Sociable, spenny and secretive – the rise of the Pollock Airbnbs

As the University of Edinburgh approaches the middle of the first semester, Pollock Hall students, discontented by ‘online universities’ providing minimal in-person learning and student interactions, are seeking out Airbnbs as alternative forms of accommodation.

This turn to rented properties appears to have risen mostly out of freshers’ desires to socialise, as there’s allegedly less restrictions to social interaction in these properties. Flat parties have been held in these Airbnbs, which compares to their stay at Pollock Halls, where flat parties would have been restricted by the presence of student hall security guards.

Social restrictions in Pollock have led to a shift in student experience, such as ‘club nights’ being held that have ‘pres’ and ‘afters’ but not the clubbing itself. The shift from exclusively catered to self-catered meant that freshers did not get what they had signed up for.

An anonymous source from Grant House, who has recently been in an Airbnb, was interviewed by The Student about conditions of the John McIntyre Conference Centre (JMCC), the canteen in Pollock: “You distantly queue in silence before then eating in silence; dinner is no longer a sociable experience but rather another thing you do alone every day.” She stated that ‘escaping the JMCC was one of my main motives for getting a rental’.

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Pollock students have allegedly left for weeks at a time, rendering it abandoned, a shadow of the accommodation that homed last year’s students, and removed from what freshers thought they were signing up for.

Regarding this, the Grant House student said: “Pollock feels like a ghost town, with many people having either gone home or to their Airbnbs, it really is a horror story!

“Considering only 75 people checked in to dinner last week at the JMCC, this corona-hindered hunt for friendship is pushing freshers into going beyond the confines of Newington!”

With restrictions becoming tighter, using Airbnb as ‘halls away from halls’ could continue up until the Christmas break.

Image Credit: Jon Vrushi via Flickr