Claudia Parsons, Loughborough’s first new hall, since the expansion of the Student Village in the late 2000s, is opening at the start of next year. It will become the second largest hall on Campus, and will be home to 480 undergraduate students – both freshers and returners.
Over the last year, the University has started preparation for the expansion to the Student Village, which began with its official naming in June of last year. Claudia Parsons was a student at Loughborough University between 1919 and 1922 and graduated with a degree in Automotive Engineering – one of just three women on a course of over 300.
After her degree, she became a member of the Women’s Engineering Society, an author, and was the first women to circumnavigate the world by car. Vice Chancellor Robert Allison said that he was “delighted to honour her life and career by naming a new hall of residence after her” and that she deserved recognition due to her challenging “the conventions of her time – there can be no doubt that she blazed a trail for women working in engineering today.” Meanwhile, Claudia’s cousin, Emma Parsons, said that “Claudia would have been delighted by this, though surprised, for although she was a force, she was also modest and self-deprecating.”
The Hall is set to feature a unique ‘active campus’ design, which includes climbing walls, exercise stations and a running track circuit. It is also situated next to the brand-new Elite Athlete Hotel, and has its own Performance Athlete Block, which will be filled with Sports Scholarship students by the University’s Sports Development Centre.
The Hall has also recently had two logos – a crest and a coat of arms – created for it by students Helena Davey and Gaby Herrera-Diaz. Helena, who created the crest, said that it was “incredibly rewarding to have my design chosen to represent the Claudia Parsons Hall for years to come”, with the designer of the Coat of Arms, Gabby, telling the University that she “couldn’t resist designing a logo inspired by such a powerful and determined woman.”
The new Hall Committee (the first to be established since the Holt’s re-establishment in 2015) is headed up by Callum Parke, who also happens to be a former Hall Chair of the Holt. He told Label that “It’s really important to have the Hall named after a woman, especially one who was an engineer. Claudia’s achievements and outlook on life were incredibly inspiring and it’s brilliant that the Hall celebrates the success of an all-too-often under-represented group.”
The 17-strong committee is made up of keen volunteers from across the Loughborough Bubble – many of whom have been on a Hall Committee before – and have been tasked with the development of the hall as well as running its initial Freshers Week. “The atmosphere and buzz around campus during Freshers is great and it’s always a pleasure to be a part of it”, Callum commented. “It’s a big challenge for the Committee but it’s always an enjoyable one so I’m really looking forward to it.”
You can find out more about Claudia Parsons and the Student Village Project on their Facebook and Instagram pages, and you get involved with their freshers by affiliating or becoming a Fresher Helper when applications open later in the summer.
Article originally featured in Label Magazine on April 30, 2019.