Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Staying Safe in Winter… Some Helpful Hints

Winter is well on its way, and the mornings and evenings are getting darker – this means a few added dangers when travelling. Here are a few simple tips that will help you stay safe this winter.

Safety for Cyclists

Darker mornings and evenings mean decreased visibility, and so for your own safety and that of those around you it is vital that you are easy to spot in the dark!

By law you must ensure that you have front and back lights on your bicycle when cycling in the dark. This ensures not only that other vehicles can see you more clearly, but also pedestrians when you are using shared paths. You can buy a set of lights for your bike in Whiteknights House or from Security Services online for just £7.

Wearing a Hi Vis vest is also a great way to make sure that you are visible to other road users when cycling in the dark. These can also be purchased online for £2 from Security Services, and are available for collection in Whiteknights House.

Remember that when you are dealing with decreased visibility or difficult weather conditions, it can help to slow down and take a little bit more time than usual to make sure you are fully aware of what is going on around you.

Personal Safety

If you find yourself having to walk in the dark, try your best to stick to well-lit areas and avoid isolated spots. If possible, arrange to travel with a friend, or let your friends know where you are going and what time you expect to be back home.

Remember that having headphones in will restrict your senses and make it more difficult to notice traffic and other people around you.

Chaperone Services

The University occupies a very large space, and there may be times where you feel vulnerable working or studying at night. There are two kinds of chaperone service available for you to book if you will be walking alone on campus at night and would like some extra reassurance.

Hawk Eye Chaperone: When booked, Security will be able to watch over your journey on campus with CCTV. You can contact them at the beginning and end of your journey to confirm that you have reached your destination safely. To find out more about the service and to book, click here.

Personal Chaperone: When booking a chaperone, security will decide with you whether it would be best to use the Hawk Eye Chaperone service, or have a personal chaperone. When you have booked a personal chaperone, security will give an approximate time to meet and will walk you to your destination or accompany you by vehicle, depending on your destination. Click here to find out more and book.

If you wish to use the service or need further advice please call security on 0118 378 7799


A message from your RUSU Officers for Welfare (Dan Bentley) and Diversity (Nozomi Tolworthy) and Deans for Diversity & Inclusion (Simon Chandler-Wilde and Ellie Highwood).

The University and Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) are committed to ensuring an inclusive, supportive and respectful environment for all. As set out in our Student Charter, we believe any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination is never ok.

This week, to coincide with national Anti-Bullying Awareness Week, we’re launching a new joint campaign: #NeverOk

Our aim is to highlight our commitment to inclusivity and raise awareness of the types of behaviours that we do not tolerate. Research by Universities UK found that unfortunately incidents such as harassment and hate crime do occur at universities, but students and staff are not always aware of what constitutes such an incident or how to access support.

You can get involved by visiting RUSU this week and picking up a #NeverOK card to keep in your wallet and chatting to your RUSU Officers about your thoughts or experiences of these issues.

We are also running a substantial trial of 20 interactive workshops by the Good Lad Initiative, with RUSU sports societies, JCR representatives, and first year students in one of our Schools. These sessions are aimed at promoting positive behaviour in complex group situations, within the campus and socially, and helping people to be active bystanders.

We’ve updated our policy, procedures, and reporting routes for students, as well as providing additional support from our new University team of Welfare Officers. Find out more at:

We hope this will be the start of a conversation with you and there will be further activities throughout the year for you to get involved.

As the campaign evolves we would very much welcome feedback. Please contact Simon Chandler-Wilde, Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, or Nozomi Tolworthy, RUSU Diversity Officer, with any comments, queries or suggestions.

Thank you for your support,

Dan, Nozomi, Simon and Ellie

Library Refurbishment: Lift Stairs Demolition

Our Library building refurbishment has now progressed to preparing to demolish the stairs behind the lifts, with actual demolition planned for January 2019. We will be installing acoustic partitions to reduce the volume of noise generated by these works, but you may still experience noise when using the building. We’ve provided some  advice here on how you can still get to upper Library floors; find books moved during this work; and find alternative, quieter study space.

