September 2017

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2017.

With 9am lectures, assignments, hobbies and a social life to balance, being a student is busy, but it’s also a great opportunity to try new things and meet people. With that in mind, here’s some of our favourite student life hacks to help maximise your time and make life a little easier…

  • Set up email forwarding from your Uni account – You get a lot of important messages through your University email address, whether that’s from your Personal Tutor or a Careers Consultant. You should check it every day, but if you’re likely to forget, make sure you don’t miss out on anything by forwarding your University emails to your personal email account.
  • Bookmark Me@Reading and Essentials – Your Me@Reading student portal gives you access to everything you need, all in one place – from your inbox and academic timetable, to links to useful resources like Blackboard and RISIS. It also has news, events and reminders tailored to you. The Essentials pages are your online student handbook for all things ‘student life’. Make Student choosing modulessure you keep up to date and by bookmarking them both!
  • Manage your money – Budgeting is a good way to avoid money stress, so you know you have enough left over to book that summer break you’ve had planned or even just to buy enough food for the month. If you want to speak to someone for advice, see our Money Matters page. It’s also worth getting an NUS extra card from RUSU to save money on loads of things, whether you’re going out for dinner or buying some new stationery.
  • Get cooking – Buying and planning the ingredients for your meals in advance can be a great time saver, and it’s also cheaper and healthier than ordering that late-night takeaway. com has some great ideas for cheap, quick and healthy meals. Planning one day a week to cook a big meal with your housemates is also a great way to bring everyone together and save a bit of money.
  • Register with a nearby GP – You never know when you might need to see a doctor, and there’s nothing worse than having to sort everything out when you’re not feeling your best. Register with a GP early on in the term so you can easily get an appointment when you need one.
  • Look after yourself – You don’t necessarily need to pay loads or take a lot of time out of your day to keep fit – why not look for a half an hour workout on YouTube, or go for a walk or jog with friends.
  • Stay safe – We have an amazing Security Team here at the University who are always around to help if you need it. If you ever find yourself in a difficult position, it’s a good idea to have their number ready on your phone -0118 378 6300. It’s also good to be aware of Chaperone Service, where you can ask a member of Security to walk you through an area of campus if you feel unsafe.
  • Apps to help you out – There are a lot of things you can do to make your life easier, but it never hurts to have the help of a handy app on your phone. Here’s our pick of the best for students:
    – Blackboard – You can use this to easily check your lectures and assignments on your phone.
    – Sleepyti.me – This app tells you the best time to go to bed if you have to be up at a certain time – a good way to avoid falling asleep in lectures!
    – RescueTime – RescueTime shows you how you spend your time and offers tips on how to become more productive – you can set goals and block distracting websites like Facebook and Instagram.

For more student life hacks, take a look at the Student Room’s guide.

Our capital investment programme, 2026: TRANSFORM, is well under way to improve further our campus facilities. The University Library is undergoing a major transformation – we are investing over £40 million into making it a modern and comfortable place to study, with the very best facilities and learning resources. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

 

Study space relocation to the URS Building

In April 2017, much of the study furniture from the Library was relocated to the URS Building. Several key services from the Library Building have also been relocated to the URS Building – the Library Information Desk, Study Advice and Maths Support, the Course Collection, the IT Service Desk and Café Libro. The Library remains open for borrowing books.

By moving study space and other services to URS, we can provide a quieter environment for study, enquiries and support. It also means less disruption through noise or dust from the building project, with URS still being close enough to borrow and use Library materials.

It is expected that these arrangements will be in place until August 2018, when study space and other facilities are currently planned to move back into the Library.

 

What’s changing?

The URS lecture theatres have been out of use since the relocation to allow us to accommodate the maximum permitted number of study spaces in this building (there’s a restriction on the total number of people allowed in the building at any one time for fire safety). We have recently taken the decision to re-open the URS large lecture theatre for teaching in the 2017/18 academic year.

Due to the fire safety restrictions in place, this will mean that the number of term-time study spaces available in the URS building will be reduced from around 800 to around 600. We understand this will be disappointing news for some, as the total number of study spaces available to students during term-time will necessarily be reduced. However, please be assured that we have explored every possible alternative option before reaching this decision, but feel it is important that we offer students the best available teaching space for their classes.

We will work to re-instate the study spaces during the Christmas and Easter vacations, and in the summer term for the exam period. Café Libro will remain open as usual.

Naturally, we will closely monitor the usage of the URS study spaces and the alternative study spaces provided across our campuses (see below for more information) to ensure all spaces are accessible, available and well-used. Feedback from students on these spaces is very much welcome as it will help us to plan study space availability in the future.

 

Alternative study spaces

Taking into account the reduction of study spaces in the URS Building, we will still have over 1,500 study spaces available across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses.

We have provided some helpful resources to make it easier to find a suitable space to study. These include;

All of these resources can easily be found through the Library refurbishment project page. Do bookmark this page on your laptop or mobile to find it easily later.

We are also working with RUSU to create a new study space map which we will share with you as soon as it is ready.

Do not forget too that rooms located in teaching buildings will be subject to departmental use – and as always, please treat all spaces with respect.

 

Library project; progress to date

We have made good progress since work started last summer. In summary;

  • all floors have been prepared for works to be carried out – you will notice that several areas have been sectioned off for work, especially on the Ground and First floors;
  • work to improve the exterior of the Library is well under way and internal weatherproofing is largely complete;
  • work is underway for the creation of a brand new café; and
  • we are nearing the end of the demolition of a staircase on the right-hand side of the building – a major phase of work that makes room for new, bigger lifts and a replacement staircase.

