‘Tis the season to be sustainable

The festive break is almost upon us and we want to wish you all a very happy holiday season. Our ‘Tis the Season campaign launches this today and over the next few weeks we will be focusing on these three themes:

‘Tis the Season to…

  • be sustainable
  • give back to the community
  • look after your wellbeing

Each week we will be sharing tips, advice and resources on our student blog to ensure you have a wonderful winter break!

Top tips for a sustainable festive season

We are all aware of how important it is to be more sustainable, especially over the holidays. Check out our sustainability team‘s top 3 tips for a greener festive season below…

1. Gift shopping

Set yourself a challenge and buy your festive outfit second-hand in one of the many brilliant charity shops and vintage stores around the city. Buying fair trade gifts is another good way to have a greener Christmas, supporting farmers and organic growing practices – check out Traidcraft for ethical gift inspiration.

You could also let your friends and family know you’re more than happy to receive second-hand items for Christmas, or for them to make a charitable donation on your behalf. You could even ask to have a tree planted to offset some of your carbon footprint!

2. Party season

Swap the beige buffet for tasty vegan hors d’oeuvres, vegetable tapenades and fruity sorbets to surprise and delight your guests while reducing your carbon footprint. You can also forget about floppy paper plates and disposable table clothes – hire all your tableware essentials from the Party Kit Network, sometimes for free!


3. All that glitters…

Avoid cheap plastic, glittery decorations and use what you already have wherever you can. Save money and go natural by making wreaths from foliage. If you have holly branches, berries or ivy growing in your garden you can use these or go out for a walk and collect some locally (make sure you have permission). This can then be composted after the Christmas period. If you plan to send Christmas cards, go for those without microplastics and glitter and choose FSC sourced and Fair-Trade cards that support a charity.

Coming up

Keep an eye out for next week’s ‘Tis the Season blog which will be focusing on ways that you can give back to the community this winter. This will include volunteering opportunities around Bristol as well as stories from students who have been getting involved in the local community. There will also be information about the new food box in Senate House and details of how you can contribute!

Activities – Competition Four

What activities have kept you going this autumn?

Cabot Tower, Brandon Hill in Autumn
Cabot Tower, Brandon Hill in autumn

We know it can be hard to stay motivated this time of year as it gets darker and colder. So, for our fourth and final transition to university competition, we asked you to share your stories of what’s helped you ​stay motivated and settle into university life.

We received lots of amazing emails with fantastic tips and motivational stories. You can read this week’s winning answer below, along with some of our other favourite stories.

If you are struggling to stay motivated this autumn, remember there is still plenty going on in both the university and in the city to help you stay active, keep motivated, meet new people and try out new activities. If you are looking for inspiration, we have a list of events and resources in our first transition to university blog post.

This week’s winning answer…

Our winning answer this week comes from postgraduate student Carol:

“I am keeping vlogging my daily life on video channels to record my life in Bristol and the UK. I have been an international student since my undergraduate. I recorded my travels from home to the UK, the Christmas travel in France and Italy, my return “escape” from the UK to China during the pandemic, and my second return back travel from my home to the UK this September, and so on. I knew that they were just little pieces of my UK student life, which is trivial. But when I recall my life in totally different cultures and countries, it is incredibly meaningful to me. The previous experience is like a movie shot in my mind. I gained happiness and a sense of satisfaction from it. Also, I encourage my friends around me to try to record their lives. It will be a kind of treasure for your future life.”

We love that Carol is documenting her university experience in her vlogs! What a great way to keep motivated and have a record of your university life to look back on.

More motivation stories…

Amber, an undergraduate student, tells us that learning a language has helped her stay motivated this autumn. If you’re interested in learning a language like Amber, make sure you check out our Global Lounge Language Café.

“Joining uni later than most (20) was quite daunting so I found socialising a little difficult at the beginning – especially as I’m a commuter from home. So the activity that’s kept me going during the first months of university has to be my Korean language class! Our teacher Miss Young is phenomenal, and the class itself has a mixture of ages and people from many different degree paths. Therefore, I’m neither the oldest nor youngest which helped lessen my fear of being older and starting university.Each week we learn something new and the open calm environment means no questions are off limits. I cannot recommend her class enough! Thank you so much Young nim!!”

