Red Nose Day 2022

It’s Red Nose Day! You know what that means – a fun night of watching short sketches and performances on the BBC, whilst everyone wears fun (but uncomfortable) fake noses. It’s one of those days that we all get involved with every year when we are children, because schools always hold fundraising events, but stop getting involved once we leave secondary school.

For that purpose, I have created this guide of some fundraising ideas. Remember that when it comes to Red Nose Day, the sillier the idea, the better it is. Why not hold a Bake Sale or Open Mic Night? Or maybe you want to do a charity run or cycle – and why not dress up to do it? There’s always the standard option of having a bath of baked beans. Or you could cash in on primary school nostalgia and hold a Sports Day – and it could feature a Red Nose and Spoon race.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out and raise some money – Comic Relief accepts donations all year long so don’t feel like you’ve missed your chance if you can’t get involved today.

By Student Champion Joshua Littleford

 

 

 

World Day of Social Justice – 20 February 2022

Are we all equal?

Social justice is a complicated subject.  It’s not just about what we have or don’t have.  We are all individuals and experience the world in a different way, but it’s really important that we have equal access to education, work, health services, regardless of where we live, our age, our physical abilities, our marital status, our gender, our sexuality, our ethnicity, our neurodiversity… the list about how we are regarded by society is a long and complicated one.   

 

Recently, COVID has highlighted inequalities because of the need to study and work from home even though we don’t all have the same facilities – whether that’s space, wi-fi access, or digital equipment.  Equally, news reports are telling us that the climate crisis is disproportionately affecting people with disabilities as we see the costs of services and equipment rise.  Is it enough to be aware of these differences, or do we have a responsibility to fight for change?  How should we go about doing that?  These are huge questions to which there are no easy answers.   

Difference is good

One of the ways to challenge the status quo is to embrace our differences. Sophie Hudson is a law student and Vice President of the 93 percent club which encourages students from less privileged backgrounds to recognise and value the skills they have. Watch this inspiring clip of an interview with Sophie explaining how our experiences before coming to university can have a big impact on our confidence levels.   

 

The Right to Protest

There are other ways to take a stand, and we know from our recent polls on social media that many of you would choose to actively demonstrate when you are feeling dissatisfied.  However, the right to hold a protest has recently been called into question and here, our student content writer Victoria Cornelio Diaz provides an excellent overview of the “Kill the Bill” protests that have taken place in the city during the last twelve months.   

“In March of 2021, the city of Bristol came together to protest against the new proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Over 500 protesters marched in the city centre to show their disapproval. One last display was carried out in January 2022 as a final effort to battle the Bill which was introduced for voting on January 17. This resistance against the Bill comes from the implications the Bill would have on protesting rights and police behaviour, which has led to advocates and protestors to ask the government to “Kill the Bill”.  Just in Bristol, Twitter user Martin Booth reports that there have been 15 ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations in the last year.  

If the Bill were to be accepted, these are some of the impacts it would have on protests and the safety of those involved: 

        Police can act against a group of people they believe will cause significant disruption and charge them with prison sentences. 

        Police can forcibly shut down protests and public assemblies. 

        Stop and Search actions could become more widespread, based on police’s suspicion. 

The Bill is described by many protestors as a violation of the human right to free speech and a danger to democracy. Government officials defend the Bill by saying it is a way of balancing the rights of protestors and the rights of people who want to go about their day without disruption. However, for a city like Bristol with a longstanding history of protest and social justice movements, if parliament does not “Kill the Bill”, the landscape of the city’s advocacy movements will see major disruption.” 

  Victoria Cornelio Diaz, Student Communications Champion

Picture from bristolpost.co.uk, Sunday March 21, 2021

 

A Guantanamo Conversation

Bristol is generally known as a liberal city, and the UK is a democratic society, however even then we don’t always get to hear all sides of a story.  On 3 March you can listen to three different perspectives when the Law School’s Human Rights Implementation Centre will host a conversation with Mohamedou Ould Slahi who was tortured and detained at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years without charge, Nancy Hollander, the defence lawyer who represented him and secured his freedom in 2016, and Professor Sir Malcolm Evans,the former Chair of the UN’s Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. Book your ticket here.

Hungry for more?

If Social Justice fires up your passion then head to the School of Policy Studies events page and find out about their forthcoming talks. There are some fascinating topics coming up, (as well as the opportunity to find out first-hand whether Jess Phillips can hold her own as a speaker!). 

We hope you enjoy the World Day of Social Justice, whatever you’re doing. And please stay safe from Storm Eunice 😊 

Student Volunteering Week 2022

 

What is Student Volunteering Week?

Running for its 21st year, Student Volunteering Week is a nationwide event bringing students together to celebrate the volunteering you’ve been taking part in, or to find out more about ways you can get involved.

For obvious reasons, this year has seen many people keen to support projects focused around sustainability, but there’s a whole range of opportunities out there and it would be difficult for someone not to find a programme linked to a social issue close to your heart.

