02 Feb Behind the scenes: Faculty of Science

Photo: Hanne Nijhuis

Everyday we’re working at the Faculty of Science. Drinking coffee from one of the coffee machines, reading the To-dah-Loo on the toilet, opening our books in the study area. Life is good here. The floors are neat and clean, the toilet seat has its original white color and there is always food (and coffee) available. Have you ever wondered about the fact that even with 5,500 students, it’s hardly possible to find any bread crumbs or brownish spots of coffee residue? Have you ever wondered about the number of employees at the Faculty of Science? (The answer: one employee for every 3.66 students). Let me tell you more about the people who make our faculty such a wonderful place.

Science Park 904 cleaning team

Sometimes I work at Science Park during the weekend. On my socks I slide around on the smooth and waxed floors of the library, like an ice skater. Until I reach the coffee machine; sticky brown chocolate-coffee-cappuccino blocks my way. Let’s put it in more scientific words: the kinetic friction changes. No forward movement anymore, halted on the spot! Where is the Science Park cleaning team?

Of course, it’s Sunday. Only a madman works on Sunday. But it shows how much work is done by our cleaning team. Every day, from Monday to Friday. Saturday morning Science Park looks reasonable, Saturday evening it’s okay, Sunday morning it starts to become strikingly messy and on Sunday evening Science Park looks like a cesspool.

The cleaners start their work day at six o’clock and set out on a mission to clean the entire Faculty of Science buildings at Science Park 904. From the first floor to the fourth floor. Visiting dozens of toilets and hundreds square meters of floor surface. Swiping clean all table tops and coffee machines. Refilling toilet paper and who notices? It’s time to notice! We obviously should be aware of the massive amount of effort put in cleaning ‘our’ Science Park and assist them were we can. Clean up after yourselves!

Sometimes a picture explains it all ;)

Sometimes a picture explains it all 😉

Lab equipment

Once I was searching for the editorial office of on the second floor of the UvA. By accident I walked into the wrong office, caught like a spider in a web. Nonetheless, I told the woman who’s office I had walked into about my idea for this blog: a look behind the scenes of Science Park. ‘Funny,’ she said, ‘I was just about to order this thing.’ On her computer screen she showed me a picture of a brain model, you know, the ones used in biology practicals, used to visualize all areas of our brain. ‘Do you know how this works?’ she asked me. I shook my head. I know nothing about brain functioning or how the UvA orders lab equipment. ‘Well, I want to order this product, so I send a message to the UvA central order picking point. These people order my product and send it to the central Science Park receiving point who distribute the product further.’ Like reading a Kafka plot! I envision a group of people being assigned to full-time order picking. ‘I am glad that this is not my job…,’ I mumble quietly. Happy to be just an ordinary student. ‘It’s far more effective,’ she adds. I nod: ‘A lot of work behind the scenes,’ I conclude.

The same goes for all tables, stands and stuff that you would need while organising congresses or events. I have been involved in organising BetaBreak editions since December 2014. Have you ever visited a BetaBreak? The Faculty of Science actually possesses nothing, no tables, no tablecloths, no tea box and no microphones. Every piece of equipment used for the organization of BetaBreaks is rented through Facility Services and the Audiovisual Department of the University.

Good idea you think to centralise everything? One company for tables and tablecloths? On the one hand it’s good that you can simply call a company to rent everything you need but on the other hand the system is expensive and devious. For instance tablecloths which are used every time for a congress must be rented every single time. The tablecloths are brought to a dry cleaner and the Faculty pays the bill. Perhaps the Faculty of Science can save money by buying a washing machine. Or would this be even more expensive? Post a comment in the section below if you have a brilliant alternative!

Faculty of Science, Eurest, catering

74 cents for a cup of soup, reasonable?

Eating at Science Park 904

Having supper at Science Park isn’t that expensive. Especially taking into account the amount of precious time it takes to make a proper dinner yourself. Spending half an hour on your spaghetti because you messed it up twice… A real torture! Thankfully there is cooking staff.

Currently Eurest is responsible for catering at Science Park but this academic year the UvA makes a decision whether Eurest can maintain their function or that another company would suit the wishes of students and staff better. This is not a decision made by the Faculty of Science. The decision which is made will affect the UvA as a whole. One company is appointed the task of feeding 35000 people! The Faculty Student Council (FSR) is curious to know what you think of food at the Faculty of Science. Which qualities should a catering company have in order to fulfill our wishes? What is your opinion about the food prices? Too much choice? And what about sustainability, do you think that sustainability should be a key requirement for a catering company? Post a comment if you want to discuss food at Science Park! Or send an email to the FSR or CSR about your wishes!

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WTF Johnny

WTF Johnny

- Curious - Absent-minded - Pretending to be a musician - Small ecological footprint - Ryszard Kapuscinsky-style journalist - Living in the Science Park library - Traveller
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