Monday, 24 September 2012

Hello from Nick your Vice-President Student Actvities

Hi Reading students,
I’m Nick your elected Student’s Union Vice-President for Student Activities. A bit of a mouthful I know but this basically means I work with the elected student committees to get the voices of societies, sports clubs and our various volunteers heard and to effect positive changes for those groups.

I’m looking forward to having a successful year working with all our great teams, societies and volunteer programmes to ensure that Reading really is a brilliant place for students to be.

With the explanation out of the way; I hope everyone has been enjoying their holidays and congrats to all those new students who are joining us in a weeks’ time.

We have a great Freshers’ week planned with both our societies and sports clubs working very hard to ensure Freshers’ Fayre will be amazing! So if you have a hobby, a talent, play a sport or just want to try something new, get excited, because you will be spoilt for choice here at Reading.

I will be out and about during most of Freshers’ week, so if you want to have a chat please, keep an eye out for me.

Whether you are a new or returning student, if you want to try out some of the activities before you join, we have a great list of taster sessions you can get involved with. Take a look at our Student Activities Guide to find when and where they are taking place.

Other things the Student Activities team have been working on during the Summer include:

We have begun planning our Sports Varsity 2013 against our neighbours and rivals Oxford Brookes. This year it takes place at their campus in Oxford, which gives us the chance to beat them on their home turf and bring home the glory. Look out for more information on this later in the year, as we build up the Varsity fever.

RUSU Rewards and Recognition Scheme
Our societies have worked hard over the last year to secure reward and recognition points. These points highlight those who really have gone that extra mile for their members. The RUSU Activities and Design teams have worked together to design a new logo based upon a 5-1 star rating system that societies can use as a stamp, to display their level of excellence. The results from last year will be on show at Freshers’ Fayre and each society will have their star rating on display. So get excited because 2012/13 will be a year that will truly recognise achievement.

Reading Knights
I am pleased to announce that the Reading Knights brand that covers all our Sports teams, has continued to progress. We have tweaked the logo to include the Reading name. So this year people won’t only know who we are but where we’re from. I’m sure other Uni teams across the country will be worried when they see a fixture against the Reading Knights!

Look out for our new Reading Knights banner at the Whiteknights Campus entrance when you arrive for the new term! Also, check out the new Facebook page ‘Reading University Sport’ for all the updates on Reading Knights fixtures and results.

The Student Officer team and I recently volunteered down at a local Charity Garden called the Ridgeline Trust. The garden helps people with mental health problems and physical disabilities recover and relax. Volunteering is a great way to spend your spare time at Uni and enables you to give something meaningful to others. If you are interested in getting involved in our many Volunteering opportunities over the year please get in contact with me or Emily Shaw our Societies and Volunteering Coordinator.


'Raising And Giving' is back again this year. It is a student run group designed to raise as much money for charity as possible. Keep an eye out for their events over the year and support them in whatever way you can. We want to help RAG raise a large amount for charity this year to show how much students care. If you want to get involved with RAG then please contact me or Emily Shaw.

Peace Out
I hope this update has been useful and you are all as excited as us for Freshers’ Week and the new  term. I’ve got a feeling 2012/13 will be an amazing year for Reading Students and Reading Student Activities.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Cook
VP Student Activities

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Part-time International Officer Ushana, on arriving in Reading for the first time

Apa Khabar? ('How are you' in Malaysian)
I’m Ushana Gamany, RUSU's International Students’ Officer.

I’m a second year Law student from Malaysia. I’d like to share my experience of being here at Reading, so you know how amazing the University of Reading is!

When I came to here one year ago, it was the first time I had been to the UK and I had come alone.

However, I wasn’t worried….. well up until I was on the plane. That’s when everything began to sink in. I’m going to a place 7,000 miles away from home, I’m all alone, what if something happens? Who do I turn to and will I be lucky and meet lots of people as I always have or will everyone be different and I just won’t make any friends.

I was terrified for a while and it didn’t help when I arrived at my Hall of Residence.The first night I was scared but also excited.

The first day started a bit badly with me having no food and not really sure how to use the shower… yes I know what you’re thinking “What an idiot!”. Oh well I have my moments. Anyway,I went to the Carrington building at 8.30am and there was literally no one on the University grounds. I was starting to wonder if I was in the right place until more students started showing up. Registration went smoothly and I met a few students doing the same thing.

