Mental Health Awareness Week starts 13 May

University life is full of ups and downs. To help manage these stresses and strains it’s important to be aware of your physical, emotional and mental health and take active steps to look after your wellbeing.  

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 13 – 19 May, a good opportunity to think about how you’re feeling and look at what you can do to look after yourself.

Keep talking

Connect – with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. These relationships can help you to feel happier and safer. Talking about the way you feel with someone you know and trust can ease the pressure. Even if they can’t help, just being listened to is a positive step. In return, if you’re caring and supportive to others you might be making a big difference, simply by listening.

The Bristol SU Living Room is a great place to relax and unwind and there’s a weekly programme of events open to everyone. They’re completely unobtrusive, so if it’s not your thing, you can just come along and chill or have a game of foosball or ping pong.  

If you’d prefer, there are lots of people to talk to at the university or via our resources, from student welfare support, to peer support at the Big White Wall and Just Ask – the Bristol SU’s advice and support service. Visit the ‘Where to get help’ page for more information about the support available to you.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on how we can continue to support the wellbeing of our student community, we’d welcome your input in the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey. You don’t need to have experienced mental health issues to take part. It takes about 15 minutes and is entirely anonymous.

Stay active

Recent graduate and netball superstar, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, shares the benefits of keeping active and why extra-curricular activities will enrich your life.

You don’t need to be a high performance athlete to benefit from staying active, even just a gentle stroll will help; all activity is clinically-proven to improve mental health.

During the summer term (29 April – 15 June), all B:Active Campus sessions on the timetable are completely free so if you haven’t already, why not check out what’s on offer? There are plenty of B:Active initiatives that don’t take up a lot of time or require a membership, specialist equipment, or commitment to training sessions, so do have a look. There’s also the B:Active Healthy Minds programme – tailored to helping students who are experiencing mental health difficulties – which is well worth looking into.

As Eboni says…

“You just need to seek out what it is you want to do, what you can fall in love with, and roll with it.”

Balance study and leisure activities

At this busy time of year, help to maintain a healthy frame of mind by sleeping and eating well, taking regular breaks away from your screen or desk and making time for yourself. Doing something you enjoy can improve your self-confidence and lift your spirits; whether it’s cooking, seeing friends, doing something creative or learning something new. Helping someone else, through volunteering for example, or setting yourself a realistic challenge can help you to feel positive about yourself too.

Bristol SU’s Mind your Head events are running into June and are a great excuse to take a break and try something different. Library services are also offering opportunities to get crafting and creating during the Summer assessment period. 

If you like the theatre, honorary graduate Jonny Benjamin will be performing ‘Stranger on the Bridge‘ – an inspiring tale of human kindness, mental illness and redemption. See this moving portrayal of one man’s determination to find the Good Samaritan who changed his life at the Tobacco Factory, 14 – 18 May.

Study support

Need help with revision? The study support pages provide loads of information about where to find study spaces and how to access useful resources. 

However you’re feeling or whatever you’re up to, remember to take time to look after yourself.

“The crowd hung onto his every word.”

Student winner, Monica Taylor, shares her experience of the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner.

– Monica Taylor

Having never won so much as a raffle in my life, I never expected to receive an email saying I was to attend the Bristol Alumni Awards Gala Dinner in London with Sir David Attenborough! Anna and I cleared our schedules for Tuesday 12th March, dug out our best cocktail dresses and spent the rest of the day jumping up and down in excitement!

Alumni Awards Gala Dinner competition, Student winners.

When the date rolled around, we met the other student winners and their guests on the coach and headed off to London along with the Bristol Gospel Choir – who sang beautifully all the way there, rehearsing for their performance that night. Descending on Mansion House at 6pm, the evening kicked off with a champagne reception in the Salon; an elaborately decorated room with sky high ceilings adorned with a stunning row of crystal chandeliers. It was like stepping into Buckingham Palace!

