College Life at Whitelands College

Whitelands College Roots

Whitelands College has a long and distinctive history. Founded in 1841 as a teachers’ training college, it is among the oldest higher education institutions in England, and one of the very first to provide education for women. Whitelands was established by the Church of England, and continues to retain its Anglican ethos and links with the church, whilst welcoming students of all faiths or none now in the modern day. 

Whitelands takes its name from the Georgian building in King’s Road, Chelsea that was its first home. It moved to Putney in 1930 and finally to Roehampton in 2004-5, where it occupies a beautiful 14-acre site overlooking Richmond Park. The college buildings include a Grade-I listed Georgian villa, Parkstead House. Built in the early 1760s for the 2nd Earl of Bessborough, the house was extended and renamed Manresa House after the property became a Jesuit seminary in the mid-nineteenth century.

Today, these historic buildings are complemented by a contemporary style lecture theatres, seminar rooms, computer rooms, laboratory spaces, chapel and modern residences which provide self-catering, en-suite accommodation for students. Life at Whitelands includes a whole host of events which happen annually over the year and the College will often hold one off events inspired by the students studying at the college. 

As part of the University of Roehampton, the college is home to the Department of Life Sciences and the Department of Psychology and offers state-of-the-art lecture spaces, seminar rooms, and laboratories. The college’s social facilities are open to all staff and to residential and non-residential students.

Modern Day Student Life at Whitelands

Whitelands hosts 300 students within its University accommodation onsite which is slightly separated from the main University campus. This means that Whitelands has developed its own sense of community and often slightly more relaxed way of life compared to the other Colleges at Roehampton, although the membership of the college swells to near 2000 when those living off site are taken into account. 

These 300 students are quite a mix, and Whitelands is proud of the diversity it has on campus. Typically a cohort is formed of 60 students studying at the Institute of Glion 60 postgraduate students studying disciplines from all academic schools at Roehampton and 180 students on undergraduate courses, originating from all over the UK, EU and international destinations. 

The College has three elected student officers who work together with the College team to develop the life on Whitelands Campus and helping to arrange all the events for student and staff. Ensuring to keep to College traditions while also establishing new ones with today's generation of students, the perfect example being the College's motto of “Ora, Lege, Obedi” dates back to the founding of the College meaning “Reflect, Study, Serve”. It can today be seen worn on the hoodies of modern day students. You can buy your own hoody on the College Online Shop along with other Whitelands merchandise.

Accommodation and Living

Whitelands has accommodation available for a mixture of students with blocks for Glion students, 1st year undergraduates and postgraduates. All rooms are en-suite and depending on your block can be group with between 4-10 other rooms to share kitchen facilities. Further information on the rooms at Whitelands can be found online.

Almost every flat in college where first year students live will have a Flat Rep. Flat Reps are usually second or third year students who live with our new residents to help provide a friendly and supportive welcome at the start of term and to offer advice and guidance throughout the year. If you are living in college and have any questions about how to seek help, advice or support at the university, start with your Flat Rep. They will often be able to provide you with some initial advice and let you know which members of staff can help you further.

Flat Reps aren’t appointed to police our flats, but we do ask them to take a leadership role in building a happy and friendly flat environment. They receive training at the start of the year and participate in a development programme which provides them with the resources and skills to make your experience of living in college accommodation a happy and positive one. Residents of our college flats should feel welcome to talk to their Flat Reps about the community environment and should expect a positive, helpful and supportive response.

Being a Flat Rep provides lots of opportunities to become a leader in the Whitelands community, to develop your skills, knowledge and experience. Flat Reps receive formal training and certified professional development, all of which is fantastic for building up an impressive CV.

If you think you have what it takes to become a Flat Rep in September 2021, you are welcome to apply. Applications are open to all students, whether or not you currently live at Whitelands. The application process begins in January 2021, and details will be posted on the college social media platforms and advertised on posters across college.


24 hour computer room

Whitelands is able to boast an on-site 24 hour computer room for all Whitelands students to use. All students and staff of the University can use their key cards to access the ground floor of the College and just off the Cluttons Corridor you will find the 24 hour computer banks. The room comes complete with networked printers, vending machines of stationary and useful study aids and a print credit top up machine.

Quiet Study Area and Manresa Hall

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On top of a 24 hour computer room the College also has two dedicated study areas. The first can be found outside the Gilbert Scott lecture Theatre on the ground floor just past the College vending machines. This area has a few dedicated computers for use and space for students to study. During term time you’ll also be able to use the grand and ornate Manresa Hall for study. 

Manresa Hall is also known to host formal gatherings of the College on rare occasions, so be sure to check them out if you get the chance.

Student Common Room “The Sett”

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Whitelands students have their own chill out space for use during the days and evenings which include a table tennis table, fiction book exchange, large screen TV, board games and kitchen space to allow you to warm your lunch. It also hosts noticeboards and information on upcoming college events, the college trophy cabinet (currently holding the Shitelands Cup!) 

The common room is also opened once a month to host the legendary ‘BarCode’ night in which the shutters are raised on the college bar, the discos lights come out and the music is turned up until midnight for an old school college night. The envy of all other Roehampton Colleges.

If you’d like to book a section of ‘The Sett’ out for a student society or sports team, or would like to hold an event there then please contact the college office or speak to a member of the College in Office G047.

College Kitchens and Student Lockers

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In our SETT bar we have the student kitchen area just at the back where you can make use of the communal fridges and microwaves. Also located here are the daily use lockers, were by swiping your student card you can store any belongings securely for the day. These lockers are free to use and open to all students at the university.

Sports Field and Grounds

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The College is situated on beautiful grounds, with a multitude of flora and wildlife to relax within during your studies. Whitelands is also spoilt by having its very own football pitch and large playing field at the rear of the building which overlooks Richmond Park. The pitch is often used by University teams for practice but can also be used and booked by Whitelands students if they wish to hold an activity on the grounds. Just contact the College Office.

Catering On-Site

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On site you’ll find our Canteen to the rear of the building which serves a larger selection of hot drinks, sandwiches and cold snacks between 10am and 3pm five days a week. The Canteen also opens at 11am until 2pm to serve a selection of hot food and meals; this has a regularly weekly selection which changes each day. Alongside this you’ll also find a new hot food station which rotates each week to include Piri-Piri Chicken, Omelettes, Noodles and other dishes throughout the year.