Food Waste Action Week Challenge – Adam

The Challenge: To prepare three meals a day for the next five days on a budget of no more than £15.

Hi, I am Adam, and I normally spend around £30 on groceries a week. This challenge meant that I had to reduce that to half. Probably the best piece of advice to start with is planning. A meal plan with a shopping list makes the whole process much more efficient. It minimises the number of times you need to go shopping, reduces the time you spend there, prevents you from buying unnecessary things, and helps you save money. You will also not have any leftovers that you would have to throw away.

Every Sunday, therefore, I try to plan my weekly meal plan. With this challenge, it was basically essential.

Once the plan was done, I wrote down things I needed. For the list, I use the NOSH book app. I genuinely recommend buying a cookbook as it really helps with ideas on what to cook. NOSH is also very student-friendly, and it comes with an app in which you can browse recipes and automatically add everything to a shopping list. The ‘Broke but hungry’ chapter of this book with affordable recipes was particularly useful for this challenge.

With the shopping list done, it was time to head to Sainsbury’s to do the shopping. My tip here is to use their Smart Shopping app that not only makes the shopping more efficient because you can scan as you go with your phone, but it also helps you to save money as you get some personalised discounts with your Nectar account.

When shopping, my tip would be to look for reduced stuff. Things like bread that can be frozen can often come at a fraction of the price. Another tip is to look at the bottom shelf for cheaper brands or own-label products. Marketers often put the products that are premium or have the highest margin on the eye level, leaving the more affordable brands at the bottom. Also, fresh vegetables can be quite expensive so look out for the Imperfectly tasty series that is more affordable.

<-This is what my shopping looked like at the end.

Note: As I was not able to use any things I had at home, I had to include the cost of things like oil, salt, curry powder, pasta and rice – things that last for longer once you buy them so shall I continue the challenge the next week, I could buy more different products.

With the shopping done, it was time to start cooking.

Day 1

Breakfast

SUPER QUICK PORRIDGE

Ingredients: Milk, Oats, Peanut butter, Banana

1.     Combine some milk and oats, and simmer until it thickens. Remove from heat.

2.     Add sliced banana, a spoon or two of peanut butter, and your breakfast is ready. You could use plant-based milk too!

Lunch

POTATO HASH

Ingredients: 4 medium diced potatoes, 400g baked beans, Oil, Cheddar cheese, Ketchup (optional)

1.     Put the potatoes in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain, return to the pan and squash them a little with a fork. Do not mash them.

2.     Stir in the beans.

3.     Heat some oil in a frying pan and tip the mixture in. Don’t stir, allow it to dry and brown on the bottom. Once browned, using a spatula, stir all the browned bits up from the bottom, leave again to allow the rest to brown. Stir in the browned bits again.

4.     Serve with some cheese on top and optionally add ketchup.

Dinner

FRIED RICE

Ingredients: a mug of rice, 4 eggs, 3 chopped spring onions, half of the pepper, chopped carrot, soya sauce

  1. Cook rice and let it cool.
  2. In a wok, heat some oil and on high heat stir-fry 2 spring onions, carrot, and pepper for 2 minutes.
  3. Add rice and stir-fry for another minute.
  4. In the meantime, fry eggs in a separate pan.
  5. Add soya sauce to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  6. Serve the rice and put the fried eggs on the top. Add some finely chopped onion on top. You can add some more soya sauce if needed.

Day 2:

Breakfast:

CHEESE ON TOAST WITH TOMATO

  1. Put some slices of cheese on to bread and put in the oven.
  2. Allow to melt
  3. Add some fresh tomato and spring onion on top

Lunch:

POTATO HASH LEFTOVERS

Dinner:

FRIED RICE LEFTOVERS

Day 3:

Breakfast:

SUPER QUICK PORRIDGE

Lunch:

CHANNA DHAL

Ingredients: Oil, 1 onion, finely chopped, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, Freshly grated ginger, ½ teaspoon, Curry powder, ½ x 400g can tomatoes, 2 tablespoons coconut milk, 400 g tin of chickpeas

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions and garlic until they begin to brown. Stir frequently. Once brown, add the ginger and curry powder. Cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.