Grace, an undergraduate student, sent us a very inspiring story, detailing her past struggles with getting into university and how she kept herself motivated. Here is an inspirational quote from her story:

“Everyone goes through different things and what is difficult to one person may be fine for another – however I think it is important to remember that all struggles have value and reason. Despite all these challenges however, we’re all here. We all made it to, hopefully, where we wanted to be! Whether that took two years, three years, or like me, two years of 6th Form and then an additional two years!”

Thank you

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who took part in our transition to university competition. We received some amazing stories, recipes, pet pictures and motivational tips. You can take a look back at our previous blog posts and competitions here:

Daylight saving time – competition one

What will you be doing with your extra hour?

For our first blog competition, we asked you what you will be doing with your extra time in the morning when the clocks go back. Many of you responded by saying that you will be using your extra hour to do an early morning workout and others said they will be catching up on reading… but by far the most popular answer was SLEEPING!

Pressing snooze on an alarm clock
Pressing snooze on an alarm clock

Good sleeping habits are essential for your physical health and mental wellbeing. If you’re experiencing difficulties with your sleep, why not try out the Insight Timer app, which can help you with your sleep, anxiety and stress.

This week’s winning answer

Our winning answer this week comes from one of our undergraduate students:

“The plan for day light saving time is to continue studying the unclear point ! I’ve been thinking that there is not enough time for me to get all the topics done. I sometimes think that if I was fluent in English then some topics could be easier to understand, at the same time I definitely need to put effort into studying in my major and English too ! Even though I am hectic with study, I sometimes need spare time to do my favorite thing which is to go for walk and gym! Therefore, I will end up obtaining good knowledge from University and healthy lifestyle.”

Their answer highlights some of the challenges that University life can bring. Establishing a balance between studying, socialising, exercising and relaxing can be tricky – particularly during the winter months when there are fewer daylight hours. If you’re struggling to find the right balance, we have pulled together a list of different events and resources to help you, including tips to manage homesickness and details of how to request wellbeing support.

If you’re looking to practice your language skills in a fun and friendly environment, make sure you check out our Global Lounge Language Café. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an advanced learner – everyone is welcome. Join in every Wednesday, either in person or virtually – see the event listings page for more information.

Skyline viewed from the top of Senate House in autumn: Wills Memorial Building.

Competition two – your pet stories

For our next competition, we are asking you for your pet stories! Celebrate your pet, or even just an animal you know that deserves to be recognised! Send us an image of your pet and 100 words about them – for your chance to win a £25 voucher.

Email us your answer by 11am on Friday 5 November, and we will post the top three stories on our blog later that day. The overall winner will receive a £25 voucher.

Send your answers to student-comms@bristol.ac.uk.

Transition to university competition

How are you finding Bristol so far?

Royal Fort House and Gardens in autumn.

We have seen a real mixture of sunshine and rain already this term, but the days are very soon going to get shorter, darker and colder, and for many people, it’s a time of year when we just feel like hibernating! But, before you hide away under the duvet, we want to talk about all the great things that happen in autumn.

For a start, it’s the season to indulge in comfort food – we’re thinking hearty soups, pies, curries and stews… There are also opportunities to get together and celebrate events such as Halloween and bonfire night. Plus, there is still plenty going on in both the university and in the city to help us stay active, keep motivated, meet new people and try out new activities. We’ve got a list of events and resources below to help you keep going, but we’d also love to hear from you about how you stay motivated with the change of season.

Read on to find out how you can share your ideas and be in with a chance of winning a prize.

Competition time!

Over the next four weeks, we will be running a weekly competition based on a seasonal theme. Each one is a chance to let us know how you’re settling into university so far and also to share tips and ideas with others who might still be adjusting to a new routine and way of life. You can email us your answers, or why not get creative with a vlog?

We will post the best responses on our student blog each Friday, and the overall winner for each topic will win a £25 voucher.

Send your answers to student-comms@bristol.ac.uk

  1. Competition one: Daylight saving time
    With the clocks going back this Sunday (31 October) we would love to know what you will do with your extra time. Will you be opting for the extra hour in bed or will you be hitting the gym before your first lecture?