“One couple shared their heart-warming story of meeting as students many years ago, and going on to call Bristol home ever since.”

Red carpet covered the floor and glorious bouquets of flowers hung left, right and centre. The room was filled with University of Bristol alumni of all ages and professions, including the Lord Mayor of the City of London, who was hosting the event. On the sound of a gong, everyone began to migrate into the Egyptian Hall, an even grander room with giant columns supporting an immaculately gold-decorated ceiling.

We were seated on a table with some lovely alumni who we got to chat to throughout dinner. It was amazing to hear all their stories of being a University of Bristol student and the adventures they’d been on since graduating. One couple shared their heart-warming story of meeting as students many years ago, and going on to call Bristol home ever since. They were all keen to hear about our current MSci Biology projects and future aspirations.

“The love for the University and the city of Bristol shone through in every speech.”

Dinner started off with beetroot, goat’s cheese and marjoram, molded beautifully into a sphere. This was followed by a honey and lavender glazed duck fillet and finished off with a dessert of mandarin and mascarpone cremeux. The wines had been carefully selected to complement the food, and each dish really was a work of art!

The awards were given out between courses and each recipient gave a short speech, expressing their gratitude to Bristol for some of the best years of their life and reminiscing about old times. The love for the University and the city of Bristol shone through in every speech and it was an honour to cheer them on as they were recognised for their achievements. The final award of the night was presented to the legend himself, Sir David Attenborough, celebrating a lifetime achievement. We cheered him onto the stage with a standing ovation; the atmosphere was incredible and the crowd hung onto his every word.

 

“Sir David has inspired generations of people and he had an important message for the younger generation…”

He spoke with modesty and gratitude, describing how although he is the voice behind the well-known BBC natural history documentaries, the real stars of the show are the film makers and the talented people on the ground who spend years following groups of animals – skillfully recording every detail of their behaviour. Sir David has inspired generations of people and he had an important message for the younger generation; one which urged us to come together to save the planet. His conclusion was hopeful, insisting that if we all take action, there is still time to save this beautiful planet and the species that inhabit it.

The night’s finale was a stunning performance from the balcony by the Bristol Gospel Choir, after which we said our goodbyes and shared well-wishes with our new-found alumni friends, snapped a few final photos under the beautiful chandeliers and headed back to the coach.

WHAT A NIGHT!

Thank you so much University of Bristol for such a wonderful, memorable evening. We haven’t stopped talking about it since!

Campus Heart Fest – our favourite moments

On the first day of Spring, the very first Campus Heart Fest saw hundreds of students and staff coming together at the heart of the campus for a day of fun.

Hosted in partnership with Ignit10n, a sporting event that’s run every year by the SU’s Sports Network, more than £6,500 was raised for Bristol charity Above & Beyond.

Students buckled down for 10 hours of tough sporting challenges, and visitors could sample the winning cake in the PGR Hub’s Bake Your Thesis competition. Congratulations to Elisa Coraggio for winning the Bake Your Thesis competition, and Mary Jenkinson-Finch for winning the People’s Choice vote!

Visitors also took part in creative workshops and pop-up stands throughout the day, including the Careers Service, a stand about the New Library and the Global Lounge.

Please keep your eye on the Campus Heart website for future plans.  Here are some of our favourite moments of the day:

 

 

Congratulations to our winners!

We had a brilliant response to the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner competition and really enjoyed reading each and every one of your entries. 

Well done to Leah, Monica and Rory, who won their place at the table to see Sir David Attenborough receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the black-tie event last Tuesday. The winning entries are detailed below.

David Attenborough looks at medicinal plants used by capuchin monkeys. Photo Stephen Dunleavy, copyright Humble Bee Films

Leah summed up what it means to her to be a Bristol student with: Community, Belonging, and AdventureExplaining that “Bristol means belonging to a community of similar thinkers, learners, and adventurers, in both the academic and social sphere. It means adventuring socially, physically, and mentally, and belonging to more than just myself. Bristol means somewhere I can be myself, in earnest, and explore what being myself really means.”