Note: the leftover coconut milk can be used to make some sauce

Dinner:

CHANNA DHAL LEFTOVERS

Day 4:

Breakfast:

TOAST, CHEESE, TOMATO

This was the same as before, but I added two fried eggs.

 

Lunch:

CREAM CHEESE PASTA

Ingredients: 300g of spaghetti, Cream cheese, ½ of 400g tin of tomatoes, Broccoli, Cheese, grated

  1. Put the pasta on the cook.
  2. Boil broccoli until soft.
  3. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the cream cheese, tomatoes, and cheese. Season with salt. Simmer until it thickens and combines.
  4. Add broccoli to the sauce and squash it a little.
  5. Add pasta and toss.
  6. Serve with some grated cheese on top.

Dinner:

CHANNA DHAL LEFTOVERS

Day 5:

Breakfast:

SHAKSHUKA

Ingredients: Oil, Onion, chopped, ½ of 400g tin tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, finely chopped, 2 eggs, ½ of pepper, chopped

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan put onion, pepper and garlic and cook until soft.
  2. Add tomatoes and stir until thickens.
  3. With a large spoon, make 2 dips in the sauce and crack an egg into each one.
  4. Put on a lid and cook for 6-8 mins on low heat.
  5. Serve with a toast.

Lunch:

CREAM CHEESE PASTA LEFTOVERS

Dinner:

CREAM CHEESE PASTA LEFTOVERS

Conclusion

I was positively surprised how much I could buy and how many dishes I could make while sticking to £15. Most importantly, at the end of the week, I was left with almost no leftovers which was the idea of the whole project. Utilising the things we have and not throwing out anything.

Written by Adam Balazi, Student Champion

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 😊 

National Student Money Week – 21 to 25 February 2022

Does managing your money feel daunting? It doesn’t have to be if you develop skills and adopt easy ways to spend in a more sustainable way.

Plan your meals

Remember, yellow stickers are your friends!

Did you know….?

…that the University’s catering service also offers a food waste option where you can get your hands on quality, fresh food for low prices and do your bit to reduce food waste at the same time. We have joined ‘Too Good to Go’, an app that lets customers rescue unsold food at reduced cost and save it from going to waste. So far, this has helped us reduce our waste – saving 1092 meals from landfill and reduced our carbon emissions by 2.73 tonnes.

You can find a food swap pop-up at Senate House on 10 March too – as part of Food Waste Action Week.

Make better choices

Fashion

  • Buy less and buy better – move away from fast-fashion and invest in good quality sustainable brands that will last longer.
  • Read student Marvin Karenzi’s post about what you can do to fight fast fashion.
  • Head to Park Street for charity shops and reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe. Have a look at a Guide to Vintage Shopping in Bristol by Beyond Retro.
  • Move away from false-economy. Buying a cheap white t-shirt a dozen times is not as cost effective as spending a little more on a quality t-shire that lasts a long time.

Make a change

Travel

What else could you do?

We’re sure you have other ideas so why join the discussion about sustainable spending on social media using #nsmw22.

Useful info

If you run into difficulties you may want to read our money saving tips. If you’re experiencing financial hardship we have some emergency funding options that may be able to help.   Find out more about keeping on top of your finances and financial wellbeing.  You can also check out these useful websites: Moneyhelper  and MoneySavingExpert’s tips for students.

Portrait image of Professor Sharon Collard
Professor Sharon Collard, Personal Finance Research Centre

Professor Sharon Collard, Chair in Personal Finance from our Personal Finance Research Centre, said: “Research shows people who feel on top of their finances are much more likely to be satisfied with life, so it really does pay in more ways than one to look after your budget. Financial wellbeing isn’t just about how much money you have, but how you manage it daily, plan for the future, and create some contingency for the unexpected.  

“Although it may be tempting to put money issues to the back of your mind, tackling them proactively and seeking out advice will help ease the worry and put you back in control. With the rising cost of living, affecting food, energy and fuel prices in particular, it’s even more important to be budget-savvy, reaching out for guidance and support when needed.”

Remember if you have any funding enquiries or money worries the Student Funding Office is here to help. You can email us at student-funding@bristol.ac.uk or call Student Services on 0117 428 3000 to book an appointment with a Student Funding Adviser.