 

Why should I be interested?

Being a volunteer is not about being a saint!  Talk to anyone who gives up their time for a cause that concerns them, and they will tell you it makes them feel good.  And if your physical or mental wellbeing isn’t in need of a boost, then what about your employability skills?

Volunteering often provides the chance to test your ability in areas where you may not have had much experience before, but that will be a real asset in your future career.   You often get thrown in at the deep end, but when you realise you can swim you will get a huge confidence boost – and who would say no to some Jedi powers?  You may also find out that topics you thought would interest you turn out to be not what you expected and, equally, discover subjects you feel passionate about but had never really considered before.

If you need more inspiration, please head to the Law School Student Employability Blog and read about Ayran who volunteered at the Law Clinic.  By providing clients with free legal advice he not only made a real difference to people who needed help but weren’t able to afford it, he also gained invaluable experience in advising clients, and resolving disputes.

How can I get involved?

Many people have considered volunteering but are not sure whether it’s for them, or even what they’d like to do.

A brilliant way to find out more about how you can get involved is to go to the Bristol SU Volunteering Fair.  This will be held on Wednesday 9 February from 4:30 – 6:30 in the Anson rooms and will be showcasing lots of local organisations.  You don’t need to be ready for a long term commitment – there will be options for just getting a taster too.

If you can’t make it to the Fair but would like to find out more about local projects then head to the SU’s Skills & Volunteering webpage,  check out what’s happening at Bristol Hub, or take a look at myopportunities run by the Careers Service.

British Heart Foundation have lots of volunteering opportunities available, and if you already know you are looking for an outdoor volunteering role, Step Together are looking for volunteers to assist with their allotment programme and would welcome anyone interested in helping vulnerable young people.

 

We hope that’s provided you with some food for thought, and wish you a very happy Student Volunteering Week!

 

 

Meet our Student Champions

Our Student Champions work with the Student Communications Team to help represent the student voice in creating and sharing content across our main channels.

This year we have nine new faces to introduce to you – if you are interested in working with our Champions or even want to be a Champion in the future, please get in touch with us at student-comms@bristol.ac.uk.

Adam

I am in my second year of International business management at the University of Bristol, where I am involved in helping to run Management, Czech & Slovak and Project talk societies. You can also see me at some of the events in the Global lounge, where I work as an ambassador. I am a passionate photographer with a particular focus on urban architecture and food. I am looking forward to capturing the everyday life of students at the University through the lens of my camera and working within a vibrant team of other creative champions.

Sophia

I am a second-year Criminology student, and now a Student Champion! I am a Student Ambassador and Peer Mentor at the university in addition to being the Head Editor for UBTV society. I am also a member of Dance Society and Criminal Justice Society. I also love to socialise with my friends when I can drag myself away from my desk! Moreover, I am a creative individual who has an enthusiasm for creating content. I work in the marketing and content creation department at Accommodation for Students, and I also create student-based campaigns with Seed Marketing. This experience and passion for creating content for students is what appealed to me about the Student Champion role.  I wanted to be a Student Champion as I understand the importance of creating content that is informative and engaging for students. We see so much every day through social media and via our emails that sometimes it is easy to lose important information. I am looking forward to beginning my role and creating fun, eye-catching and inclusive content for all students at the University of Bristol.

Victoria

I’m excited to come onboard the Student Champions team. I am a Second Year Politics and IR student from Dominican Republic and completed my Foundation Programme on Social Sciences and Law from 2019-2020. I’ve been part of Bristol for the last three years and i’ve been a course rep ever since I began my student life here, I am looking forward to finding new ways to connect and engage our community. There is SO MUCH happening around the University and the city, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or miss out on loads of fun activities, so I’m here to make sure you make the most of your time in Bristol, as well as remind you of all the opportunities offered by the university so you enjoy your student years to the fullest.

Katarzyna (Kat)

I am a second year LLB Law and German student. In my free time, I enjoy debating, dancing and spending time actively outside. I always look for something to get engaged with – whether that is a mooting competition, work experience or a volunteering project. Because of my constant search for new opportunities, I decided to undertake the role of Student Champion and become a part of the Communications team. I very much look forward to collaborating with other students on various campaigns and activities, as well as critically engaging with projects and ideas proposed by the university.

Marvin

I am from Rwanda and am currently studying the Banking and Finance LLM here at the University of Bristol. I am looking forward to being a Student Champion because I know how necessary it is to ensure the student’s voice is well represented to the University and that there is a means for open communication that can result in change where needed. In addition to that, I believe being an international student also gives me an insight on some challenges that may be faced by fellow students and how best they can be resolved through assistance from the university.

Josh

I am in my third year studying Mechanical & Electrical Engineering. I enjoy photography, baking, reading, and watching movies. I am originally from Birmingham and love living in Bristol. I am looking forward to being a Student Champion, as I want to share my university experience with others. I also look forward to getting involved in the university’s various campaigns.