    Competition one is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

  2. Competition two: Your pet stories
    Do you have an amazing pet at home? Celebrate your pet, or even just an animal you know that deserves to be recognised! Send us an image of your pet and 100 words about them.

    Competition two is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

  3. Competition three: Comfort food. Best recipe for winter days.
    Cooking your favourite foods or food from home can be a great source of comfort in the winter months. What is the recipe that always makes you feel good? Share with us including an image if you can!

    Competition three is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

  4. Competition four: Activity that’s kept you going
    What activities have kept you going during this autumn period? Did you join Be Active, start knitting, meditate, learn a new language, go dancing…? Share your stories of what’s helped you ​stay motivated and settle into Bristol life.

    Competition four is now closed – read the winning entry on our blog.

Read the terms and conditions for this competition.

Downs promenade (Clifton) in autumn

Events and resources

Remember, you don’t have to be suffering from the “winter blues” to be feeling a little low. If you need a pick me up then maybe some of the resources below will help:

  • What’s On – listings of events, activities, cultural celebrations and volunteering opportunities within the university
  • Manage homesickness – if you’re missing home then these top tips from Save the Student may help
  • Global Lounge – relax, meet others or attend one of the many events on offer
  • Eat your pumpkin! – seasonal recipes from BBC Good Food
  • Lunchtime Socials – connect, unwind and recharge at the Multifaith Chaplaincy
  • Stay active – see what’s on at the uni sports centre, and read tips from the BBC for keeping going even when it’s cold.
  • Student Wellbeing – self-help resources for managing your wellbeing, as well as details for how to request support
  • The SU Wellbeing Network – find details of student groups and societies which are specifically focused on promoting wellbeing
  • Supporting your Wellbeing Sharepoint – wellbeing resources for PGR students
  • Student Minds – support and resources to manage your own or your friends’ mental health
  • Off The Record – drop-in sessions, projects and services for looking after mental health run by and for young people in Bristol
  • Headspace – free meditations for weathering the storm
  • YouTube – watch videos from University of Bristol students on how they managed their transition to university
  • Go for a walk – Bristol has some great green spaces so go explore and breathe in some fresh air

Welcome to the University of Bristol  

 A welcome message from Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience Professor Sarah Purdy  and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor Tansy Jessop

We hope that you’re all settling in well and enjoying your time in our wonderful city – whether you’re a new student or returning to Bristol. As your studies have begun, we wanted to check in and remind you of a few things to help you get the most out of your time here.

During your time with us, we highly recommend that you explore Bristol, including the different areas beyond Clifton and the central campus. Bristol has so much to offer – diverse food, art, music, as well as museums, parks and waterways. Make sure you visit the newly refurbished Senate House, including brand new bar, The Beckford, and the Bristol SU Loft, which are great places to relax, unwind and connect with other students. While you’re on campus, check out the brand-new meningitis research mural near the Biomedical Sciences Building which aims to motivate and inspire the public to join the fight against meningitis and remember to familiarise yourself with the symptoms.

We all know life can be challenging at times, so we offer a comprehensive range of wellbeing services and support if you need it, including self-help resources and access to specialist services where you can speak to staff. We’ve also put together a study support package to help you develop excellent online and in-person learning techniques. We also encourage you to actively use available teaching rooms on campus, which can also be found on this web page – see the ‘Find a live learning space’ button.

To keep our community safe, we ask you to wear a face covering when inside all campus buildings, including teaching spaces, unless you are exempt. This includes walking around corridors and generally moving around inside buildings. Find out more about how to keep safe on campus.

We also want everyone to have a fun and safe time when out and about in Bristol. So, make sure you look after each other on nights out. Check in with your friends and let them know where you’re going, plan how you’re getting home and keep an eye on your drink. Read our blog post for some useful resources to help make your night out safe .

We hope you enjoyed Welcome Week and finding out about the University and Students’ Union. Please take a few moments to fill in the SU Welcome Survey and share your feedback on Welcome Week, so we can continue to improve our welcome activities!

We hope you have an amazing term with us – we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone on campus this year and to enjoying University life together!

Best wishes,
Sarah and Tansy

Professor Sarah Purdy             Professor Tansy Jessop
Pro Vice-Chancellor                  Pro Vice-Chancellor
Student Experience                  Education