LGBT History Month – A History of LGBT Representation in TV/Film

For many LGBTQ+ people, representation can help them to come to terms with their gender/sexuality and so it is important that positive representation exists in media. However historically, LGBTQ+ representation in film and TV has been lacking, with many characters conforming to stereotypes or enduring cruel fates.

With the introduction of the ‘Hays Code’ in the USA in 1934, LGBTQ+ characters were prohibited from appearing in film. Though homosexuality was never specifically mentioned, the law stated that movies must not “lower the moral standards of those who see [them]” – and at the time being LGBTQ+ was considered immoral. These were lifted in 1968, but this still left three decades with the only representation being queer-coded villains.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Following the lifting of the ‘Hays Code’ and the Stonewall Riots of 1969, came the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975. The musical featured an array of LGBTQ+ characters and introduced some much-needed positive representation. The 1980s unfortunately worsened the stigma around LGBTQ+ people due to the AIDs crisis. Nevertheless, in 1985 Desert Hearts was released, which is regarded as the first mainstream lesbian film with a happy ending.

In 1988, Margaret Thatcher introduced ‘Section 28’ in the UK – a law that prohibited “promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality” within schools – which wasn’t abolished until 2003. This meant for many people in the 90’s, TV was the only place they could go to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. 1989 brought the first gay kiss on UK television in an episode of Eastenders, which was unfortunately followed by a slew of homophobic backlash. In 1997, Ellen became the first American show to feature a gay lead character, after star Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian. In the UK, Queer as Folk aired in 1999 on Channel 4, which followed a group of out gay men in Manchester – and depicted the LGBTQ+ community as vibrant and alive. Other shows such as Will & Grace and Buffy the Vampire Slayer began featuring recurring LGBTQ+ characters.

Sense8 – Nomi & Amanita

In recent years, there have been numerous great examples of representation within cinema. In 2017, Moonlight was the first LGBTQ+ movie (and first with an all-black cast) to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Love, Simon (2018) is regarded as the first movie by a major Hollywood studio to feature a gay lead character. In the world of Superheroes, Marvel introduced theirfirst gay superhero in 2021 in Eternals –  whom director Chloé Zhao refused to censor from the film for foreign markets.

When it comes to television, Netflix’s Sense8 (2015-2018) featured several healthy LGBTQ+ relationships. In 2017, Bojack Horseman character Todd Chavez came out as asexual – and was the only asexual character in streaming in 2018 [GLADD]. Supergirl on the CW introduced us to DC’s first trans superhero with Dreamer, who featured as a major character for the final 3 seasons. In 2020, It’s A Sin shone a light on what it was like to live through the AIDs crisis in the UK.

Owl HouseEven children’s television is starting to gain more representation. DreamWorks’ She-Ra and the Princesses of Power featured a lesbian romance between lead characters, as well as a parental gay couple. Disney’s The Owl House features lesbian, asexual, bisexual, and non-binary lead and recurring characters. On Cartoon Network, Steven Universe features various LGBTQ+ characters and often combats gender stereotypes. This kind of representation being shown to children is so important, both for young LGBTQ+ people to be able to see that being LGBTQ+ is okay, and for non-LGBTQ+ children, as it normalises it and makes it easier for them to become good allies.

Since 2005, GLAAD has published an annual report to show how representation is changing in TV. In the 2005-2006 season, 1.4% of regular characters on broadcast primetime shows were LGBTQ+, whilst in 2020-2021, the figure was up to 9.1% – and over half of these characters were people of colour. It is important to remember though that more can be done – the most recent study found that 20% of these LGBTQ+ characters appeared in a series created by just 1 of 4 TV producers.

All in all, it is amazing to see how far representation has improved – particularly over the past 20 years – and hopefully, this trend will continue until there is consistent representation of everyone throughout the film and TV industries.

