Undergraduate Life

The Porters’ Lodge is staffed 24 hours a day throughout the year. They should be the first port of call in the event of an emergency. The Head Porter and his staff are responsible for all matters to do with security, keys, fire safety and telephones. They are also a source of information on a host of other matters from obtaining washing tokens to franking post for fellows/staff/students. The Lodge staff have a key role in the security and safety of staff and students and will therefore on occasion take action against anyone endangering personnel or property.

The Porters also  provide a similar service at Swirles Court.

Three meals a day are available weekdays in College. There is a wide choice of food available every day. Weekly menus and meal times are available on the Catering webpages.

Vegetarian meals are always available, in College . Vegan meals can also be prepared, but on an individual basis. It is essential that vegans see the Catering Manager to check current arrangements.

Payment for all meals is by card. Any suggestions or complaints about meals should be referred to the College Residences and Catering Committee.

Any student with a food allergy must notify the College Nurses when they come into residence and register their allergy with the Catering Office. The following advice from the British Allergy Association should be noted: “you are responsible for your allergy, you know what you are allergic to and can make informed decisions about what constitutes a reasonable level of risk when you choose a processed food or eat out…always carry your autoinjector(s). If you have to use your adrenalin injection then you must go to hospital for observation. If you have a reaction in a public place, you must inject yourself first and delegate someone to call an ambulance.”

Please note that undergraduates eating in Hall or are expected to be properly dressed. Swimwear, games kit, pyjamas, bedroom slippers or bare feet are not suitable in a public dining room. All undergraduates and their undergraduate guests attending Formal Hall are required to wear gowns.

Accompanied guests may use the cafeteria service and their meals be paid for by their host using their college card. There is a guest surcharge of £2. As always hosts are responsible for the behaviour of their guests.

Reciprocal dining rights exist at Clare, Downing and Pembroke Colleges. Please contact the relevant catering offices for details of arrangements. Undergraduates from any of these colleges may use Girton catering facilities without a guest charge, but will need to have their own card for payment purposes.

There is a Bar in College.  The hours of opening are advertised by the Bar Manager and only members of College carrying their identity cards will be served.

All drinks must be paid for in cash; no credit can be given.

Parties in the Bar (maximum number 70) may be organised only by the officers of the JCR.

Whilst drink may seem a regular part of the Cambridge scene, it is not a necessary part. Many students do not realise how easy it is to drink too much and become dependant. Work suffers and so do you. College bars always sell non-alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks are provided at all College events; don’t be afraid to choose them.

In the event of excessive alcohol consumption that leads to injury, damage or harassment, disciplinary action will be taken. Initiation ceremonies that involve the excessive consumption of alcohol or indecency in order to join undergraduate societies will not be tolerated and are likely to incur severe disciplinary action.

Access to College and Swirles Court

For reasons of security, access to College after 5.00 p.m. is only through the main Lodge or through doors by access card (Ash Court and Woodlands door).

In College the Lodge door is locked at 2.00 a.m. and the main gate at 2.30 a.m. Please ring the bell for entrance. Between 2.00 and 2.30 a.m., when the Porter is normally on security rounds, you are asked to wait under cover outside the main door until the Porter returns to the Lodge.

At Swirles Court access by card 24hrs although the Porters Lodge is also manned 24hrs if cards have been lost/mislayed. Guests who are not members of College should be signed in the Lodge guest book in the usual way.


It is not possible to light every space in College. Take care after dark and at dusk to avoid routes that are unlit.

In College the corridor lights come on with time clocks that are set each week. If a corridor light has not come on when dusk falls, do not enter that corridor but report the difficulty to the Porters’ Lodge.

In the grounds there is a lit route to all the houses. Make sure that you always use the lit route even if it is not the most direct.

Lost Property

Loss of property at College should be reported immediately to the Head Porter. Lost property, when found, is kept by the Lodge for one full term following that in which it is found. After that it is given to the finder or disposed of.

Loss of property at Swirles Court should be reported immediately to the porter in the Porters’ Lodge. Lost property, when found, is held by the Lodge.

