Community Responsibilities


Whether you are living in halls or in a private residence, one of the challenges of student life is learning how to successfully integrate into a neighbourhood. Here at the University we encourage our students to be active and responsible members of their communities, respect their neighbours and the neighbourhood and help us to promote long-term community relations.

 

USW Student Charter

   

   Information on this webpage forms part of our commitment in our Student Charter

 

 

 

The University has worked hard to create an excellent relationship with the local community. Problems can sometimes occur with neighbours and the local community if students cause noise disturbances, dispose of rubbish incorrectly, park inconsiderately or engage in other antisocial behaviour.

The majority of our students cause no problems. However, a minority cause serious complaints, undermining community relationships to the detriment of everyone.

This section of our site is designed to give you information on a variety of subjects that will help you to be good neighbours and take on board the responsibilities of living in the community.

 

Democracy

If you want to raise an issue about safety or security in the community, you can attend a Partnerships and Communities Together meeting. You can find details on the Community Policing page.

Our page about the Register of Electors and Democratic Representation contains information about how you can be democratically active and what democratic representation is in place.

 

Noise

Many homes around our campuses are occupied by students. Our students live amongst local residents who could be people with young families, elderly people, people doing 9-5 jobs – in short, people who may have different lifestyles. Of course, they are entitled to respect and to live a peaceful and quiet life.

If you are living in rented accommodation, you should also consider your fellow housemates who may have different assessment schedules than yours. If you have finished all your assessments but one (or more) of your housemates are trying to revise, then distracting them from studying could have a serious impact on their academic success. Please be considerate about the impact of noise on your neighbours and your housemates.

Loud music and late night noise are the most common causes for complaints. Parties, socialising with friends and going out are a part of University life for many students. However, people have different levels of noise tolerance. There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of conflicts and complaints.

 

Introduce yourself

One of the most important things you can do when moving into new accommodation is to introduce yourself to your neighbours. If you are able to establish a friendly relationship, they are more likely to be more understanding of your lifestyle. In turn, you should be able to appreciate their concerns more. If they know you, it also means that they are more likely to approach you directly about any problems, rather than contacting the police, University, or Environmental Health Department. They may well have had a negative experience in the past with students. If you make an effort to be friendly, they will see that you are keen to be a good neighbour.

 

Noise outside the house

Please be mindful of this when travelling to and from campus. No one wants to hear shouting, screaming or swearing outside their house at any time of the day or night.

 

Noise inside the house

People do not expect to be able to hear noise from adjoining or surrounding houses – this works both ways. However, if the house you live in was not originally intended for multiple occupation, noise may travel farther than in purpose built accommodation. If you can frequently hear your neighbours, they can hear you, too.

Shouting from room to room, running up and down stairs, using noisy appliances such as washing machines and banging doors can probably be heard next door. This can create more of a disturbance to some than music does. Some noises, such as the washing machine, are unavoidable, but you can show your consideration of others by limiting these to daylight hours.

Additionally, students who use their gardens in the evenings can sometimes forget that voices can carry a long way. This can especially become a problem if your neighbours are trying to get children to bed or if they themselves are trying to sleep.

 

Stereos and TVs

It goes without saying that volumes should be set at a reasonable level. Keep in mind that bass notes carry through walls easily, even at relatively low volume settings. If you have a subwoofer, you can avoid a lot of annoyance to your neighbours by setting the bass control to a low level.

Another option (where possible) is to move TVs and/or speakers away from your walls and raise them off the floor, as this reduces noise and vibration. You may also want to consider using headphones late at night.

 

Parties

If you are planning a party, your neighbours are more likely to be understanding if you warn them in advance and advise them of a proposed end time which you should then stick to. However, even the most relaxed of neighbours won’t expect you to host parties on a weekly basis! Think about the day of the week you’re holding your party on. It can be more acceptable to celebrate on a Friday or Saturday evening, when most people don’t have to get up for work or school the next day.

Unwanted sound will have greater impact later at night when other background noise is reduced. If someone should complain about the noise, it is always better to simply turn the music down and apologise to stop the situation from escalating further. Please remember that whilst you may be a good neighbour, some of your guests may not be. If necessary, ask your guests to be considerate to your neighbours. In particular, when the party is over, try to encourage them to be quiet when leaving and returning to their homes.

 

Gardens

When summer approaches many students take the opportunity to study and socialise in their gardens. Be aware that noise travels far and that neighbours are also likely to be in their own gardens, or have windows open. They are unlikely to be keen on hearing music blasting from a barbecue taking place two streets away.

 

Noise at night

If you are returning home late at night, please keep noise to a minimum. It is very easy to unintentionally disturb the sleep of residents and cause problems. If you are returning late you should avoid raised voices, slamming doors and keep the volume of music, TVs or computer games low. If you decide to invite friends back to your home, it is your responsibility to make sure that they also make allowances and don’t disturb your neighbours. They won’t be the ones facing the consequences if your neighbours make a complaint.

 

Halls of residence

If you are living with other students, you still cannot assume they have the same tolerance for noise as you do, or that they are following the same study / free time pattern. Excessive noise levels in halls of residence are taken seriously by the University and Accommodation Services, and Resident Tutors will intervene if noise levels lead to complaints.

 

What to do if you want to complain

Students can have problems with noise from neighbours too. The best way to address a problem is to address the people directly in a polite manner. Hopefully, they will be sympathetic to concerns and take all reasonable steps to resolve the issue. The same would be expected of you, should a neighbour contact you regarding an issue.

Hopefully, resolving the matter in this way will stop the situation escalating further. However, if this does not solve the problem and you live in certain halls of residence, you can contact the Resident Tutors for your halls.