To end, I thought I’d provide a list of some other shows with great LGBTQ+ relationships and/or characters:

  • Schitt’s Creek
  • The Haunting of Bly Manor
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Love, Victor
  • Pose

Written by Joshua Littleford, Student Champion

Easy Meal Prepping Ideas

I wanted to give you a few ideas on how to keep up with eating healthy. Whether you’ve done a New Year’s resolution and have declared 2022 YOUR year, or just need motivation to actually eat substantial meals, I hope these recipes help you stay nutritious and full. In honour of Veganuary last month, there will also be options for making these meals vegan, since the vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to stay in January. Including some vegan meals in your everyday diet can have many benefits, like preventing diabetes, ingesting more nutrients, and reducing the risk of diseases. Below, I’ll link videos that take you to the preparation of these meals, and you can find the list of ingredients and description of these meals within this blog.

Breakfast ideas!

Overnight Oats (Click here to watch a preparation video).

You’ve probably heard about this a million times, but when I tell you I am addicted, I am not kidding. This meal is very handy for when you just have to run out of the house or want to get a head start to your day with breakfast already made. Overnight oats are also healthier than regular oats because nutrients and fibre are higher in rolled oats as compared to instant oats, which are the general go-to choice. Also, because the oats aren’t cooked, the nutrients remain and make the oat more filling.

So… what do you need? These are the must-use ingredients.

  1. Oats (I know, shocker). But choose rolled oats over quick oats for better consistency and more health values.
  2. Milk. Plant-based milk or dairy milk works fine, so make it vegan if you wish!
  3. Yoghurt. I like adding it for consistency, creaminess, and that extra boost of protein. Plant-based or Greek yoghurt are my personal favourites.

And then, you can get creative! This breakfast is so dynamic and easy to mix and match, which makes it hard to get bored of. My favourite add-ons are:

  1. Sweeteners: Honey or maple syrup if you want to make it vegan! Oats tend to have a bit of a bland taste, so this makes them pop a little. Cinnamon is also a good one!
  2. You can literally add any fruits you want, but I personally love strawberries and blueberries, and bananas. Or banana chips to give it a crunchy feel.
  3. Jams and spreads. I like adding these because they mix well within the oats and makes them very tasty.
  4. And I mean it, nuts, chia seeds, almonds, nutmeg, anything you want to throw in there.

Some of my favourite combinations are:

  • Nutella and Bananas with Almonds: Maybe not the most nutritious, healthy, option, but a great treat to sweeten up the start of your day.
  • Strawberry and Peanut Butter: I counter the peanut butter taste with some strawberry jam and also dice some strawberry bits in there.
  • Blueberries and cinnamon: The cinnamon taste is so different to the blueberry, that there is something interesting about having them clash together and it’s so good!

Breakfast burrito (Click here to watch the preparation video)

So, with this one, you can either make it ahead or make it on the spot, whichever works for you and your time management. These burritos have a good balance and are a savoury meal to start the day with all the necessary nutrients you’ll need to function at high capacity.

You will need:

  1. A tortilla or wrap. Very straightforward, you need something to wrap the ingredients in.
  2. Scrambled something. You can use eggs or tofu as a substitute, and season to your liking. I personally like pairing with veggies like tomatoes and mushrooms and some onions.
  3. Breakfast sausages. Meat or vegan sausages, cook these on their own and cut them into bits to add to your wrap.

You can also add cheese, any sauces you like, breakfast baked potatoes, anything you fancy.

Lunch and Dinner ideas!

This category I’m putting together because I realise that sometimes these meals can be interchangeable or be one in two, like an early dinner or late lunch so here go three options for you! I’ll refrain from the general spaghetti and rice meals that we all have as our go-to’s and share some other options.

Stir fry noodles (Click here to watch the preparation video).

How about, instead of getting takeout, you make your own? You can easily get ingredients, sometimes precooked, and whip out a meal quicker than it takes the delivery to reach your place.

There are a lot of optional ingredients here like sauces, spices, etc., but these are the non-negotiables.

  • Noodles. I personally love egg noodles, but substitute for rice noodles to make it vegan!
  • Keep it a balanced meal by adding veggies. You can get precooked once at most supermarkets or chop up any of your liking to throw in there. I personally like broccoli, carrots, and courgettes with my noodles.
  • The protein. You can add pork chop or chicken, make it veggie by scrambling an egg in there and make it vegan by going with tofu or plant-based chops or mince.

Making loads of this in one go can save you some meal prepping time, store in the fridge and eat sometime in the next 5 days.

Rice or salad bowls. (Click here to watch the preparation video).

