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«Downing MCR Fresher's Guide Downing College, Cambridge, CB2 1DQ. Page 1 of 35 Downing College Fresher’s Guide ...»

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Downing College Fresher’s Guide 2016/7

Downing MCR

Fresher's Guide

Downing College, Cambridge, CB2 1DQ.


Page 1 of 35

Downing College Fresher’s Guide 2016/7


Fresher’s Week Schedule




The MCR Committee


College Staff


Life in College


On Arrival at Downing








Sports, Societies and Clubs

3.5 Dining in Downing

4 Welfare

5 Finances

6 The MCR

7 The Common Room

7.1 Events

7.2 Life in Cambridge

8 What to Bring With You

8.1 On Arrival in Cambridge

8.2 Day-to-day Life

8.3 Shops in Town

8.4 Travelling

8.5 Important Contacts

9 Downing College Map

10 Page 2 of 35 Downing College Fresher’s Guide 2016/7 On behalf of the Middle Combination Room, I would like to welcome you to Downing College. The Middle Combination Room (MCR) is the graduate community within Downing College. It is made up of every graduate student in college, as well as some affiliated members such as postdoctoral students.

As graduate students, your coursework and research will be organised by your department.

The College primarily acts as a place for you to live, socialise, and access welfare and support. In particular, the MCR is a place where you should feel at home. Here you will meet students from every background studying a wide range of subjects.

I sincerely encourage you to take advantage of what our College and the University have to offer in terms of societies and social events, some of which are set out for you in this guide.

This guide also includes information about Cambridge city and advice to help you settle in.

You should also read the Downing College Rules and Guidelines on the college website for more information.

If you have Facebook, there is a Facebook page for you to join called ‘Downing College MCR Freshers 2016’. Here you can meet current students and students starting in 2016.

We very much look forward to seeing you during Freshers’ week and throughout the year to come.

Nicky Soane MCR President

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1 Fresher’s Week Schedule This is a timetable for the first two weeks of your time in Cambridge, the events highlighted in grey are compulsory, and those in peach are social events. Please note that introductions to the various departments, including safety talks for scientists are likely to be spread across this time frame, and you will receive details from department separate to the information provided here.

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2 People

2.1 The MCR Committee The MCR elects a committee to organise activities for graduates, as well as to represent graduate interests at various levels in College. As a general introduction, we arrange social events throughout the year; both within Downing and at other Colleges. The Committee exists primarily to look after your welfare during your time at Downing and to offer advice and information on College and University matters. Below is an introduction from your current

MCR Committee:

Nicky Soane, MCR President mcr-president-officer@dow.cam.ac.uk

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the Environmental Officer for the year 2016, my goal is to keep Downing at the top of the University Student Switch Off Campaign, help Downing reduce carbon footprint and have more sustainable lifestyles.

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2.2 College Staff The Porters Phone 01223 334800 Working day and night, the Porters provide our College with security, and there is always at least one Porter on duty. In addition to acting as the College’s security, the Porters provide a wealth of information about Downing, the University, and Cambridge. If you have a question, they are often more than happy to answer it. Porters can always be found in the Porters’ Lodge, the building located on your left as you enter main College gate. The Porters can

help with many matters, including:

 Help locating or contacting senior members of College, such as a Tutor, Bursar, Fellow, the Master, or the Tutorial & Admissions Office. They can give you directions, pass on written messages, or provide you with contact numbers if appropriate.

 Keys or access cards for various rooms in College, including your own accommodation, the MCR, the gym, and the tennis courts. If you live in Collegeowned property and lose your key, a temporary replacement can be obtained (only by the room occupant) from the Porters' Lodge. A permanent replacement can be obtained for £50, so we caution you against losing your residence key.

 Receiving your mail, which will be sorted and stored at the Porters’ Lodge in the student pigeonholes. The Porters will also keep your packages safe in the Post Room (next door to Porters’ Lodge) until you can sign and pick them up.

 Signing in and out of College, a process which any guests need to complete in order to stay overnight. You are permitted to keep an overnight guest in your room for up to three nights, but you must sign them in. You will also be asked to sign out should you leave Cambridge for a significant period of time, such as for fieldwork or exchange.

Should you be signing out in this way, be sure to also file the appropriate form with the Tutorial and Admissions Office.

 Various newspapers, pamphlets, and notices, including Varsity, The Cambridge Student, and Cambridge News. The Porters’ Lodge keeps all of these publications at their front desk.

Tutorial and Admissions Office Phone 01223 33481 I, Fax 01223 760896 Serving as the main source of information regarding most College matters, the Tutorial & Admissions Office can be found on the first-floor of B staircase. The Academic Registrar (academic.registrar@dow.cam.ac.uk) and the rest of the team are extremely approachable and helpful. This is the office to visit to sign in for your visa, apply for grants and to collect grant cheques or studentships from College. The Tutorial & Admissions Office also deal with any official or administrative business such as exams and graduation.

If you have problems of any sort, the

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Tutorial & Admissions Office will help in any way it can.

The Bursary The Bursary is located beyond the Tutorial & Admissions Office, and deals with College bills.

If you have any issues with your College bill or need any assistance, they are often happy to help find a solution.

Graduate Tutors Upon their arrival, all graduate students at Downing are assigned to one of two Graduate Tutors. These Tutors work with the MCR Committee to enhance the graduate life at Downing, and are available to meet individually with all of their assigned graduates. The Tutors are keen to assist with any academic and non-academic problems that you might encounter during your degree, and will do what they can to help in a confidential, sympathetic, and constructive way. The Graduate Tutors are often approached when financial assistance is required, most commonly for attending conferences or other travel expenses connected with academic work, and when a signature is needed on documents.