Students should report thefts to the Police and Head Porter (or to the Warden of Wolfson Court) who will pass on regular reports to the Senior Tutor


Visitors may be received in College and Swirles Court from 7.00 a.m. After 10.30 p.m. visitors are admitted only if accompanied by a member of the College, unless their names have been given to the Porter in advance; such visitors may be admitted until 12.30 a.m. After 12.30 a.m. no student may bring in more than three visitors. On no account should anyone agree to accompany in anyone other than their own visitors. Again for reasons of security, visitors leaving College after 10.30 p.m. must be escorted to the main door by their host. Visitors not staying the night should normally have left College by 2.00 a.m. Please try to keep down noise from comings and goings after 10.30 p.m. Night-time noise can be a major problem along the Girton corridors and you are asked to show consideration of others, especially when they may be asleep.


Guests may be put up in guest rooms bookable in advance through the Conference Office, or in your own room. Guest room charges vary -the Conference Office can advise on prices. If you plan to have a guest in your own room overnight, you must enter your name and room number in the Guest Book at the Lodge beforehand. It is essential that the Lodge has a record of all guests staying overnight in case of either a fire or fire practice. Guests should be limited to one a night and no one guest may stay in College for more than three consecutive nights in any one week. College rooms are a facility granted you for your personal use; on no account should guests be allowed to use your room or be given your key in your absence.


Most people in the College and the university (staff and students alike) will assume that e-mail sent to your hermes address ( crsid@cam.ac.uk) will reach you, so you must consult it regularly. Most students make this their standard address while at Cambridge; if for any reason you do not want to do so, you must arrange that mail is forwarded appropriately.


Letters should be clearly addressed to the recipient, using full names to avoid confusion. Addresses for College are as follows:

Girton College

Huntingdon Road




Swirles Court

Pheasant Drive



Letters are put into pigeon-holes as soon as they are delivered; parcels and registered mail are kept at the Lodge by the Porter until claimed with a College identity card. A list of parcels etc. is posted daily on the notice board.

Royal Mail Collections from Girton College are at 16.35pm weekdays and 12.00pm on Saturdays.

Public Telephones

There are three public telephones in various parts of the College and three at Wolfson Court. One of these phones is coin-operated and the other two use phone-cards, which may be purchased at the Lodge; all may be used for both incoming and outgoing calls. If you wish to take an incoming call it should be made by pre-arrangement with your caller.

At the College Lodge, there is a metered telephone for overseas calls only (you should apply to the Lodge for use) and a phone for University internal network calls. The is also a network phone and a metered telephone for overseas calls at Wolfson Court.

Students should register their mobile phone number with the Lodge for emergency contact.

Live Music

Subject always to working arrangements with neighbours, practice hours for muscial instruments are as follows:

Moday to Friday8.30 am to 9.30 am
1.00 pm to 3.00 pm
6.30 pm to 9.00 pm
Weekends9.00 am to 10.30 pm

Students disturbed by live music should first try the personal approach; if this fails, see your Tutor.

Practice rooms are also available in College and Wolfson Court. These may be booked by signing the timetable on the door. The following rooms, when not otherwise in use, are also available for practice:

Old Hall

(one piano)

Monday to Friday (8.30 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. – 10.30 p.m

Saturday (8.30 a.m. – 10.30 p.m.). The key for Old Hall is kept in the Lodge.

Stanley Library

(one piano)

Hours are the same as for Old Hall but permission of Dr Ennis, the Director of College Music, is needed for this piano, which should only be used when the Old Hall piano is unavailable. Permission to use this piano after 8.00 p.m. will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
Fellow’s Drawing Room

(one piano)

This piano may only be used on special application to the Dr Ennis, the Director of College Music.
Main Hall


Monday to Friday (2.30 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.)
ChapelMonday to Friday (10.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.)

All these rooms, when not being used for other purposes, will be available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.


The few College rooms which have pianos are normally allocated to music students. If you wish to bring your own piano into College, first see the House Services Manager or the Warden of Wolfson Court. No pianos are allowed in the New Wing of College, which is occupied mainly by final-year students, and where the rooms are inadequately sound-proofed.


