The main College facilities are described briefly below. More detailed information can be found in the College handbook that you will receive when you arrive at Robinson. It should be noted that out of term time certain College facilities are unavailable.
It's well worth pointing out twice that Robinson has, as far as Cambridge Colleges go, very good food. Even if you prefer to cook your own meals, you should make sure to check the menus regularly, lest you might miss a true gem.
The Garden Restaurant
The Garden Restaurant provides day-to-day catering during the academic year. You may take meals in the Restaurant whether or not you are living in College, and you can bring guests from outside (who will have to pay a higher cash price). As a member, you should always pay with your University Card, which can be topped up on-line.
During the academic year, the cafeteria opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, and for lunch at weekends. A full meal costs around £3 to £4, with cheaper options available. The menu rotates over a period of 6 weeks, and there are typically three main course options (including one vegetarian and one halal), plus soup, side orders, desserts, salads and other options, e.g. sandwiches, so almost everyone should find something to suit their palate. Vegan options are regularly available as well.
Outside of term, the Restaurant only opens while conferences are held in College. If it does, catering provision changes. Breakfast arrangements remain largely unchanged. Lunch is charged at the more pricey conference rate, but is quite good value for money if you have a big appetite. Dinner is typically not provided out of term. Throughout the year, catering information is posted on the notice board at the top of the stairs to the cafeteria, and published online. You will also receive regular updates from Nick Milne.
The concept of Formal Hall, an elaborate, four-course menu within the College community, is a central part of the Oxbridge myth. At Robinson, there two Formal Halls each week during term (both starting at 7.30pm) on Tuesdays and Fridays. Traditionally, the Friday Hall is considered somewhat more formal than the Tuesday one, but in recent years this difference has been almost unnoticeable. Tickets can be purchased online from one week prior to the date of the Hall, and payment is deducted from your University Card. You have to wear a gown and relatively smart clothes to Hall. Wine is not provided with the meal, but you can bring your own (no corkage charge) and the bar stocks a range of bottles at reasonable prices that you can buy. You are very welcome to bring guests to Hall, although they have to pay a slight surcharge.
The College bar is open daily in term (6-11pm Mon-Thu; 6-11.30pm Fri-Sat, 6-10.30pm Sun), and when there are conferences in College during the vacations (vacation opening hours are posted on the College website). The Bar provides soft drinks and a range of beers, wines and spirits. On Saturday and Sunday nights, when the Garden Restaurant is closed, it also serves a dinner that is prepared in the kitchen earlier in the day.
The Red Brick Cafe
A now well established part of the college is the Red Brick Cafe, right next to the bar, is open everyday during term (9.30am-11pm Mon-Thurs; 9.30am-11.30pm Fri; 11am-11.30pm Sat; 11am-10.30pm Sun). It is often open during vacations, but opening hours vary depending on whether there is a conference being held in College. It serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soft drinks as well as sweets, cakes, sandwiches and paninis. It also offers pizzas and a variety of evening meals. With its comfy sofas, a range of newspapers and a big TV, it is an ideal place to meet people over the afternoon.
If you should be unlucky enough to find yourself hungry and out of food outside of the opening hours of Bar, Cafe and Restaurant, there is a vending machine containing crisps and chocolate bars next to the entrance to the JCR, and a canned drinks vending machine next to the entrance to the bar below N staircase.
Robinson has maybe the most diverse Gardens in Cambridge, ranging from the big lawn next to the lake to the Thorney Creek behind the eponymous house. A rare exception among the Colleges, Robinson allows all its members to walk on the grass, and even to sit and play on it. In return, members are asked to use some common sense, e.g. not walk on the grass when the ground is soaked. Ball games are generally forbidden.
The College has an extensive library on main court. It stocks primarily textbooks for Undergraduate study, but also has some more specialised titles. The library is open 24 hours a day during term time and outside of term time, but times outside of term may change - please see the board outside the library entrance for opening times. Entry to the library is made using your blue University card by holding it to the reader to the left of the door. Information on how to check out books is available in the library foyer. The library is manned from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday if you need help with anything. If you are searching for a rarer book, the University Library is all but guaranteed (by right of being one of the few legal deposit libraries in the UK) to have it. Luckily this is really close for Robinson students, being situated directly opposite the front of the college.
