Robinson College

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

Robinson College is located to the west side of Cambridge, along Grange road it is in a perfect location. It is close to the University library and a 2 minute walk from the Sidgewick site, and a 15 minute walk into the centre of town. It far enough to not carry the intensity of the City of Cambridge (no annoying tourists) but also close enough to walk in. It was founded much more recently (several centuries more recently, in fact); this means that its building, many of its facilities, and also its atmosphere are more modern than some of the older colleges.

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Robinson College

Credit: Cambridge University

Key facts

  • Distance to Sports Pitch
    ?
  • Gym
    Weights Room
  • Music Practice Rooms
    Yes
  • Prayer spaces
    Chapel
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Vegetarian: At least one option every meal Vegan: Often, but not every meal. There are always vegan salad bar and soup options.
  • Theatre space
    One large indoor and one small outdoor theatre
  • Undergraduates / Year
    ?

What is your favourite thing about Robinson?

Emily, Robinson, History, 2nd year
Emily
History, 2nd year
Elle, Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Elle
Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year

Emily: My favourite thing about Robinson has to be the Red Brick café. I spend all my time and money, in the café – it’s a great place to work, chill out and spend time in the evening.

Elle: For me, the best thing about Robinson is without a doubt it’s atmosphere. Many of the other colleges talk about their great sense of community feeling and atmosphere but there’s something distinctively down-to-earth and sincere about Robinson. This isn’t only a result of the student community but also the location itself: being slightly outside of the city centre gives you a little space from the hustle and bustle of Cambridge life and that’s probably why I find college to be one of the easiest places to relax.

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Elle, Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Elle
Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Max
Max
English, 3rd year

Elle: The first impression people get from Robinson is a very 70s-esque look, primarily because of the architecture. It can sometimes look a little foreboding but the college itself is so full of life and the open spaces are great in summer term. The student community has a rather accurate reputation of being laid back and accommodating. The people at Robinson are all incredibly friendly and you’ll see lots of inter-year mingling. It’s really easy to find a friendship group that you really gel with and often find yourself spending time with like-minded people who might do completely different subjects.

Max: Robinson's friendly, unpretentious atmosphere was very clear to me even when I first visited for an open day. This is partly to do with the material facts of its existence (it's hard to take such a huge amount of red bricks totally seriously, and if you look closely the building sort of playfully pastiches the turrets of St John's or Trinity), but this is also very much to do with its offering a consciously progressive alternative to the Oxbridge stereotype.

What is the accommodation like?

Elle, Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Elle
Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Max
Max
English, 3rd year
Accomodation

Elle: In first year, students live in rooms in staircases. These come in four categories: value (shared bathroom between 3 people), standard (shared bathroom between 2 people), standard plus (en-suite) and best (en-suite and larger room). In following years, there is also the option to live in college-owned houses, sets or flats. The accommodation at Robinson is balloted. That means that half way through your first year and every year onwards, you will be able to ballot in groups of maximum 5 people for room choice together. The ballot is reversed every year, with older students getting priority choice.

Max: The college offers accommodation for all its students throughout their studies. In the main building there are 'Standard' rooms with a bathroom between 2 people, a lesser number of 'Value' rooms which are slightly smaller and share a bathroom between 3 people, and 'Standard Plus' rooms which have en-suites. These rooms vary in price accordingly. There are also houses owned by the college next to the main building where students can choose to live after their first year, and a few sets in the main building where people can live together. In the main building there are small kitchens nearby every room, and one big kitchen in each house. First-years indicate a preference of room type when they apply, and for subsequent years there is a ballot.

How good is the food?

Emily, Robinson, History, 2nd year
Emily
History, 2nd year
Max
Max
English, 3rd year

Emily: The food is exceptionally good at Robinson. We have a Garden Restaurant, which caters well for dietary needs. It always serves at least one veggie option, and vegan option too, it has a salad bar and soup also. The Red Brick café also serves bar food at the weekends, pizza, paninis and sandwiches too. The food quite certainly is one of the most outstanding features of the college, everyone gets very excited at the weekend for Brunch – one of the highlights of the college community. The menu is always updated regularly online.

Max: It's also totally possible to cater for yourself (which I do). There are hobs and a fridge, kettle, microwave, toaster and ample cupboard space in every kitchen (the houses and flats have ovens), and this is a good way to save money – food prices in college aren't that bad, but are more expensive than cooking yourself.

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Max
Max
English, 3rd year
Elle, Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Elle
Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Emily, Robinson, History, 2nd year
Emily
History, 2nd year

Max: We have a strong and dedicated chapel choir, and other smaller choirs, music, chess and film societies. One particularly strong presence is FemSoc, a platform for the discussion of gender and sexuality. We have a large theatre which has been predominantly used for conferences in the past, and a small outdoor theatre aswell. Our college theatre company Brickhouse Theatre is in the process of a revival and has started putting on up to three plays each term, produced by Robinson students, and has also produced a series of radio plays. There are teams for all the major sports, and a running club.

Elle: Robinson’s Red Brick café/bar is a really popular location for current students, with activities such as comedy evenings, pub quizzes and karaoke happening throughout the week.

Emily: My personal favourite is the tea society which hosts events throughout the term. There is also a Jelly society, the list is endless.

What welfare support is there?

Elle, Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year
Elle
Medieval and Modern Languages, 2nd year

Elle: The Welfare provision at Robinson College is headed by members of the Welfare officer and their committee: namely, the women’s officer, men’s officer, LGBTQ+ officer, ethnic minorities officer and overseas officer. Each of these officers host weekly drop-ins and send emails with information and contacts regarding mental health. There are occasional welfare-themed events in the college common areas and external organisations such as Student Minds Cambridge and CUSU. The college nurse also hosts drop-ins on weekday afternoons and each student is assigned a tutor, who oversees their mental well-being.

What about your College would you change?

Emily, Robinson, History, 2nd year
Emily
History, 2nd year
Max
Max
English, 3rd year

Emily: Maybe less bricks – or a selection of different colour bricks, the colour red can get a little bit boring after a while!

Max: The college does rely on running conferences to balance its books and provide students with well-priced facilities, which means rooms have to be vacated during the holidays. It might be nice if we had more money – though if we did, we might lose our cool underdog edge.

What has been going on at Robinson College?

- Recent Events -

JCS A production of Jesus Christ Superstar

at the brickhouse auditorium - a fantastic play, 4 stars by Varsity (a student newspaper)

Green week

Featuring a green week bop (College party), two choices of Vegetarian meals, and a showing of Cows piracy.

Beer Festival 7th Annual beer festival

Selling a range of local beers and food in the hall. Great fun, comedy and live music.

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