Undergraduates who wish to use the harpsichord should in the first instance see Dr Ennis, the Director of College Music.


Undergraduates wishing to use the College organ should see both Dr Ennis and the Organ Scholar.

Recorded Music

No music may be played in students’ rooms between 10.30 p.m. and 8.00 a.m. During the day and early evening both hi-fi and radios may be played in rooms only on condition that they do not disturb neighbours or others in the vicinity. Since rooms are not sound-proof and noise travels up and down through the building as well as along, the use of head-phones is recommended.

It may be that you can only work to a background of music; remember that this may not be the case for your next-door neighbour. What to you is relaxing music, to others may be intolerable noise; and noise disturbance is probably the most difficult problem of communal living. Hi-fi which disturbs any other member of College at any time of day is too noisy and should be turned either down or off. Any students who find their study or sleep disturbed by noisy hi-fi should first attempt to solve the problem by a personal approach. If the problem persists, see your Tutor. Tutors reserve the right to ban the use of hi-fi equipment which, in extreme cases, may be impounded for the duration of the term.

No radios should be played in the bathrooms or gyp rooms and there should be no music in the area close to Chapel on Sundays between 5.45 and 7.15 p.m. For practical reasons, these rules are relaxed somewhat in the case of corridor parties on Saturday nights. Otherwise, and especially in the Easter Term when all are studying for exams, please observe the rules and be considerate of others.

The Chapel in College is always open for private prayer. The College Chaplain, Revd Dr Malcolm Guite, is regularly available in College. Further information about the Chapel and Chaplaincy is available on the Chapel webpages.

Most College sports are organised through the JCR and the separate College clubs. Check the JCR website and notice-boards for details.

Pitches for matches, including practic matches, should be booked with the Head Groundsman who has an answerphone for such bookings.

Multi Gym

There is a Gym at the main College site. To access the gym you must complete an application form and undergo a training session with the Head Groundsman, who is a qualified instructor.


Keys for the College hard courts should be obtained from the Porters’ Lodge.

In order to minimise damage and disturbance, students may not play games in the corridors.

Management and Responsibilities

The College has a Health & Safety Policy which describes how health and safety attters are managed and communicated at Girton. The Health & Safety Manual describes the principle risks to which students may be exposed (e.g. Fire, Slips and Trips, electric shock) and the procedures taken to minimise those risks. You will find further information on the website and in the Accommodation handbook.

All students have a moral and legal responsibility to see that their action, or lack of them, do not place either themselves or any other person in jeopardy from an accident or health hazard.

The JCR welfare officers attend the Girton Health & Safety Consultative Committee. Safety matters may also be reported to the College Health & Safety Officers atsafety@girton.cam.ac.uk.

Accidents and First Aid

Accidents, health emergencies, near misses and safety hazards should be reported to the Porters’ Lodge, which is also the first aid post. All the Porters are trained first aiders. If you ring for an ambulance yourself you must notify the Lodge so that paramedics can be given appropriate directions and assistance.

Fire Safety

Fire is considered the biggest risk to health and safety at Girton.

You must take care to avoid the risk of fire, especially when cooking and smoking. You MUST evacuate the building when you hear the fire alarm. You must not obstruct or remove the fire notice on the back of your door. During alarms you must comply with the Porters’ instructions and not re-enter the builidng until it is declared safe.

Failure to comply with evacuation procedures either in a drill or a genuine emergency will result in an automatic £15 fine. If you persist in not observing fire regulations you will be asked to leave College accommodation. Any interference with smoke or fire alarms will lead to an interview with the Dean and subsequent disciplinary action including hefty fines and/or being sent out of residence.

The fire alarms are tested weekly – you will hear three brief rings and no action is required.

Slips, trips and falls

Parts of Girton are over 130 years old and whilst surfaces, steps and handrails are as safe as we can make them, you must always exercise care.

Plant rooms, bolier houses, workshops, paint stores and other hazardous areas are out of bounds to students unless you are accompanied by a senior member of College staff and supplied with appropriate safety gear.

Great care must be taken on balconies, particularly at Wolfson Court. If you live above ground floor, in no circumstances should you sit or stand on window ledges when the window is open.