How do I get to upper floors?

Although the stairs behind the lifts will be out of use, you will still be able to use at least two of these existing lifts  until the new lifts are ready. The big central staircase leading up from the main hall will remain open with other stairs around the edges of the building available for emergency evacuation.

Where are my books?

During hoarding construction, books previously shelved right next to the lift area have been moved elsewhere on the same floor. Please ask staff at the floor Information Desks if you need help finding them.

  • On the 2nd Floor 337-338.52has moved to the far (eastern/Eat at the Square) end of the room by the windows.
  • On the 3rd Floor 728-733.5154has moved to new shelves by the Information Desk.

Where can I find quieter study space?

This phase of construction will sometimes involve noisy or disruptive works. Please make use of the quiet and silent study space in the Library@URS building next door, as well as the variety of alternative study space options across campus. For more see ‘The latest on student study space’.

More on the Library refurbishment

Demolishing this staircase will create space to install a dedicated Library staff book lift beside the site of a new automated returned-book sorter. Find out more about the project on our Library refurbishment webpage.

Please continue to visit the Me@Reading student portal for the latest updates on this project.

Top Tips on Being a Good Neighbour

Being on bad terms with your neighbours can make life a lot more difficult – but there are some simple things you can do to establish and maintain good relationships with them through the course of your tenancy. Here are a few tips on being the best neighbour you can possibly be:

Introduce yourself

The first step to having a great relationship with your neighbours is finding out who they are! That way it’s easier to approach one another if any issues arise. It might feel daunting to approach a neighbour directly – if the thought fills you with dread, perhaps consider posting a card through their door, briefly introducing yourself and letting them know that they can contact you in the event that they need to address any issues.

Respect your neighbours

Try to take into account your neighbours’ schedules, which may look quite different from your own. If you find yourself coming home late, try to keep noise to minimum and make sure they know that they can approach you if any problems occur. Keep your street looking like the kind of place you’d want to live – avoid littering and ensure that the exterior of your house is kept neat and tidy.

Figure out the bin situation!

Find out when your rubbish collection days are, and try not to miss them. Keeping your rubbish well contained and collected on time will avoid all sorts of nasty smells and unwelcome creatures from appearing outside your house, and your neighbours will appreciate it.

Keep your neighbours in the loop

Throwing the occasional party is fine, but try to give your neighbours a little bit of notice in advance, and make sure they know how to contact you if they need to ask you to control noise levels. Try to give them an idea of when the party will wrap up, and remind your guests to be considerate of your neighbours when they’re leaving.

If you are experiencing any problems with neighbours and would like some advice, please contact RUSU’s Housing Advice Service on 0118 378 4100 or email at

Green Festival 2018

Between the 14-16 November, the University and RUSU will be working together to host a series of events to raise awareness of green issues and what more we can all be doing to reduce our collective impact on the environment.

The festival will include tours of the University Energy Centre, a Green Careers event and Dr Bike drop-in sessions, where you can get your bike repaired for just the cost of the parts required.

Book tickets for Friday 16 November to attend a talk with Freedom Four on Low Carbon Brewing Processes, and get the chance to win two places to visit the brewery in Stafford!

You can also head over to The Dairy on London Road Campus for a talk and taste-test of a low carbon beer. Book tickets here.

Take a look at the full programme of events below:

For more information about the festival and the events that will be taking place, please visit

If you’re interested in getting involved with Sustainability at Reading, please email

Week 6: Not a Half Term!

Week 6 is approaching! Use it to do all the things you haven’t had a chance to yet – from academic and careers workshops, to student activities and exploring the local wildlife. If you’re in need of some inspiration, take a look at our list of six ways you can make the most of Week 6.

