Monday, 14 May 2012

The Noise That Makes You Leave

And there I am. Sitting in Student Central, again, like almost every day. I have my table, I have my working ritual. Student Central is a nice place to sit. It has much space, windows on the roof, much light and the coffee shop five feet away. It is a very nice place, nice to study, nice to meet friends, nice to just have a coffee. It seems peaceful, with all its couches, comfortable chairs, tables, it seems like it is just inviting students to sit there and enjoy, with work or without.

But not it is not all as it seems. Those who spend only little time inside Student Central will not recognize. But if you stay in Student Central for too long, you recognize one or two things that start getting on your nerves. One thing is the rubbish that everyone leaves on their place as they leave. But, certainly, this is bothering, but regarding the thousands of people going in and out of student central during the day, this is probably a problem that is rather impossible to solve.

The other problem – one that, as it turns out, is at least as unsolvable as the one with the rubbish – is the noise. I am not talking about people talking here. Obviously Student Central is not the library. It has been made so that people can meet here and talk. Equally obviously would it be pointless to complain about people talking in student central. Whoever is bothered by that, might as well go in the library (given this is as quiet as the signs at the entrance promise). The noise actually being disturbing only turns up close to the end of the day, not every day, but often enough to have itself noticed. As some people might have guessed, I am talking about the student radio. I have been sitting in Student Central for an entire year now, since September, up to now, when I handed in my last assignments. Since the middle of November, when I was sitting in Student Central and couldn’t hear my own words in a conversation, it has become a custom to turn up the music at least once or twice a week.

And so you are sitting in Student Central, minding your own business, studying, listening to music, working with your groups, playing solitaire, enjoying the good atmosphere, until about 7 or 8 in the evening you suddenly hear a noise growing. At first you keep wondering what is it that disturbs you, until you realise that you hear people talking. But you are far from hearing voices in your head. You are not going crazy and all the books you read for the university, are not talking to you yet. And yet, the voices are getting louder, start singing now, start talking then until you feel weird for hearing voices and you take off your headphones. And then you realise that you are not going crazy, that you are not hearing voices in your head. The voices are simply the noise RamAir produces through their broadcasts. And they go right through your headphones, however good they might be, however good the music is, go right through and into your ear, until you hear the music louder than your own, never mind how loud it is.

You will wonder why I am writing an article here, instead of complaining to the people themselves. Well, if you wonder that, I may tell you that I have certainly done that. Throughout the year I have been writing emails to the officials of the Student Union of the University of Bradford, to the officials of the student radio, I even went to the UBU information and to the Just Shop and asked them to turn down their music. The only success I had was the very nice suggestion to go to the library if I want a silent place to work. The Student Central is meant to be a place for entertainment and relaxation of the students. Though this sets me wondering, what is so relaxing about shouting your lungs out, because your friend cannot possibly hear what you are saying?

Here I want to say that I do understand RamAir, that they want to broadcast. I want to become a journalist myself and do understand that people need practice and training in order to fulfil their jobs after they leave university. But what is currently happening is, that a small group of people is taking over control over Student Central, making everyone who does not want to listen to their broadcasting leave, or turn up the music on to maximum. Either option is not favourable, as Student Central is supposed to be a place where all students can relax, chat, work and follow their own business. Having a small group of people dominate the whole building should therefore not be accepted. After a whole (academic) year of getting very annoyed about this and after a whole (academic) year of sending emails to various officials, talking to them and achieving nothing – measurable at the fact that the music is still staying loud – I am making this public now. However the dear reader should keep in mind, that I am not asking RamAir to stop their broadcasting. But what I want is them to keep their music at a volume that allows people to follow their own business if they want to, and not to leave, because they are disturbed by the university’s radio, and forced to leave the building, because their complaints to the officials remain ignored. (Also reminding that due to the amount of money we pay to the university, asking for some degree of consideration is definitely justified.)