Global, Daring, and Inclusive were the three words Monica chose to describe being a Bristol student, saying that “With such an international community, four years in Bristol has allowed me to build lifelong friendships spanning the whole world. Bristol students dare to challenge the status quo, think outside the box, and start conversations that stir real change. There is truly something for everyone in this beautiful, buzzing city!”

Rory chose Fostering, Uplifting, and Alive to explain what being a Bristol student means to him, explaining that “Since arriving in Bristol, I’ve found myself welcomed by a University of peers and a city of life, which come together to create a community like no other. Opportunities: academic, social, and creative, are everywhere; and the resources and support with which to pursue them are more than ample.”

Their prize included a champagne reception followed by a three-course dinner alongside many high-profile alumni. Sir David Attenborough received the Lifetime Achievement Award on the night. 

Thank you again to everyone who entered, and congratulations to our very lucky winners!

University Mental Health Day 2019

In support of University Mental Health Day 2019, we talk to students and staff about how they are using their voice to change the future of mental health at the University and beyond. Discover how you too can make a difference, today and always.


“I will be using my voice as the Student Living Officer at the Bristol Students’ Union to ensure that the University of Bristol commits to its duty of care and offers pastoral support to students of all  backgrounds. If you want to find out more, please check out my blog post launching the student wellbeing health strategy” – Vanessa Wilson, Student Living Officer 

At the University of Bristol your voice is valued, which is why your opinion was at the heart of our Mental Health Strategy. Get involved in the next Mental Health Consultation at the end of March. Use your voice to make a change.


“As part of the Black Dog Project, we use our voice to educate young people on a range of topics to do with mental health. Our aim is, through education, to reduce the stigma often associated with these types of conversations amongst young people.

I think it is important to raise our voice about mental health because everyone has mental health. Children need to learn that it is as important to look after their mental mind as it is to look after their bodies.” – Nina Rabbitt, Black Dog Project President, Third Year Student

Want to get involved? Find out more here. Use your voice to make a change.


“Passionate about driving change in our city, I am organising ‘Project WalkToTalk Bristol’ with a team of students from Bristol Medical School. The aim is to make mental health a conversation amongst young people and bring communities together in a positive way over something we all, no doubt experience. The event also raises money for Off The Record (Bristol), a charity and social movement aiming to empower young people in a sustainable way. Join us on 4th May… Let’s do this, together.” – George Cole, Project WalkToTalk Bristol Organiser, Second Year Student 

Attend the event and help beat the stigma associated with mental health.


“Discussions around mental wellbeing are part of everyday life, they  happen wherever you are.” – Carolyn Jones, Student Wellbeing Adviser in the School of Social Sciences and Law 

You are not on your own. There is always a friendly face and listening ear nearby. Find out what services we have, what they do and how they can help you.

 

 

 


 “The Healthy Minds programme supports students to take positive steps to improve the way they feel through physical activity and sport. We’ve found that students have reported an improvement in their wellbeing through involvement in the scheme.” – Peter Burrows, Physical Activity and Health Development Officer

Exercise is good for your mind, as well as your body, participating in our Healthy Minds programme could not be easier. To find out more watch this short video with Isaac who took part in the scheme, read about how Beth got involved and visit the site.

 


Your voice is powerful, use it to shape the future of mental health, today and always! 

City sights: Your best bits of Bristol

We asked students their top spots to unwind, grab a bite, discover something new or meet friends around town. Here’s what they had to say:

Harbourside

Bristol harbourside

Joseph (MSci Mathematics) told us, ‘My favourite spots are on the harbourside, which not only has loads of cool bars and restaurants, but is also one of the prettiest areas of Bristol at night.’ From independent cinema at Watershed to art at Arnolfini, this area is a cultural hub as well as a central place to catch a drink with friends or watch the boats go by.

