UON students are ‘starving’ for affordable food options on campus, SFUN results find. Peter Hyslop and Leanne Elliot explore the survey’s key findings, and how the University plans to respond.
Only 47% of UON students were satisfied with food options on campus this year, according to recently released data from this year’s Student Feedback on the University of Newcastle survey (SFUN). Hopefully, that will improve next year, given the uni installed brand-spanking-new food trucks just before this year’s survey was released. After all, $12 is a very reasonable price for a toastie or chicken gozleme; what else could the ungrateful cohort possibly want?
Satisfaction levels of those attending the City Campus might be improved too, with plans for a ‘pop-up’ vendor and a new cafe in the pipeline; however an improvement in coffee quality at NUspace is yet to be seen.
Cynicism aside, more than 9,700 students responded to the survey. That’s about 34.5% of students receiving those incessant emails. Weirdly, 88% of respondents were international students. That’s skyrocketed from 10.2% in 2022. Either domestic students are totally checked out, or an overworked intern has made a big whoopsie.
Campus experience was rated positively, with seven out of ten students satisfied with their overall student experience. Furthermore, 83% are happy with the provision of on-campus learning technologies. It should also be noted however, that a majority of respondents (58%) attend Callaghan campus.
No surprises from the rest of the report: an 87% satisfaction rate with IT equipment was bolded and highlighted. The University described this statistic as providing “…the digital experience expected of a modern organisation.” In other words, thank goodness the Wifi works.
Student satisfaction in relation to Health and Wellbeing dropped slightly (-1%), with students indicating things like financial support, chaplaincy, Campus Care and online counselling as impacting their student experience (https://newcastle.edu.au/support). In response, the University will be making communications and resources more accessible, as well as introducing a student wellness program which will run with small groups for 6 weeks.
More than 90% of students reported feeling safe on campus, with a huge reduction in respondents feeling concerned about sexual assault or harassment on campus between 2021 and 2023. However, adequate lighting around campus remains a concern.
The libraries are doing something right with an overall satisfaction rating of 90%, however, students did indicate they would like more quiet study spaces. Comrades in NUspace understand the struggle of scouting every level in the City Campus building, only to find every meeting room occupied.
Overall, feedback was mixed. The biggest winners were security, library and IT services. And the losers – parking (or lack thereof), satisfaction with learning and social spaces, and satisfaction with food, beverage and retail. Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky says the uni wants to improve.
“We are continuously working to improve the student experience for you. I am pleased to see we have made progress in areas like campus environment and safety, and our libraries,” he said in the report.
“This year we have heard your suggestions of where you would like to see some improvements, such as better campus food and beverage options…we will continue to work on these areas to further enhance your student experience,” he said.
Any timely, speedy or results-oriented ‘enhancing’ would be welcome at this time.
Want to find out more?
- Download the SFUN 2023 report.
- Find out more about how SSAF funds are allocated.
- Learn more about the University’s 2022-2025 Stretch Reconciliation Plan (RAP).
Feature image by Sophie Jaggers, Yak Managing Editor