Ever get worried that you aren’t having the uni experience? Don’t be! There isn’t one.
In general, if you want to make the most out of your time, good advice would be to get stuck in and involved in what your uni is about and what it has to offer you.
Obviously at Sussex, with Brighton on your doorstep, you have an amazing pool of creative people and beautiful spaces to help you express yourself- but there is more to it than that.
With the University being campus-based there is a whole microculture on site that often gets overlooked. Are you making the most of it and what exactly is it?
When you moved to uni, you would be forgiven for thinking that the 20-minute bus ride into Brighton was a bit long; hoping that you were going to be living and breathing city life from the off. But to bemoan this would be to neglect all of these amazing things that our campus in Falmer has to offer:
The Falmer Quad:
Starting with the home of the student’s union, Falmer House is an integral aspect of life at the University of Sussex, with great things to get involved in year-round:
Running on Tuesdays and Thursdays, this Sussex-staple sees the Falmer Quad fill with traders offering anything from vinyl to groceries, food from varied cultures to craft nic knacks. Whether you are looking to furnish your room or grab a bite to eat, this market, with its ever refreshing and rotating showcase of traders, is definitely worth checking out.
Student Union Shop
Located under the archways at the back of the building, the Student Union shop offers a decent meal deal and generous opening hours for students in their hour of need. The shop is stocked with your standard corner shop items, as well as student essentials. It’s also your go to place if you are feeling like you want to fan-girl the uni, as they have a wide range of Sussex merchandise- the most popular being the branded hoodie.
With the infamous Eastslope bar having shut two years ago, and with Northfield being brought in as a replacement, those that don’t want to trek up to the other side of campus will likely be relying on Falmer Bar, situated in the heart of the SU, for their reasonably priced meals and mid-day beverages to offset the uni stress. This three-room venue has lots to offer in the way of student deals, with a ‘happy hour’ running from 5-8, Monday- Friday and an affordable menu catering for a wide range of dietary requirements.
The bar also features a deli, pool table and outside seating area with umbrella and heaters; offering varied atmospheres for whatever vibe you are feeling.
If you really want to take it easy and lounge about, coffee in hand, just around the corner from Falmer Bar you will find Room 76. Furnished with sofas and serving cake and bubble tea amongst other delights, Room 76 is a perfect location for your coffee meetups and pre-lecture power naps.
Of course, the home of the students’ union is also, well… home of the students’ union. Upstairs, above Falmer bar, you will find the offices of the union staff, should you ever wish to raise a concern or talk to the student body about anything.
Upstairs you will also find the student common room where you can chill with friends or meet up with your study group to work on an assignment. Off of the corridors running around the quad are spaces for use by societies and students. Notably, Mandela Hall provides a vast space for events to be held, with Mandela Balcony overlooking it from the floor above which, itself, is a space that can be used.
On the opposite side of the common room, the Debating Chamber is a venue which regularly puts on live performances from theatre, to music to performance poetry.
But hang on a moment! For all of you theatre fanatics who are itching to see as many shows as possible- Sussex has a trick up its sleeve, guaranteed to provide you with your theatre fix!
The Attenborough Centre of Creative Arts:
Did you know that there is a state-of-the-art theatre on campus? One that just recently has had a multimillion-pound refit and puts on a diverse range of quality arts performances? Well, there is and, honestly, you should go.
The Attenborough Centre of Creative Arts was born in 2016 after the renovation of what was previously the Gardener Centre. As a promise to ex-chancellor of the university and well renowned filmmaker, Lord Richard Attenborough, the shameful state of the derelict arts centre was addressed to the tune of over 7 million pounds and now the building has a new lease of life; future proofed with incredible facilities for all to enjoy for decades to come.
The building, situated opposite Falmer bar, houses a 350-seat auditorium, rehearsal spaces and a café open to the general public, serving great coffee- a great study spot! Whether you’re interested in the arts or just fancy sitting somewhere nice for a few hours, the ACCA is a must visit.
One thing that is hard to avoid noticing on a stroll around campus is it’s quirky brutalist architecture. Designed by the highly esteemed architect, Sir Basil Spence, as part of a post war scheme of university development, the Sussex campus was commissioned in 1959. Falmer House was the first element to be built in this scheme that respected the natural beauty of the location and was developed to be in keeping with the architecture of the surrounding areas.
Spence’s work on campus is considered by many to be among his best and includes such gems as the unique, circular meeting house, the library- which from an aerial perspective is an open book- Falmer House with its archways which became a motif of Spence’s later work and, of course, the aforementioned, stunning Attenborough Centre. There are just so many quirks to look out for next time you are on campus!
Of course, with the natural beauty of the surroundings, the campus lends itself to spending time outdoors. Sporting societies are obviously a good option if you want to get active and, with the Active US scheme, there is no pressure to get involved competitively- just head along to the free sessions with your sport of choice every Wednesday and get stuck in.
If team sports aren’t your bag then, as a student studying in Sussex you have the advantage of not only having the South Downs National Park at your direct disposal, but you also can benefit from the well networked cycle routes between the campus and Brighton.
If you don’t have a bike or do but are concerned about whether or not it is safe, fear not! Head down to the student run bike workshop, The Bike Shack, located in a corner of Falmer quad.
If you need to give your bike a once over, take it down to one of the volunteers to make sure it’s road safe.
Alternatively, if you are in need of a pair of wheels, they can also help with their ‘Earn a bike scheme’. Simply volunteer at the workshop and, once you have completed your induction, you will be able to select your own bike, do it up and ride away.
Having not even touched on Northfield and its many events such as Thursday night cocktails as well as society run open mic and quiz nights, it’s clear to see that there is a lot to get involved with on campus alone. Get stuck in and make the most of it!