  1. Your departmental events

Week 6 might mean a brief pause for your regular modules, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be things happening in your department. Expect a mix of compulsory and optional events covering careers and academic advice, opportunities to meet staff members and discuss Further Study options, field trips and more.

  1. Life Tools & Careers events. 

Now is the perfect time to reflect on how you are coping with university life, and how well-prepared you are for post-graduation life. Use this opportunity to check out the workshops you might not have had time to go to so far in the term. Sign up for careers workshops at My Jobs Online and see the full list of Life Tools talks from the Wellbeing team.

  1. Upgrade your library skills.

Whether you’re yet to take out a book, or are a journal-trawling pro, the library offers so many different resources to help you excel in your academic and research work. Check out this blog post from the Library with ten tips to try out, from accessing e-books, storing your references, to taking a break from studying to borrow one of their DVDs.

  1. Book a Study Advice session. 

These 30-minutes one-on-one sessions are tailored to your needs. Our Study Advisers aim to help you develop your own study skills to study more effectively and achieve academic success. The service is open Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:00 and you can book a session in advance by emailing or calling 0118 378 4242. Read more on the Study Advice website – including their online guides and tutorials.

  1. Explore the Whiteknights campus.

The University is lucky to be located at the heart of an area teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. If you’re yet to have a chance to traverse the lakes and forests, this week is the perfect opportunity. The Whiteknights biodiversity project estimates that there are over 1537 species in the area. Make sure you take in Harris Garden, a landscape garden with roots going back to the 18th century.

  1. Try out a new student society or activity. 

With over 150 societies to choose from, there is bound to something you have always wanted to try out. Meet some new people, de-stress and have fun!


Contact your school SSC to find out more about departmental events

The latest on study space

The £40 million refurbishment of the University Library continues this year, and we’re edging ever-closer to our expected completion date of autumn 2019!

As the project moves into its final phases, we’re looking forward to the benefits that the upgrades will bring. Our aim has been to create a more comfortable and sustainable study environment, with additional study space, improved accessibility and security, new heating and ventilation, and more toilet provision being key elements of this.

Some aspects, however, have been completed over the last twelve months.

What’s new this year?

  • A larger café is now open and proving very popular
  • Significant work has been completed on the Ground and First floors of the Library, which, excitingly, means that 400 study spaces are now open in these newly refurbished areas. Construction work will still need to continue on these and other floors, however, particularly to install fully accessible and more reliable lifts. This may sometimes be noisy or disruptive

Given this, we’ve ensured that the study space and services arrangements in Library@URS will remain in place for the whole of the 2018/2019 academic year. These URS-based arrangements include study space and most library services, Course Collection, Study Advice, Liaison Librarians, Maths Support, and the IT Service Desk. Books, other than Course Collection, remain available for borrowing in the Library Building, as before.

Investment in these core University facilities is important, but we do recognise that the process has been disruptive for current students. We understand that there is no ideal time to undertake a project of such scale, and so have worked hard, in consultation with RUSU, to provide the best alternative arrangements possible while the works take place.

We’ve listened to student feedback over the past year, and taken the following actions in response:

  • We’ve installed new study space facilities in the Edith Morley building and Palmer, to increase the overall number of spaces available (open until 10pm Mon-Fri during term-time)
  • We’ve made additional study space available in the Carrington Building and in Chemistry
  • The Library is proactively implementing an ‘anti-desk hogging’ system. If personal belongings are left unattended on a desk, please alert staff who will give you a timed warning card to place on the space whilst you use it. If the owner of the belongings returns within the hour they are entitled to the space, but if not it’s yours. This means you may leave your belongings (but don’t leave any valuables) while you visit the Library to borrow a book, or grab some refreshments in one of our cafes, while ensuring the spaces are not reserved for more than an hour when other students are looking for desks
  • Following the positive feedback on the Study Space map, we’ve published an updated version online and will be installing it at various prominent locations around campus. It is an easy way to see where study space is located across the University

Other key resources, in addition to the Study Space map, are also available to make it easier to find a suitable space to study:

Opening hours

During term-time, Library@URS is open:

Mon-Fri: 24 hours

Sat: Open until 21.00

Sun: Open from 08.30

The Library Building is open as follows during term-time:

Mon-Sun: 09.00-22.00

We want to thank you for your patience during this process and we hope you find the improvements this year useful. For more information on any of the above, please visit

Hello Neighbour

Do you know who your neighbours are?