If you’re still getting to know Bristol, the (free!) M Shed museum aims to tell the story of Bristol through quirky artefacts, personal accounts and interactive exhibits. Nearby Cargo offers an array of lunch options – from tacos to tapas – served out of re-purposed shipping containers.

Bristol Museum

Where to duck to escape the bustle of Park Street at lunchtime? Tamara (BA English Literature) said, ‘I love the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The architecture is beautiful and it’s so peaceful.’ From gilded Renaissance masterworks to Banksys, local wildlife to Egyptian mummies, there is plenty to explore.

Royal Fort Gardens

Royal Fort Gardens in bloom

This lush green space is a firm student favourite for the way it brightens up the middle of campus. The gardens feature a (seasonal) wildflower meadow and pond as well as unexpected art installations like the mirror maze sculpture ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Hollow,’ a modernist wooden grotto constructed from samples of 10,000 trees. When the weather warms, this is where you want to bring a book to study al fresco.

Mrs Potts Chocolate House

Mrs Potts is a wonderful place to escape reality for a while and just relax or have a chat,’ says Yasmin (MEng Mechanical Engineering) about the Park Street cafe. ‘The cakes are delicious (with a lot of vegan options), the coffee and hot chocolate warm you up on a cold day, and the interior is extremely cosy…When it’s not too cold, you can go downstairs to a picturesque courtyard with fairy lights and candles.’

St Nicholas Market

St Nicholas Market on Corn Street in the Centre

Established in 1743, this spot is home to the city’s largest collection of independent retailers. It’s a favourite of Muirne (MBChB Medicine), who says, ‘What I love most about St Nick’s Market is the sheer variety. There are tons of different cuisines available as street food, and most of it has amazing vegan and vegetarian options. There’s a mix of shops, from niche jewellery designers, to antique record and book shops, to boho-style crystal and incense stalls. And because of this variety, you get a wonderful mix of people there too.’

Christmas Steps

Draped in white fairy lights and dotted with interesting indie businesses, this spot gets your vote for atmosphere. An ornate wrought-iron sign announces ‘To Christmas Steps’ from high above the chimneypots before winding down layers of city streets – past artisan popups, an art-house video rental with mini cinema, and a popular board game café.

Have we missed any of your best bits of Bristol?

Win your place at the table.

Thank you for your interest in our competition to win the chance to join us at our inaugural Alumni Awards Gala Dinner. The competition is now closed and we’re busy judging the fantastic entries. 

For the first year ever, the University of Bristol is hosting an Alumni Awards Gala Dinner. This prestigious event will take place at the Mansion House in London on Tuesday 12 March. Three lucky winners will have the chance to attend the event and bring along a fellow University of Bristol student to share the fun.

David Attenborough looks at medicinal plants used by capuchin monkeys. Photo Stephen Dunleavy, copyright Humble Bee Films

The prize includes a champagne reception followed by a three-course dinner alongside many high-profile alumni. Sir David Attenborough will receive the Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement Award on the night.

There will also be a performance by the University of Bristol Gospel Choir to enjoy and coach travel to and from Bristol will be arranged for you.

For your chance of winning, simply enter the competition via the link below and answer this simple question:

Which three words sum up what it means to you to be a Bristol student?

Explain your choice of words in 50 words or less.

Enter online here

The closing date for the competition is Friday 15 February at 5 pm and winners will be notified by the end of February. We look forward to reading your entries.

Terms and Conditions

1. This competition is run by the University of Bristol and open to all students aged 18 or over and registered at the University of Bristol until 31 March 2019.

2. The competition is free to enter, and no purchase is necessary.

3. Winners must be available to travel to London for the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner on 12 March 2019.

4. Employees, their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the The University of Bristol or judging the competition will be exempt from entering the competition.