It is against the law to smoke anywhere other than the designated external smoking area (near the maintenance building).

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Being under the influence of drink or drugs is no excuse to put yourself or anyone else in danger.

Party rules apply to all undergraduates and graduates living in College, Swirles Court and College houses. Parties, dinners and society meetings are all goverened by a code of practice to ensure good behaviour, consideration for others and freedom of speech. College procedures are summarised here and your attention is also drawn to the Code of Practice for Discipline in College, to the Code of Practice issued under Section 43 of the Education (No.2) Act 1986, and the section above on Music Hours.

Cambridge is extremely congested and the University co-operates with the city in an attempt to control central traffic. In this congestion a bicycle is certainly the best means of getting around. The following notes include both regulations and recommendations.


Bicycles must be clearly marked with a College number which will be allocated to you by the Porters’ Lodge. Paint is available from the Lodge. You are reminded of the legal requirement for both front and back lights, as well as reflectors, and we recommend the use of both helmets and yellow reflective bands by all cycling students. Batteries and bulbs may be purchased from the Lodge so you have no excuse for risking your life by riding without lights. For the safety of your bike, you should always lock it when not in use. There are cycle sheds at the end of the drive and stands (less secure) at the back of College. If your bicycle is an expensive one, make sure you have it insured.

Please note that the entrance to College is extremely dangerous – fatal accidents have taken place here. Use the footpath to Girton Corner as a cycle lane in both directions (it is designated as a cycle path – see the map here) and never enter or leave the College straight onto the main road. When approaching College from town, use the crossing at Girton Corner to join the cycle path to the College gates. Always check that your lights are working – you are impossible to see without them!


Cars require a University licence (issued by the Motor Proctors only on tutorial recommendation) and may not be kept by undergraduates unless prior permission (e.g. for medical reasons) has been obtained from the Senior Tutor before coming up. Under no circumstances may an undergraduate bring a car to Cambridge without prior tutorial permission. Any student wishing to apply for a parking licence should complete the application form available from the tutorial office or email ns714@cam.ac.uk and then send it to their Tutor. Given the limited parking space, it is possible to issue only a very few tutorial permissions for running a car.

Should a University licence be issued, you must then register with the Head Porter who will issue a Girton parking badge; this should be displayed prominently. Parking is only in the Mare’s Run and the Grange at College and at some College houses. Students who fail to adhere to policy will have permission to keep a car removed. Overseas students are reminded that they require a British driving licence once they have been here a year.


Motorcycles require a University licence and the same rules apply as for cars (see above). Motorcycles should also be registered with the Head Porter. Overseas students are reminded that they require a British driving licence once they have been here a year.


Mopeds may only be driven by students who have passed a test and hold a driving licence which includes Group E. Tutorial permission is required (take along your licence and insurance certificate).


It is dangerous to drive at speed in the College grounds; a maximum of 10 m.p.h is enforced. It is also important to keep the main archway and entrances clear of bicycles. No bicycles or mopeds may be left under the Archway, beside Woodlands door or in Cloister Court. Bicycles which are left in authorised areas may be impounded and not released until 6.30 p.m. the following day.


Taxis are available at midnight on Sunday and Wednesday nights, to bring students back to Girton from town. (Look out for notices posted at the Lodge in College and Swirles Court for arrangements, which may change). Normally two taxis wait at the front of the Guildhall at midnight and leave at 12.10 a.m.

Conferences take place in College  throughout the year. Conference income helps the College in maintaining services and facilities for students and 1% of income goes directly to the College Academic Fund. Without the conference trade, student rents and catering charges would be much higher and we would not be able to afford to employ the number of staff necessary to maintain student services at their current level. Most of the College conference business is related to Education, charitable organisations and local government. The management of Conferences at College is the responsibility of the Conference Manager.

Undergraduates are most welcome to apply for part time or temporary work in College both in term time and in vacations. You will need your Tutor’s permission and in term time you may not work more than 6 hours per week. Most temporary jobs are in the catering department, but many departments have need of extra help in vacations and the Development Office regularly employs students to run telephone campaigns etc. Please watch the noticeboards for job advertisements.