Then in the afternoon we went on a tour of the campus and town. There were friendly faces everywhere and all of us on the tour got to know each other. That night was Bollywood night and I went out with my flat mates and we just “clicked”. Everything fell in place after that and I never felt alone again.

I was really lucky to find such amazing friends. There was Alex from Moldova, Carlos from Chile, Joris from France, Carsten from Germany, Mihai from Romania, Joe Sun from Malaysia, Mike from China, Lara and Helena from Spain, Cathy from London, Jack and Jack from somewhere else in the UK (haha) and Alice from Italy.

Before going to University I already had an interest in being involved in a Students' Union as we didn’t have them in Malaysia as they have been illegal since 1971. I talked to the VP of Academic Affairs, Alex Slater, and he told me I could get involved by becoming a Course Rep and he was very supportive of my interest.

Not long after that, I stood for elections and got elected as 1 of the 3 First Year Law Course Reps. It was an enriching experience as I got to meet students and talk to them about their issues on the course. Then I would discuss these issues and voice these opinions at staff student liaison committees and sat on the Board of Studies Meetings at the Law School. I got to meet all the lecturers and at these meetings I didn’t feel like an inferior but rather an equal. It was a very different experience than I was used to with teachers back home.

I had also decided to join the Boat Club, Mountaineering Club, Caving Club, and the Law Society. Due to time constraints I ended up doing a little bit of each of it. However, I don’t regret it as I now know what societies and clubs I’m interested in joining and I’ve tried everything I wanted to try (almost). So I’ve decided to go with Mountaineering in my second year.

I had an amazing first year. I may not have gone to as many parties as some of my friends but I did get to do a lot of things and had fun during every single moment of the last year!

There are opportunities everywhere at the University, friends to make and people to meet at every corner. You need only take a small step and talk to someone. In my experience most people have been very friendly and helpful. Everywhere you turn there’ll be helpful people. It’s not very hard to find something you’re interested or passionate about either. It’s rare that you can’t find  a society that you like and if it there isn't, I’m sure you’ll find people who share your interests, so why not start a society yourself?

I have to say, some of my best memories and some of my closest friends are from Reading University. It truly has been an amazing year.

My advice to you is to be open to new experiences and to meeting new people. It will really open up your mind to new perspectives.

My main goal this year is to improve integration between home and international (includes EU) students and I will be running various campaigns to further this goal.

So if you have any problems whether it's getting lost on campus, housing issues, dealing with racism or just not coping that well with life, I am here to help. That’s what I’m here for, to help YOU. It doesn’t matter how small or big your problem is.

So feel free to email me at or drop into the Students' Union Reception and ask for me.

Ushana Gamany
International Part-time Officer

2nd Year Law Student

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A Few Handy Safety Tips

Hi to all our Reading Freshers' and Returning students,

The RUSU Student Officers can’t wait to meet all our new Freshers' during Freshers’ Week and welcome back our Returning students for the Autumn Term.

This is an important time to remind you to keep your belongings safe while you are here. Criminals can target students and student properties because they know each one is likely to store a treasure trove of laptops, ipods, ipads etc.

Our friendly local police service the Thames Valley Police, has created a great list of things to remember, to help protect yourself and your property.
  • Close it and lock it - don’t give burglars a helping hand. Make sure you lock your doors, rooms and windows when leaving your property
  • Be smart – mark your laptops and cameras etc with security markers
  • Immobilise – register all your valuables online to help catch thieves and keep a list of the make, model and serial numbers of your electronic items
  • Don’t be a show off – keep valuables like laptops, mobile phones, ipods and expensive jewellery out of display in your home, car and when you are walking around
  • Plan – your journeys - if you are going out, make sure you tell a friend. Don’t take short cuts and only use licensed taxis
  • Never walk alone – walk with friends and in groups. Don’t make yourself more vulnerable
  • Drink aware – enjoy your drink responsibly. Don’t leave your drink unattended and never accept drinks from strangers
  • Don’t flash it – be wary around cash points
  • Stay alert – if you see someone hanging around outside your house or halls, ask them who they are and be careful of letting others follow you into your building
  • Shred – your personal documents before you bin them
Don't let this all worry you, but do make sure that you do all you possibly can to keep safe.

Our brand new 'Pay Later' Taxi scheme is also a great way to make sure you get home safely without having to worry about money after a long night out.

We are really excited about seeing you all in less than 3 weeks’ time and if you have any questions on Welfare then please do not hesitate to contact me!!

VP Welfare and Representation