Every graduate must meet their Tutor during the beginning of term, and should you need to meet with them at any subsequent time, appointments can be arranged through the emails provided below. Tutors may also ask to meet with you at regular times throughout the year, to ensure that your time in Cambridge goes as smoothly as possible.

Dr Jay Stock jts34@cam.ac.uk Dr Ewan Jones ejj25@cam.ac.uk The College Nurse 01223 334817; nurse@dow.cam.ac.uk Sally Maccallum, the College Nurse, may be found in O Staircase. Sally is a qualified Registered Nurse and has many years of experience in student health matters. She is available to provide assessment and treatment of minor illness and injury as well as ongoing emotional support throughout the year. She also provides other services like removal of sutures, health information, chlamydia testing, relaxation, avoiding stress and smoking cessation support. The College Nurse can also refer students to the College Physiotherapist if appropriate and depending on need. In addition, the clinic has many health-related leaflets and useful information inside and outside the door for students to help themselves.

The Nurse runs a clinic on weekdays throughout full-term between 1pm and 3pm, except on Thursdays when it is 11am to 1pm. No appointment is necessary; just enter the waiting room and knock on the inner door.

The College Chaplain 01223 334910; chaplain@dow.cam.ac.uk The College Chaplain is Reverend Dr Keith Eyeons, who has a College room in O staircase.

He is responsible for running the College Chapel and Choir. Keith is available to talk to about any concerns you have, personal or academic, and regardless of belief or background.

Alternatively, if you just want to drop in for a chat, he would be delighted to see you. You can contact him by putting a note in his pigeon hole in the Porters' Lodge or under his door, by email or by phone. Keith is very approachable, friendly and understanding. He is an integral part of the support network in Downing.

Page 11 of 35 Downing College Fresher’s Guide 2016/7 3 Life in College You’ll have experienced University life before, but Cambridge can be a bit different with its oddities and traditions. There’s a whole vocabulary to pick up on as well. 'Ents' and 'bops' are Cambridge terms for parties.

Punting down the river is an acceptable way to spend a summer afternoon. Your cleaner is your Domestic Assistant (sometimes still referred to as 'Bedder'). May Week, when the Undergraduates celebrate the end of their exams, is in mid-June (it used to be in May, hence the name). Bumps are a type of rowing race. There are loads, so don’t be surprised if you hear a word you’ve never heard before – you’ll pick them up as you spend time in Cambridge!

One of the most unique Cambridge things is that you are not allowed to walk on the lawns in most Colleges, unless accompanying a Fellow, and Downing is no exception – other than the Paddock and the grass between the MCR and the Porters’ Lodge.

Terms may mean very little to you in the long-run as a graduate student, you just notice that things seem a lot quieter outside of term time – without the Undergraduates! The ‘Full Terms’ (for 2017) are Michaelmas (from 4th October to 2nd December), Lent (from 17th January to 17th March) and Easter (from 25th April to 16th June). College is very much inactive during the Summer and the other gaps between terms, when conferences take over as the prime concern, but the MCR Committee still endeavour to put on lots of events!

3.1 On Arrival at Downing Here are tips on the first things you should do as you first arrive in Downing College.

Visit the Porters’ Lodge (also known as the ‘P'lodge’) The Porters are a very helpful and enthusiastic group of college employees who are available 24/7. They can be found in the building on the left as you enter the main gate.

Initially, you will want to do the following:

 Sign into the College.

 Collect your room keys if you are living in College accommodation.

 Check with the Porters about access to the College at night; your key will open the main Regent Street gate and the one on Lensfield Road.

 Find your pigeon hole in the Porters’ Lodge. This may contain further information for you.

Go to the Tutorial and Admissions Office The Tutorial and Admissions Office is located in B staircase. The Office is open over Freshers’ Weekend on Saturday 1st October from 12.30-17.00 and on Sunday 2nd October from 11.00-12.30. It is vital that you register with the office over this weekend. If you are

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expecting a grant cheque this will be in your pack if it has been received by the College.

Alternately, your department/faculty may have it.

Computing Set up your computer! You will be given step-by-step instructions on how to get connected to the College network. Email is used for all College news and information, as well as all MCR organised events and these will all be sent to your University email account. Email forwarding may be set up to another email account if you’d prefer, although many people find it easiest to use their Cambridge account for all emails.

Then you may need to find out about the IT facilities offered by your Department and the University’s Unified Information Service (www.uis.cam.ac.uk) and register for them (passwords are often needed).

You may wish to register at the British Library (BL; applications can be made via their website, as well as checking the literature they hold) as it is a useful way of getting hold of the odd article from publications that may not be held in Cambridge. The BL is also the easier and cheaper way to conduct inter-library loans, particularly for books in foreign languages that are not necessarily held in the University Library (UL).

Find out which sources relevant to your course are available online, as you will need a password (obtainable from the UL or your Department) for some of these. Also, acquaint yourself with the different catalogues that are available for searches.

See your Academic Supervisor in your Department Some Departments send out notices to students’ pigeon holes announcing orientation and ‘getting acquainted’ meeting times. Those undertaking science courses will have to look out for Laboratory Safety and First Aid courses that are compulsory. Check your pigeon holes and notice boards in your email, Department and College for this information.

It is often best to email your supervisor to let them know that you have arrived in Cambridge and to ask when they would like to meet. It’s normally best not to wait too long before doing this: some supervisors may expect you to contact them, rather than the other way round.

Obtain a gown

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