“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.


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:



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:


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?

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.

Tis the season to…take a break.

Festive greetings from Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President and the University Management Team.

The holiday season is almost upon us. Although the University closes for Christmas on 21 December, you can still access some of our facilities over the break. Take a look at the services and support available over the holidays.

Merry Bristmas!

Bristol SU Living Room

If you’re staying in Bristol during the holidays, there’s still plenty going on including seasonal activities at the newly launched Bristol SU Living Room taking place from 17 – 20 December. You can also hear more about events taking place in the local area while the University is closed and meet other students who might be staying in Bristol during this time.

Don’t forget to join the UoB Staying in Bristol at Christmas Facebook page. All students are welcome to join and you can find out more about other events such as the Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and a Boxing Day Tour around the historic listed Goldney Gardens and Grotto.

Relax and unwind

The holiday season is the perfect time to take a breather and unwind ahead of the New Year. You don’t need us to tell you about all the benefits of sport and activity; it’s well known how positive an effect it can have on your mental and physical wellbeing. For those staying in Bristol, the indoor sports centre will still be open part of the time together with the Students’ Health Service. You can find out about opening hours here.

Academic support

Ease the pressure of the January exam period by getting clued up on all the academic support and tools available to you on the Study Support pages. Brush up on your revision techniques and exam preparation with these online tutorials; Revision planning, Revision techniques, Exam papers & questions and Exams & Wellbeing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your studies, maybe take some time to reflect on what you think could help you when we reopen. Start a portfolio with Personal Development Planning (PDP) and jot down which areas you feel you could use some guidance on.

See all the Academic Support on offer for you through our Study Support pages.

Many of our services are still open while you’re away from your studies; even during the University closure dates we have study areas open and some of our services running. You can see the opening hours here.

Stay connected

We know that the festive season isn’t easy for everyone so if you want to talk to someone, you will be able to access support via our Residential Life Support Centre, open to all students for urgent issues, whether you live in Uni residences or not. There are also self-help tools to provide support, including Big White Wall.

While students are not officially back until 14 January, the University reopens on 3 January and we’ll be here for you if you have any questions.  You can contact your Personal Tutor, speak to our Information Point and use the libraries and study areas.

From all of us at the University of Bristol, we wish you a restful break. Happy Holidays!

#TisTheSeason 🌟


Tis the season to…be helpful.

If you need to know where to get advice or how to get around campus, drop in to our new Information Point at Senate House and someone from our friendly team will be on hand to point you in the right direction.

Second year English student Olivia Garner has been working at the Information Point since September this year.

Olivia stands in front of the Information Point desk with an iPad in her hands

While Olivia is used to providing information on everything from finance to academic support, this month she’s getting into the festive spirit. So if you want to know who stocks the best mince pies, need advice on how to trim your tree or the best way to wrap a present, the team at the Information Point might 😉 be able to help!*

*Being totally honest, they’re not 100% sure what trimming a tree even means –  better to stick to Bristol questions that they can answer🎄😆

Team of people stood behind Information Point desk
Some of the Information Point team

The Information Point is open in Senate House, Tyndall Avenue, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm during term time.

Although the University closes for Christmas on 21 December, you can still access some of our facilities over the break. Take a look at the services and support available over the holidays.



Tis the season to…come together.

Festive greetings from the Global Lounge Team.

We’re a global community here at the University of Bristol. If you’d like to meet new friends, learn about different cultures and hear out about studying abroad, then keep a look out for events and activities organised by the Global Lounge Team.

Why not come along to their Festive Mingle events next week? You can find out about events taking place in the local area while the University is closed over the holidays and meet other students who might be staying in Bristol. There will also be free tea and coffee, snacks and plenty of festive cheer. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how the holidays are celebrated in many different cultures and share your own traditions with others. The Festive Mingle events are taking place in the Bristol SU Living Room (Senate House, 4th floor) between Monday 17 Dec – Thursday 20 Dec from 12 pm – 2 pm.