5. The prize is three pairs of tickets so six students in total may attend the event as a result of this competition. The three winners can choose one fellow University of Bristol student as their guest. All attendees must be aged 18 or over and registered at the University of Bristol until 31 March 2019.

6. Each ticket winner will receive an invitation to attend the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at the Mansion House in London. The Alumni Awards Gala Dinner will include a champagne reception followed by a three-course dinner and a performance by the University of Bristol Gospel Choir to accompany the Award presentations. Students will be seated with their guest and travel arrangements will be made so they travel together to and from the event on Tuesday 12 March 2019.

7. The opening date for entries to the competition is 10 am on 6 February. The closing date for entries to the competition is 5 pm on 15 February 2019. Any entries received after this time will not be accepted or considered.

8. To enter the competition, use the form above and submit three words that sum up what it means to you to be a Bristol Student. You are welcome but not obliged to support your submission with 50 words or less explaining your choice of words. If you have any questions regarding your submission, please email student-comms@bristol.ac.uk.

9. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.

10. The University of Bristol accepts no responsibility for entries not successfully completed due to technical fault or any kind including but not limited to technical malfunction, computer hardware or software failure, network or sever failure.

11. All entries received and verified by the University of Bristol will be judged by representatives from the Bristol Students’ Union and three winners will be selected. An independent adjudicator will be appointed by the University of Bristol to also judge the competition.

12. The three winners will be notified by email (using the e-mail address provided at entry) by the end of February 2019. We are not able to make contact with the unsuccessful entries on this occasion.

13. If a winner or winners cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 48 hours of notification, the winner’s prize will be forfeited, and The University of Bristol will be entitled to select another winner/s in accordance with the process described above.

14. Winners must attend a briefing prior to the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner when full travel arrangements will be advised. The University of Bristol will notify the winners when the briefing will take place. Attending the briefing is a mandatory requirement in order to attend the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner.

15. The University of Bristol’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.

16. By entering this competition, participants are deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions upon entry. The University of Bristol reserves the right to refuse entry or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.

17. All Competition entries and any accompanying material submitted to the University of Bristol  will become the property of the University of Bristol on receipt and will not be returned. By submitting your competition entry and any accompanying material, you agree to: (a) assign to the University of Bristol all your intellectual property rights with full title guarantee; and (b) waive all moral rights.

18. By submitting your entry, you acknowledge that the University of Bristol may use your comments and quotes for marketing and editorial purposes of the University worldwide, without restriction and in any format. The purpose of such materials is to include, without limitation, undergraduate and postgraduate prospectuses, the international guide, the University website, University social media accounts and University publications including matters relating to the University’s marketing and editorial functions. We reserve the right to make minor editorial or grammatical changes to your submission, but we will not materially alter the substance of your submission.

19. Winners will be interviewed and filmed at the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner and any video footage will remain the property of the University of Bristol who may use any film content for marketing and editorial purposes of the University worldwide, without restriction and in any format. The purpose of such materials is to include, without limitation, undergraduate and postgraduate prospectuses, the international guide, the University website, and University publications including matters relating to the University’s marketing and editorial functions. We reserve the right to make minor editorial changes to your submission, but we will not materially alter the substance of your interview.

20. Any abusive or vulgar language will be disqualified and reported to the University of Bristol Secretaries Office.

21. The University of Bristol reserve the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice. Any changes will be effective immediately and the competition participants will be notified as soon as possible.

22. The University of Bristol is not responsible for changes to the event including changes to guest list or entertainment.

23. The prize is as stated, and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

24. The winners agree to the use of their/his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other participants to the competition will be used solely in accordance the University’s Data Protection Policy.

25. The University of Bristol reserves the right to cancel the competition if circumstances arise outside of its control.

26. This competition will be governed by English law and participants to the competition submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts.

ENDS

Out with the old, in with the new

Demolition of the Temple Quarter site has begun!

