Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Robinson College, Cambridge
Robinson College is one of the colleges making up the University of Cambridge.
It was founded as the direct result of an offer of £18 million by the British philanthropist David Robinson to establish a new Cambridge college in his name: this is still one of the largest donations ever accepted by the university. The first undergraduate students (20 of them) were admitted in 1979, but significant numbers only began arriving the next year. The college was formally opened by the Queen in May 1981.
Robinson is the newest of the Cambridge colleges, and consequently the only one that has always been open to students of both sexes. Despite maintaining some Cambridge traditions such as Formal Hall, the college has eschewed others: for example, it is one of the few colleges that allows students to walk on the grass in the college gardens. Robinson is in general less formal and traditional than most other Cambridge colleges.
Designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, Robinson's architecture is distinctive for its generous use of red bricks as a construction material. The college buildings are located west of the city centre, opposite the Cambridge University Library, near the science buildings in West Cambridge and the arts faculties on the university's Sidgwick Site. A few students live in college-owned houses elsewhere in Cambridge. The main entrance to the college is via a drawbridge-style ramp, which is accessible to wheelchair users. There are some special facilities for those with physical or visual disabilities.
Because of its modern facilities and accommodation, Robinson is also one of Cambridge's most important conference centres, and it always hosts conferences during the summer months when it is not being inhabited by undergraduate students. Unlike some of the older colleges, Robinson does not own large amounts of land which can be used as a source of income, and the conferences are an important source of cash for the college.
The Needham Research Institute is located in the college grounds.
Students of the college are represented by the Robinson College Students' Association, or RCSA. Members of the college are elected into positions on the RCSA committee every year. The RCSA is currently sponsored by London-based law firm Eversheds. Politically, Robinson is liberal, but its reputation normally places it among the more apathetic colleges, unlike the more radical reputation of colleges like King's and Clare.
Like other colleges, Robinson provides its students with social facilities such as a TV room and a bar. It also has many active college-based societies, including ones dedicated to music, film and drama. There are also several sports teams, involved in everything from waterpolo and cricket to rowing and rugby.
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