This is another idea that has so many ways of being made and can be very filling and nutritious. Just know, there are no limits to this idea.

  1. Salmon or Chicken bowl. Protein is very important, so add one of these options or change for eggs if you want to make it veggie. The three options of protein already give you an option to have three different bowls, brilliant! And a fourth vegan option, tofu, or legumes such as lentils.
  2. The Carbs. The carbs will make you feel fuller. You can go with rice, which can be high in fibre like brown rice or in proteins like wild rice. You can also substitute for couscous or quinoa or keep it veggie and use lettuce and spinach to make it a salad bowl instead.
  3. Again, get creative! Anything goes in this bowl, as long as you think it tastes nice.

These are my two-favourite bowls:

  • Rice Bowl: Salmon with wild rice, with a hint of lime. Include avocado, black beans, chickpea, and corn.
  • Salad Bowl: Lettuce and spinach as the base, topped with plant-based mince marinated in Cajun sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and aubergine.

Quesadilla Pizza (Click here to watch the preparation video).

This one is super-duper easy, and fun to make as well. You can add as many things as you want, or as little as you want. This is the only non-negotiable.

  • You need at least two, because one will be the base, and then you’ll put another on top.

That’s it. Add tomato sauce, cheese, meat, plant-based chops, tofu, olives, tomatoes, corn, cream cheese, pesto, whatever you feel like. The concept here is like you’re making a loaded quesadilla with a pizza shape. I like adding cheese on the top layer and using the first tortilla for spreads, veggies, and whatever protein source. This means the ingredients are held together by the two tortillas and the cheese melts on top.

Simple snackies!

Lastly, here are a few snack ideas that need no hard preparation and can be a good idea to have in your bag in case your day runs over, or you get a craving.

Hummus and whatever.

Literally whatever, hummus is so good with baby carrots, breadsticks (a personal favourite) crackers, pita, celery, etc. I saw someone eat it with a pickle outside the ASS the other day, so maybe there’s something to try.

Cheese and crackers

Cut some cheese pieces and pair with crackers, salted, plain, black pepper, any type. For example, as I write this, I’m munching on some garlic crackers with mature cheese slices.

Fruit Bowl

As someone who goes to the gym before studying, I tend to crave something refreshing. And yes, I shower at the gym so I’m not smelly next to other students, don’t worry. Anyways, I like cutting up some apples, oranges, and grapes, and adding some vanilla yoghurt to eat as a snack before I get cracking with work.

And there you have it! Some ideas to stay healthy and kick start eating nutritiously. Many times, when uni gets overwhelming, we forget to take care of ourselves, so making sure you’re eating the nutrients and proteins you need is essential for keeping up your performance and maintaining your wellbeing. All these recipes have vegan alternatives, which makes every recipe at least two meals if you think about it! Switching up ingredients and alternating can make eating fun and something to look forward to and motivate you to cook which will ensure you eat healthier and save money. What’s not to love?

Written by Victoria Cornelio Diaz, Student Champion

Valentines Tips

As part of Valentine’s week, I would like to share some tips on spending this special day of the year.

Start your day with a special homemade breakfast.

Is there a better way to start a day than by having some delicious breakfast? And what about breakfast in bed? Of course, you could go for a lovely brunch at many of Bristol’s fantastic restaurants, but if you want to make this day special, surprise your other half with some homemade pancakes or French toast. You could try these simple recipes, top it with some cream and strawberries, and enjoy this wonderful breakfast from the comfort of your bed.

Go for a romantic stroll.

Bristol offers some fantastic places for walks. Some of the most popular include St George Park, Brandon Hill, and Leigh Woods. A walk is not only great for mental health, but it’s also an excellent way to catch up away from your phones laptops. It is also one of few free things that you can do in Bristol for Valentine’s day, so take your loved one and explore the beauty of Bristol’s nature together.

Recreate your favourite date

Why not revive the memories from your favourite date? Whether it was your first date or the one you just really enjoyed. That restaurant with dim lights and weird food that somehow became a favourite place in your mind. It can also be a nice way to reflect on your memories together.