Despite the fact that we live right next to them, our neighbours can often remain complete strangers to us. While it’s unlikely that they’ll ever become our best friends, it’s definitely worth developing and maintaining good relationships with them.

Little things can go a long way when it comes to keeping your neighbours happy – whether it be giving them a heads up when planning a party, or even making sure you’re putting your bins out correctly.

This term, look out for handy information packs that we’ll be sending you, full of advice and tips for living in a student household and keeping a good relationship with your neighbours. Packs will also include a card that you can post through their door with an optional message to introduce yourself.

We can’t choose our neighbours, but there’s plenty we can do to make sure we get along with them.

Remember that if you have any problems or concerns regarding a neighbour, you can get in touch with the Community Relations Team at You can also contact RUSU’s Advice Service by emailing

November events with Reading International

This month, Reading International are holding two events worth a visit! Find out more details below.

Redundant as eyelids in absence of light: Great Hall, London Road Campus. 15 November, 7pm

As part of Reading International’s ‘A reproduction of three weeks in May 1970’ organised by NOVEL, there will be a lecture and a performance of ‘Redundant as eyelids in absence of light’.


Redundant as eyelids in absence of light.
Translator’s Endnotes
A lecture by Studio for Propositional Cinema


RECITAL: Redundant as eyelids in absence of light.
A concert by Studio for Propositional Cinema (libretto) and Hampus Lindwall (organist/interpreter

Book here 


Finding Folk: Museum of English Rural Life, 20 November, 7pm

A sonic performance for MERL: A Folk Late by Jeff Morton. Composer and musician Jeff Morton will lead a workshop in which participants explore, create, and present sounds collected in and from rural settings.

Find out more and book here.

Reading International is Reading’s new contemporary visual arts organisation promoting exhibitions, shows, film screenings and more. You can find out more about them here

Meeting your Academic Tutor… What are the Benefits?

Have you met with your Academic Tutor yet?

As your key point of contact for all things relating to your course, your Academic Tutor is a valuable source of information and advice, and it is important that you meet with them at least once each term to discuss your academic progress and development.

Why exactly are these meetings so important?

Your Academic Tutor is there to ensure that you are getting the most out of your studies, and that you have a clear idea of what you can do to develop further. During your meetings, your Academic Tutor can help you set goals for your academic and personal development, aid you with decisions relating to your course, and connect you with other academics in your field of study. They can also direct you to other University services where appropriate, as well as help you take full advantage of the development opportunities available to you.

To make the most of your meetings, we recommend giving some thought to what you might like to talk with them about, as well as having some questions ready to ask. Topics you might want to address could include:

  • Choosing your optional modules
  • Understanding assessment marks and feedback
  • Reviewing the year and setting goals
  • Recognising your strengths and identifying areas for improvement
  • Career/further study options

Your Academic Tutor can advise you on a wide range of topics relating to your studies and life at the University, and we strongly recommend meeting with them regularly to discuss your progress. If you’re not sure what to talk about in your meetings or how best to prepare, take a look at the Online Toolkit for some ideas to get you started. You can also find an Academic Tutor meeting template to help you keep a record of what you speak about and track your progress.

If you’re unsure who your Academic Tutor is, you can find out by logging into RISIS, selecting ‘Programme and Modules’, then ‘Programme Information’. You can also contact your Support Centre.

Click here for more information on what your Academic Tutor can help you with, and to take a look at some frequently asked questions.

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