Katy

I’m currently in my third year studying Cancer Biology and Immunology, which is basically just a very fancy way of saying I spend my time looking at the really quite alarming number of things that happen inside a cell! When I’m not looking at my textbook in utter awe and confusion, I spend a lot of time grooving in the Dance Studio with Bristol Dance Soc, where I’m part of the Tap competition team. I’m so excited to get to tell a bit of my story through creating content with the other student champions; from what it’s like to be a woman in STEM, the work we can do to help with decolonisation and diversification at the uni, ways to protect our wellbeing, alongside all the things that make being a student here the so much fun!

Lottie

I’m very excited to start working as a Student Champion! I am a first year student here at the University of Bristol and I study French and Spanish. As well as languages, I also really enjoy playing the trumpet and piano in my spare time and making Youtube videos too! I hope to bring a strong sense of creativity to this role because from a young age, I have always enjoyed being inventive and thinking outside of the box. I believe that communication with students is key and I am determined to think of new ways in which we can transmit messages across our student population in a simple yet impactful manner.

Alessandro

I’m from Indonesia and I’m currently studying MA Film & Television at UOB. I have always been a huge fan of video production & content creation, as well as social media because I see these three things correlated & I could make an impact out of them. These are the reasons why I applied to Student Champions at the first place and as I am already in the team, I am really looking forward to being able to collaboratively & creatively participate in any group or individual work, where I can share my idea, knowledge, and skills with the fellow Student Champions. Furthermore, I’d love to contribute more in sharing the idea of productivity & wellness towards students as I feel this topic is important for students to maintain good mental health despite all the hecticness they need to go through.

Fast Fashion and how students can fight it

Following the holidays, students have loads of new clothes from shopping themselves or as gifts from loved ones. The growing trend of fast fashion sees an increase during the holiday season and is responsible for increased environmental damage due to its cheap and harmful form of manufacturing.

Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.

According to Business Insider, fashion production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions, as much as the European Union. In addition to this, it dries up water sources as it takes up to 20,00 litres of water to make one kilo of cotton. While washing the clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibres into the ocean each year which is the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.

As fast fashion is not designed to last, it results in textile waste as consumers throw out the last seasons clothes with the hope of buying what is trending at the moment. Enormous landfills of discarded clothes then become a reality as it is incredibly difficult for companies to effectively recycle their materials.

What can you do

Fast fashion is attractive to students due to its cheap prices and multiple deals but as global citizens, we have a duty to source sustainable and environmentally friendly options. This can be done by:

  • Recycling clothes that would usually be disposed after the holiday season. You can do this by taking the clothes to Bristol’s Reuse and Recycling Centres or alternatively by leaving it outside your homes or student accommodations in the black recycling box.
  • There is a huge market for reselling items online on websites like De-Pop that would allow students to sell their second-hand clothes.
  • Students can also donate the clothes to charities like OXFAM or clothing banks located in Bristol.
  • To purchase clothes, there are thrift shops found in Bristol that could appeal to students such as:
    • The Vintage Thrift Store (35-37 park street)
    • Sobeys
    • Uncle Sam’s
    • The Magpie

More information on what you can do as a student at the University of Bristol is located on this website:  https://bristolwastecompany.co.uk/clothing-waste/

Written by Student Champion, Marvin Karenzi 

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

 

Reflecting on a year during COVID for World Art Day 2021

In celebration of  World Art Day on 15 April 2021. ResiLife is launching a student competition for all budding artists, photographers and creators. The subject for all entries is to reflect “A year at UOB during COVID-19”.

 

Over the past year, students at the University of Bristol have shown huge resilience through the many different challenges that no one could have anticipated. We would like to celebrate World Art Day by reflecting on 2020 through a student’s eyes, using art to express the resilience shown and many challenges overcome. Thinking about your time here at Bristol this year, we would like your help to capture this and create something spectacular that will last for many years to come. (more…)

Help the university make real change

Flo Ingram, chair of the Education Network, writes about the importance of using your student voice.

What works and what doesn’t?

Making degrees better would be far more difficult without feedback from other students. Without feedback, there is little way to inform the staff who build your programmes, individual units and assessments what works well and what just doesn’t. This is why the National Student Survey (NSS) is so important.

(more…)

My COVID-19 university experience outside of student life

I’m George and I’m studying BSc Politics and International Relations.

What volunteering I’m doing whilst studying

Whilst at university I’m volunteering as a Special Constable with our local police force, Avon and Somerset Police. In this role, I hold the same powers as a regular police officer and patrol alongside them by preventing and detecting crime to help keep the community safe. Engaging with the community through my volunteering has allowed me to engage with the wider community, which is great because I learn something new or exciting about Bristol every day. I volunteer at least 16 hours a month, however I recognise the importance of breaking the study cycle at university so often commit to more hours.

(more…)