Additional items policy

Last updated: July 2023

PART A: Additional student-owned items

1. Cooking appliances in kitchens/gyp rooms

1a. Background

The JCR and MCR have provided the following list of appliances that they would like to be permitted:

  • Rice cooker
  • Coffee machine
  • Sandwich toaster
  • Air fryer

College has developed a number of criteria that need to be met in order to address the following concerns:

  • Fire risk from additional appliances – both the additive effect of adding more appliances and control over use (or mis-use of appliances) and quality of appliances
  • Overloading of electrical supplies
  • Use of equipment in unsuitable locations, e.g. where there is a lack of ventilation, a lack of space, or even greater fire risks (if used in student bedrooms)
  • Cleaning and maintenance of equipment – unfortunately experience tells us that kitchens and gyps rooms often take a lot of looking after by our staff. We would not expect them to care for additional equipment but poor cleaning represents both a fire risk and a health and safety risk.
  • Security of equipment – whilst we would hope personal items in shared spaces are safe, there have been occasions where College has been expected to compensate for the loss of items

We note that there is a distinction between kitchens and gyp rooms – kitchens are intended to be used to cook meals, whereas gyps are intended to be used to prepare snacks, and the equipment provided generally reflects this. We generally provide kitchens in off-site locations and gyps on main site.

1b. Criteria

  1. No cooking appliances are allowed to be used in student bedrooms. To avoid temptation to use them in a room, and to allow us to monitor this we propose that they should only be brought to College if the owner is content for them to remain in the kitchen / gyp room at all times. This is crucial for us as it is an insurance requirement for appliances not to be used in student rooms.
  2. Additional appliances should only be brought to College if they can be used in line with the manufacturers guidelines and sited in a well-ventilated area clear of surrounding objects that will restrict ventilation and increase fire risk. You would be able to switch appliances between cupboard space and worktops but if it doesn’t fit in a cupboard or on the worktop in the kitchen / gyp room it is not allowed. Again this is an insurance requirement.
  3. All appliances need to have a UK plug (they should not be used with adapters as this increases fire risk) and be tested as per Portable Appliance Testing. College organises for this testing in November, once students have settled in, which hopefully gives time for you to make arrangements / decisions with those whom you share a kitchen / gyp where there are space constraints. Any appliance not tested and without a relevant sticker is not allowed to be used.
  4. Students are not permitted to use extension leads or multi-way plugs in kitchens or gyp rooms – the number of sockets may be the limit of electrical capacity meaning attempting to run additional appliances at the same time will cause electrical problems and tripping
  5. All appliances need to include a timer function, which must be used such that appliances cannot be inadvertently left on.
  6. All appliances need to be maintained and cleaned by the owners / users. College staff will not undertake any cleaning or maintenance and will report to us if they are not being left in a appropriate state.
  7. Owners of the appliances bring them to College at their own risk and College cannot accept responsibility if anything happens to them. In addition College will not accept any responsibility for wasted food if e.g. electrical supply issues cause issues.
  8. College reserves the right to confiscate any appliance found on College property that does not comply with the above criteria. Confiscated items will be held by the College Porters. Students will be able to collect the items to take away at the end of term, or earlier if they can demonstrate they are being removed from College premises. Owners of any items not collected by the end of the academic year will be subject to a fine to cover the cost of College managing disposal of the items. We will hold an amnesty at the end of November each year to allow students who have brought equipment that cannot be accommodated to store them in a College trunk room (at their own risk) until the end of term.

If the above criteria are accepted and complied with College will allow students to bring the following appliances onto its premises:

  • Rice cooker
  • Coffee machine
  • Sandwich toaster
  • Air fryer

We recommend that students avoid bringing multiple additional appliances to College with them if they are unsure whether there will be spaces in their shared kitchen / gyps. In particular it is highly unlikely that gyps or smaller kitchens at Chads or South Green Lodge will have space for more than one appliance brought by one student, if any. It may be helpful for College and the JCR / MCR to take a combined view of which kitchens / gyps can realistically accommodate additional appliances.

We will monitor how this policy works over the academic year 2023-24 and will revert to the current policy of additional appliances not being allowed if the criteria are not being met on a frequent basis.

PART B: Additional College-owned items

2. Personal fridge requests

St Catharine’s provides shared fridges in gyp rooms on main site and in kitchens. We are in the process of reviewing and increasing this provision to ensure that we are adhering to ANUK standards and that for the majority of our students the fridges in gyp rooms will be sufficient to meet the need.

The College is also in the process of enacting an environmental sustainability strategy that we hope will result in reaching net zero by 2040. Fridges are not, on the whole, ‘green’ appliances, either in terms of their electricity use, or in how they are disposed when they are life expired, or when a fridge is no longer needed by students who purchased it.

The aim of this policy is to ensure that those who do need a personal fridge in their room are able to apply for one, while overall ensuring that the College as a whole is not buying and using more fridges than is necessary.

Sharing fridges as part of communal living requires a degree of discipline and sensitivity to our neighbours, especially around the following areas:

  • Religious dietary restrictions: avoiding contamination with (usually) meat or alcohol, depending on the religion;
  • Other diets such as vegetarian and vegan: again, avoiding contamination with animal products;
  • Food hygiene: ensuring that all food is properly stored to avoid contamination (especially between uncooked meat and other foods) and that leftovers are stored in appropriate lidded containers;
  • Welfare and wellbeing: avoiding unfairness and conflict around sharing of fridge space and respecting one another’s needs and ensuring that fridges are kept clean and tidy.
  • If you would like to designate one of the fridges in your area as meat free or alcohol free please discuss with your household. The College is able to offer support to facilitate these discussions where needed.

2a. Fridges

Small personal fridges will be supplied to students who require one for medical reasons or when necessary for their religious observance.  Students must discuss their requirements with their Tutor or make an appointment with the Community Health Practitioner before such requests will be granted.

Where possible, fridge requests should be made prior to the start of the Michaelmas Term residency period. Requests that fall outside of this period should be sent to the Tutor (if for religious observance) or the Community Health Practitioner (if medical) for approval who will then be responsible for passing on the request to the Accommodation Office.

From July 2023, students are no longer permitted to bring their own fridges or rent fridges from the College.

2b. Freezers

Requests for freezers will not be approved. There are already present in areas deemed appropriate. Students requesting ice packs for medical reasons can get these from the Porters Lodge on either the Island site or St Chad’s.

3. Other item requests

3a. Longer beds

Requests for longer beds should be made prior to the start of the Michaelmas Term residency period via the web form. The Community Health Practitioner is responsible for approving such requests. It may be necessary for a student to swap rooms with another to accommodate the request. If approved, we will aim to have it in place in your room when you move in. Such requests will be logged by the Maintenance Coordinator so that in subsequent years it can be moved accordingly or returned back to storage if no longer required.

Requests for double beds will not generally be granted, unless there is a specific medical or accessibility reason. Again, it may be necessary for us to request students to swap rooms to enable such requirements to be implemented.

4. Making a request

Requests for fridges / other items should be made via a web form located on the accommodation pages on the website. Where possible we will aim to have the item in your room ready for when you move in, subject to approval.

The web form will include the following:

  • Students name and room number
  • Arrival date
  • What is the request for?
  • Please note any relevant medical evidence will need to be supplied to the Community Health Practitioner when making an application for medical reasons
  • Please discuss your request with your Tutor if making an application for a fridge or religious observance since they will be asked to approve them

The outcome of the requests will be communicated to you by the Accommodation Office and then passed to the Maintenance Coordinator to action, subject to approval.