By Emelia Motsai and Roxanne Joseph
Girton Hall was recently awarded two stars in the backpackers and hostelling category. Director of housing and residence life Rob Sharman said the university wanted to get accredited because they used residences during vacations for conference accommodation and “needed to assure potential users that our facilities will meet their expectations”.
“University residences have to operate in the most cost-effective manner possible, and it is a requirement of the Department of Higher Education & Training that they are financially fully self-sufficient. Hence our decision to seek the assistance of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa,” said Sharman.[pullquote align=”right”]“The bathrooms are never dirty and gross and if your bin gets full, you just put it outside your room and someone empties it.” [/pullquote]
Wits had performed very well in the review of student residences in 2010/11, Sharman said, but “I felt that we should also seek benchmarks that are not solely based on student residences at other universities.”
Girton Hall was evaluated on the condition of the premises, and essential services offered.
Shruti Brijkumar, a student who stays at the res, agreed that the residence was worthy of the stars it had received: “It’s really clean. They clean your room once a week and wax the floors.”
Another student, Micaela Gradidge, said the posturepaedic mattresses were a favourite for her: “[they are] really comfortable.”
Gradidge said she also appreciated how clean their residence was: “The bathrooms are never dirty and gross and if your bin gets full, you just put it outside your room and someone empties it.” Gradidge said the food was also a lot better this year compared to last year. She had “stopped eating in res in the second semester, because the food was so bad.” Sharman said Girton Hall was a pilot in a project that will be rolled out to other residences. “By midyear we anticipate that Medhurst and Reith [residences] will also have been assessed.” He said Girton, Medhurst and Reith bathrooms were undergoing total renovation. They are also creating more tea/snack kitchens for the convenience of students. Laundry facilities at the three residences would be upgraded this year.
According to Sharman the university’s residence capacity has been increased from 3 100 to 6 100 beds and the types of residences have “been extended to include state-of-the art facilities and accommodation in some of our newer reside