Bristol Aquarium

If you fancy experiencing something less usual, the Bristol Aquarium has all the sea life lovers covered. You will have a chance to see a range of unique creatures that emerge only after the closing hour. If you want to surprise your loved one, there is an option to have a bottle with a secret message sank into the giant aquarium. This will be retrieved, and you can read the message to each other.

Cook a dinner together

While many of us find this activity more of a necessity, cooking together can be great fun. So why not put together your cooking skills and prepare something special for the night. Decorate the room with some candles, dress up and enjoy the meal you have cooked together.

Or enjoy dinner at many of the fantastic restaurants.

If you don’t feel like cooking, head to one of the many fantastic restaurants in the city. Fancy some Indian Kari? Italian Pasta? Japanese sushi or something Persian? Bristol has you covered. Check out the options online, and don’t forget to make a reservation.

Go to a theatre

If you are searching for some unique gift, look no further. Bristol Hippodrome is one of the largest stages in the UK, becoming known as Bristol’s West End Theatre. With relatively affordable tickets, you can see all kinds of different performances, including the Lion King, the musical by Queen and many others.

Hot chocolate

You can hardly go wrong with this one. A nice warm cup of hot chocolate makes happy most of us. Bristol has to offer a few places where you could get one.

Written by Adam Balazi, Student Champion

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 

Veganuary

Did you know the first animal-free cookery book, Kitchen Philosophy for Vegetarians, was published in England in 1849 by William Horsell of London and the first cookery book to use the new word ‘vegan’ in its title was Fay K. Henderson’s Vegan Recipes pub?

 

 

For many people the start of the new year means setting resolutions and goals for the next 12 months, whether that is to read more books, drink more water or take up a new hobby. Since 2014, however, many have been taking on a different challenge, Veganuary.

Veganuary is a month-long challenge during which participants give up animal products for 31 days. No milk, no cheese, no eggs, no meat, no chocolate. Sounds like no fun, right? Wrong. Since it was launched eight years ago Veganuary has only grown in popularity; 400,000 people took the pledge in 2020, this increased to a whopping 582,000 in 2021.

In 2019, the Vegan Society estimated that 600,000 adults, or just over 1% of the population, were vegan and market research group Kantar said last year that 1.9% of households include at least one vegan.

So, what is the difference between vegan and plant-based?

 The term plant-based is often included in the same conversations as veganism, but the two aren’t to be conflated. Both terms mean different things to different people, but the consensus is that being plant-based is solely about diet whereas veganism is about ethics.

For a plant-based individual the percentage of plant-based meals you eat can vary, you can be 100% plant based or mostly plant-based. Whereas with veganism you are either in or you’re out, you can’t be 20% vegan. There are also some issues that vegans can have differing opinions on such as pet ownership, zoos/aquaria, eating figs, honey, wearing wool/leather/silk (even if second-hand), medical treatments etc. Confusingly many vegans actually chose to use to refer to themselves as plant-based to separate themselves from controversial or preachy vegan figures.

 

 

Is it hard to be vegan?

 Veganism, like any new habit, can take a while to get used to and slip-ups can happen. But the important thing is not to put any unnecessary pressure on yourself and put your health at the forefront. If the vegan/plant-based diet doesn’t agree with your body or it starts to encourage dangerous restrictive eating patterns, it is okay to stop.

With that being said, vegan food is so readily available in the UK and in Bristol in particular, that you don’t need to miss out on your favourite meals, snacks or recipes.

Did you know that the University of Bristol has been ranked #2 by Veganuary as one of the most vegan-friendly universities?

Where do you get your protein?

This question is perhaps the most likely to elicit an eye-roll from anyone who does not eat meat, it is up there with “would you eat an animal if you were stranded on a desert island?”.

Nobody has denied that products such as eggs, beef, chicken, offal have high levels of protein, it just seems that people have not been taught that beans and vegetables also have high levels of protein. Some of the largest and strongest animals on earth are herbivores, just look at rhinos, gorillas, and elephants.

Each meat-eating individual eats over 10,000 animals (including fish) over the course of their lifetimes.

So, is veganism worth it?

Some say yes, some say no. It totally depends on the individual.

But if you are interested in taking part in Veganuary this year or in subsequent years, or just want to try new foods, our Source Cafes have a wide range of food offerings to cater to all tastes from salads and sandwiches to smoothies and pizza.