Don’t forget, there’s also a Facebook group which you can join to connect with other students and discover what to do in Bristol over the Christmas break. If you’d like to know more about which University buildings are open over the Christmas break and when, take a look here.


Happy Holidays!


Tis the season to…enjoy your city

If you’re staying in Bristol over the holiday period, why not get out, explore and enjoy your city. There is plenty of festive fun taking place and why not join the Facebook group open to all students staying in the city for the holidays.

Here’s our pick of Bristol’s festive offerings.

Get your skates on

Try out your fancy footwork at the Millennium Square ice rink until 7 January. If ice skating isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to enjoy at the Winter Fair with a Christmas Market, Apres Bar and Big Wheel to choose from.

If you prefer your festivities a little more stationary, wrap up warm and head to the We the Curious big screen for free showings of Love Actually (6 December), Gremlins (13 December), the Polar Express (16 December), Elf (23 December) and Home Alone (3 January).

Skating at Millennium Square

Festive fun

If you’re looking for quirky gifts, or just fancy getting into the festive spirit, Bristol has plenty of Christmas markets to choose from.

St Nick’s market will be open every day until Christmas with outdoor markets from Wednesday 12 December.

St Nick’s Market, Bristol

Let it snow

We might not be in for snow on Christmas Day but there’ll be guaranteed snow at Millennium Promenade from 1 to 7 December and again from 15 to 21 December on Corn Street and Clare Street from 5 to 7 pm.

If you’re missing the real thing, take a look at our snowy snaps from earlier this year.

Sparkling lights

We think our city always looks beautiful, but there’s something special about seeing it decked in lights for the holidays. Start at College Green then wander up Park Street to Clifton for those festive feels.

If you’re staying in Bristol, you can  find out about our opening hours during the holidays including study spaces, the Students’ Health Service and the sports facilities.

We know that the festive season isn’t easy for everyone so if you want to talk to someone, you will be able to access support via our Residential Life Support Centre, open to all students for urgent issues, whether you live in Uni residences or not. There are also self-help tools to provide support, including Big White Wall.

And don’t forget, join the University Stay in Bristol Facebook Group listing events and activities taking place over the festive season.


Make yourself at home

Dorothy was on to something – there really is no place like it.

If you’ve been into Senate House lately you’ll have noticed that big changes are happening. The University senior team has moved out to make room for students; there’s a new home for post-graduate researchers in the PGR Hub; there’s new artwork entitled ‘Belonging’ by print artist, The Fandangoe Kid, inspired by workshops with students to explore what belonging means; and next week the Students’ Union opens the ‘Living Room’, to provide central space to relax and connect with each another.

Inspired by Camerados’ public living rooms and mental health research, the SU Living Room is a brand-new central place to relax, connect and have fun at the heart of the campus. Away from lecture theatres and cafes, there’ll be hot water and big sofas, in a space that’s cosy and friendly.

Come to the opening

We’d like to welcome you with open arms at the launch event on Monday 3 December, where you can put your stamp on your new space. Paint a mug to use in the SU Living Room or revamp old t-shirts to create comfy cushions! From Monday, there’ll be a weekly calendar of events until the University closes over Christmas, usually held at around midday. But you can pop by anytime to grab some food, find a quiet place or meet up with friends. The SU Living Room is open 8am-10pm Monday-Friday during term time.

Leave your mark

This is your space and we want you to feel like it’s yours, so tell us what you think – good or bad. Leave a message in the big yellow phone box in the SU Living Room, or email bristolsu-livingroom@bristol.ac.uk.

Get involved

A second artwork created by Annie Nicholson, aka The Fandangoe Kid, and 40 students to explore the meaning of ‘home’ is being installed outside the SU Living room on 11 December. Annie will be in the Living Room from 2.30pm – 3.30pm on 11 December so sign up if you’d like to meet Annie.

The SU Living Room is part of Campus Heart, the University’s programme to create the kind of environment that students have told us they want: welcoming, relaxing, communal and helpful. If you want to get involved in making future decisions about what we do in Campus Heart Sign up to get involved.

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