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Student flats: Then Vs Now

The student flatting experience has been thriving in Dunedin for decades. This year marks the University of Otago’s 150th anniversary and Pulse Energy wants to join the celebrations. We’re giving one lucky ex-scarfie flat the opportunity to travel to Dunedin and enjoy a one-of-a-kind VIP experience at a Highlanders game. For more information or to enter the competition, click here!

Feeling nostalgic about the good old days of flatting? Join us on a trip down memory lane as we take a look at how flatting has evolved over the years.

1. Movie night: video store missions vs video streaming

In the past, you’d round up your flatties, pulll together your gold coins and make the trek down to your local video store, where you’d spend half an hour fiercely debating whether you were going to hire Aliens or Ghostbusters. Then you’d make your way back home, fire up your trusty VHS player and crowd around the CRT TV, a 50 kilo monstrosity that almost threw your back out when you first lugged it into the flat.

Nowadays, you have thousands of movies at your fingertips that can be streamed over the Internet and watched on a dozen different devices in your home. You’re still going to argue over what you want to watch, but if it really comes down to it you can always just binge watch The Office on your phone while your flatmates bicker.

2. Communication: Facebook group chat vs post-it notes

Walk into the student flats of yesteryear and you’d undoubtedly find a healthy collection of post-it notes plastered to just about every surface in the house. The tool of choice for conflict-averse flatties, post-it notes were widely used to assert ownership over food and send passive aggressive reminders about whose turn it was to clean the bathroom. Some flats took things to the next level by setting up a flat whiteboard, which inevitably got filled with curse words and inappropriate doodles.

Today, of course, the communication channel of choice for most flats is the Facebook group chat. A melting pot of memes, information regarding bills, and upcoming flat events. The flat chat enables you and the flatties to instantly share news and stay in the loop. Even better, it allows you to stay connected regardless of where everyone is physically located - a blessing for that one mysterious flatmate who always seems to go missing for days on end without explanation.

3. Keeping warm: heat pumps vs sleeping bags and beanies

Double glazed windows were a rare sight in student flats of the past and decent heat pumps were more or less unheard of. Yes, old student flats were definitely on the chilly side, particularly if you lived toward the southern end of New Zealand. . To keep warm, students would huddle around the fireplace bundled up in thermals, jackets, sleeping bags, scarves and beanies.

Thankfully, things have improved dramatically over the last couple of decades. Heat pumps are steadily becoming more energy efficient, allowing you to keep the flat warm without putting too much of a dent in your wallet. And as of 1 July 2019, insulation will be mandatory in all rental homes, which will do wonders for retaining warmth in your home while preventing cool air from coming in.

girl hugging heater

4. Paying for bills: cheques and cash vs online payments

Back in the day, paying your bills was a logistical nightmare! It usually involved heading down to the post office, where you could settle your payments with cash or a cheque. Alternatively, you could send a cheque directly to your utility provider. In many flats, the landlord would come around and collect rent in cash.

These days, you can take care of your bills without even getting up from the couch. Everything is done online via automatic payments and online bank transfers. There are even dedicated group finance apps like Splitwise (available on iOS and Android), which allow flats to easily keep track of bills and IOUs, and ensure that everyone gets paid back.

Get your old student flat back together

Many aspects of flatting have changed over the years, but one thing that remains as strong as ever is the bond you share with your old flatties.

We want to reunite your old Dunedin student flat. Enter the competition to go in the draw to win return flights to Dunedin, accommodation, meet and greet with the Highlanders, VIP tickets to the Highlanders vs Bulls game, $200 spending money and more. Good luck!

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