There’s no bang, no dramatic demolition, no explosion. So, we’ve chosen to mark the occasion with a difference, through spoken word.

University of Bristol alumni and award-winning spoken word artist, Vanessa Kisuule, pays homage to the site, which has been a former sorting office, a cattle market and once had a burgeoning rave scene. Inspired by the authenticity and grit, Vanessa reflects on the site’s heritage with ‘Brick Me’…

We’ll be sharing more from this former UoB English student, and our other Artists-in-Residence, who will continue to explore the stories of the local area and its inhabitants, collecting memories from the past and hopes for the future. Keep your eyes peeled and get inspired.

Celebrating 10 years of the Green Impact Awards

We’ve recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Green Impact Awards, a University of Bristol-born environmental initiative, which has gone on to have national impact. It has been adopted by over 400 UK organisations such as University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, North Bristol NHS Trust and 50 universities across the country.

Green Impact Award winners 2018

The Green Impact Scheme challenges staff to implement several actions within their departments to help the environment: things like saving energy, volunteering, using more sustainable transport and recycling. The more actions teams complete, the more points are scored, leading to a Bronze, Bronze Plus, Silver, Gold or Platinum Award. Students can volunteer as Green Impact Project Assistants or Green Impact Auditors.

  • Green Impact Project Assistants: students receive certified NUS training and then use their new skills to help Green Impact teams complete their workbooks by improving the sustainability of their workplaces. This usually begins shortly after the launch of the scheme, and ends just before it closes. Green Impact Project Assistants provide ongoing assistance to teams during this period.
  • Green Impact Auditors: students receive certified NUS training to carry out the official end-of-scheme audits of Green Impact teams and their workplaces to make sure teams have completed all actions logged in their submitted workbooks. Training and audits usually take place in one day following the close of the scheme.

“The Green Impact Awards are a fantastic testament to how the efforts of individuals and teams can combine to achieve instrumental positive effects on our environment. We’re immensely proud to have created a scheme that has gone on to be adopted across the country and of all of our staff and students whose work has contributed positively on our environment.”

Martin Wiles, University of Bristol Head of Sustainability.

For 2019, the Sustainability Team are busy planning how the Green Impact Awards will work alongside other sustainability schemes at the University. Keep an eye on the Green University pages for further updates.

Get your voice heard through your course rep!

Bristol Students’ Union and our University work together to give you the best university experience possible. Student course reps are an important part of the picture; they play a key role in sharing your concerns and issues with teams in the University who can make a difference.

Course reps are your ‘on-the-ground’ students, democratically elected to represent your academic interests and any concerns to the University. They can directly influence change in the schools they represent, making sure student voices are heard. Their job is to find out the things their course mates like or would like changed; anything from deadlines being too close together to not having enough bins in buildings.

Introducing the Education Network

We've got your back – especially when it comes to representing your academic interests! Here's a little introduction to The Education Network, which exists to improve all students' educational experience at Bristol.The Education Network is open to everyone, but automatically includes Academic Course Reps, Faculty Reps, Education Officers, and Academic Society Committees. You can join the Facebook group here >> http://bit.ly/2ThuEFO

Posted by Bristol SU on Thursday, 15 November 2018

Course reps share these items with University colleagues and work out ways that they can be changed – or find out why they can’t be. They have done amazing work to benefit students: for example, getting printer credits put on course accounts, feeding into building proposals, and moving the dates of reading weeks.

Staff in schools want to make student life the best it can be, but they often don’t know what the issues are. If you think of something, tell your course rep, so they can let University staff know. Find out who your course rep is on the Bristol SU website. 

Course rep elections, run by the SU, are held in March and October. Keep an eye out around campus for your chance to nominate yourself or to recommend a friend.  Being a course rep is an effective way of influencing change in your school and of getting a sense of what happens behind the scenes at our University. It also looks great on a CV.

Visit the Bristol SU Website to find out more.

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