Sport in Cambridge is organized both on the University and the College level. Most of the popular sports are played in each College, with the University (Blues) Team reserved for very competitive players. The more obscure sports may only exist at the University level to begin with. As a graduate student, you can join both University and College teams.
Most of Robinson's College teams are represented at the Societies-Squash in Freshers' week. If you missed this event, you can also try to find out the name of the team captain on the RCSA website and get in touch with them via email.
There are also plenty of opportunities to take part in sport at a non-competitive level. Keep an eye on the College's sports notice boards in the glass cases outside the Porters' Lodge for more details.
The College shares three squash courts with Clare College. They are located opposite the College, just behind the University Library (ask the Porters for directions as it takes a while to find the way in). These can be used free of charge by booking online via the Clare College website. The key must be collected from the Porter's Lodge, where you can also sign out a set of racquets and balls.
There is a table tennis table in the Games Room (usually only available in term time). You can collect the room key, bats and balls from the Porter's Lodge if you fancy a game.
While not exactly a Boatie College, Robinson has in the past had several glorious years on the river. The Boat Club (RCBC) shares a boat house on Victoria Avenue with St. John's College, and usually fields three mens VIIIs and two ladies VIIIs for the Bumps, the biannual rowing races. Many MCR members row in these boats every year. As rowing is a team sport and crews train together, it is best to sign up right away in Freshers' week, at the RCSA Societies Squash, but they are happy to hear from interested rowers throughout the year.
Robinson shares a large sports ground with Queens' College at the south-western tip of town. There are two football (soccer) pitches, two rugby pitches, a cricket lawn and two hockey pitches. Grass tennis courts are available in the summer, and three hard tennis courts and a netball court are available throughout the year.
There is a Robinson / Selwyn MCR joint football team which plays in the University MCR league (currently in the second division). The team welcomes players of any ability. Matches tend to be held during Michaelmas and Lent terms, with a weekly training session (a kick-about) held year-round.
During the summer months, the MCR is part of a joint Graduate cricket team with Newnham, Selwyn and Wolfson Colleges. While this team is not particularly great at winning games, the joy of an afternoon's cricket out in the fields is hard to beat in the summer. The fields are at the far end of Fulbrooke Road. Drive down Grange Rd all the way to the Hat & Feathers pub, across the road into King's Road, turn right up Selwyn Road, across Grantchester Rd into Fulbrooke Rd. Turn right at the end and the fields lie stretched out before you.
There is a small weights room accessible from the cycle park underneath the Porter's Lodge. You must be inducted to be allowed to use this facility - sessions are run at the beginning of the year.
Other Sporting Facilities
The University athletics track is located at the end of Adams Road, conveniently close to College, and free for use by University members as long as there are no organised events happening. The University has a well-equipped, reasonably priced gym at the new University Sports Centre on the West Cambridge Site (again very close to Robinson). There is also a gym (Blue Fitness) available for University members in the University Centre on Mill Lane with slightly more expensive subscription rates. The city council-run Kelsey Kerridge sports hall provides squash facilities, a multi-purpose hall (badminton, five-a-side, basketball, trampoline), fitness machines and weights.
Music, Film & Drama
A variety of musical events take place in the College throughout the year, ranging from orchestral and choral concerts to rock band gigs in the basement or jazz nights in the bar. The largest such event is Corruption during Freshers' week.
Music Practice Rooms
The College has a sound-proofed music room and practice room, both with pianos (at the far end of High Court). These need to be booked in advance on the booking sheet held in the Porters' Lodge and the key collected from the porter when it is your turn. Access to the music practice rooms can sometimes be restricted during the vacations. Check with the porters for details.
There is a CD and record library in College. Check the RCSA website for opening hours. These can be borrowed for your own use.
The College's Chapel Choir sings at two services each week and has a busy concert (and social) calendar. Auditions are held at the beginning of Michaelmas.
The Brickhouse Theatre Company
Robinson has an amateur dramatic society that puts on a range of productions each term in the College's own theatre. Auditions are announced via the RCSA mailing list, and at the RCSA Society Squash during Freshers' week.
If you join a University club for a sport or other activity that is not available at Robinson, you are entitled to claim back 50% of the membership fees. Contact the RCSA Treasurer for more details.