright, maybe I’m being unreasonable and pushing it slightly. The money should be used to install another lift in Derwent even though a ramp costing a fraction of the price would be adequate. I’m sure the sacrifice of the fountain sink in the Roger Kirk toilets would be a worthy one (the soap dispenser doesn’t work).