We are, of course, taking measures to reduce the risk of noise wherever possible, but please do remember that this is a live construction project – noise will be unavoidable from time to time. As a way of reducing disruption throughout the day, noisy work will cease after 10.00 am during term time.

 

Stay up-to-date

The latest project news is shared through the Library blog – keep checking for updates. Major news will also be shared through the Me@Reading student portal and more.

We also share regular updates through our social media channels – we’re on:

Facebook: /theuniversityofreading and /universityofreadinglibrary

Twitter: @UniofReading, @UniRdg_Student and @UniRdg_Library

Instagram: uniofreading and unirdg_library

 

Please contact library@reading.ac.uk in the first instance if you have any queries.

Full details of the refurbishment, including FAQ, project summary, latest news and study space links, are available on our dedicated project website: reading.ac.uk/library/refurb.

The University of Reading is now home to Reading’s largest tennis facility following the completion of the £850,000 TennisPark.

Opening today at Whiteknights campus, students, staff and the local community can choose from a total of eight courts to play on, including three brand new courts covered by a weatherproof dome.

Now Reading’s largest and most versatile tennis facility, TennisPark offers high quality courts for all year round play. It encompasses our five existing outdoor courts – all of which have been resurfaced and fitted with new floodlights – and the new weather tight, floodlit and insulated domed courts. The dome will also be heated during winter, making it the perfect tennis venue for colder months of the year.

The project was co-funded by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), who helped fit the courts to LTA-approved standards. As an extension to the University’s popular SportsPark, TennisPark offers club membership and coaching for students, staff and the community, including junior memberships and concessions.

Speaking earlier this year on the creation of the TennisPark, John Golding, LTA’s regional manager, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support the University of Reading with the development of the TennisPark. There’s already an extensive community coaching programme, good links with the local tennis club and an extensive student tennis programme. Investing in the facilities at the University ensures this programme will develop further.”

Iain Akhurst, Director of Sport at SportsPark, said:

“It’s fantastic that we can now include amazing all-year round tennis courts with all our other great quality, affordable and easily accessible sports facilities for everyone’s health and wellbeing at the heart of our campus.”

The opening of TennisPark is great news for the University and the local community as we can offer more courts than anywhere else in Reading, available all year round whatever the weather.

Visit the TennisPark website for membership and coaching details: www.sport.reading.ac.uk/tennis.

 

We are committed to managing our impact on the local and global environment by embedding sustainability across the University. That is why we have been working to identify how we can reduce the waste generated from plastic bottles consumed across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses – currently around 650,000 bottles a year!

We are pleased to announce the launch this week of our new Sustain It bottle, which you will see in a range of our catering outlets from Thursday 14 September. The bottle uses innovative technology to offer a customisable range of drinks, in a reusable bottle. We are the first university outside of the United States to introduce this model and look forward to seeing its impact, both on reducing our plastic waste, and being able to offer students and staff an increased range of drink options.

How does it work?

The Sustain It bottle contains a RFID chip that allows you to pre-pay for drinks, choosing from different payment options as outlined below. The bottle is designed to pair up with a new range of Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, offering well over 100 varieties and customisable mixes – the majority being zero and low calorie options. This is our largest selection of healthier drinks to date.

Making a customised drink is simple – when paired with the Freestyle App, you can design and save your desired mix and order at the machine using a QR code within the app. Filtered water will also be available for free at each Freestyle machine, allowing you to refill any container with water at no cost.

The Freestyle machines use a concentrated mixture as the base for a wide selection of flavours. The concentrates are packaged in cartridges that can be sent by courier instead of traditional delivery by lorry. By switching to this delivery method, the University will reduce traffic on campus and environmental effects by taking more delivery lorries off the roads.

How much does it cost?

The Sustain It bottle costs £9.95, which includes two free refills of soft drinks. You can then purchase additional refills in either multiples of 10 (£12) or unlimited refills for the whole term (£39.95).

If you would prefer not to purchase the bottle, you can pay £1.60 for a recyclable paper cup, which includes one drink. Alternatively, bottled drinks will still be available to purchase from non-participating catering outlets on campus, including the new Co-op store.

Filtered water is available for free at all Freestyle machines, using any bottle.

Where can I buy or refill a bottle?

The bottle is available to purchase at Park Eat, Eat at the Square, The Dairy, Wantage Hall and Eat at Northcourt (St. Patrick’s Hall). These outlets have all been fitted with the Freestyle refill machines. You can also pre-order a bottle at our online store.

Future plans

With the exception of water bottles, the University is planning to gradually phase out the sale of plastic bottles following the introduction of the Sustain It bottle and Freestyle machines. Plastic bottles will continue to be available in retailers across campus, including the new Co-op at Whiteknights campus. It is expected that the number of bottles used is likely to be much lower as a result of the new machines replacing bottled drinks.

We will collect data to see how the new system is being used and keep it under review. There are opportunities for the model to be expanded for the future, including the introduction of different sized bottles and the provision of hot drinks. A pilot for serving coffee in this way is planned to take place in the next year.

Let us know your thoughts

Share your feedback on the new Sustain It bottle and Freestyle machines on our dedicated Facebook page.

We are delighted to announce the opening of our new Co-op shop onWhiteknights campus on Thursday 14 September, following a refurbishment of our previous store, Campus Central.

As well as offering NUS Extra card holders a 10% discount on all goods, students and staff will see a wider range of fresh produce, an in-store bakery, healthy foods, meal ideas, hot food and essentials.

You can also choose to sign up to Co-op’s Membership rewards scheme, at a cost of £1, to receive a further 5% reward into your membership account when purchasing own-branded products and services. An extra 1% of this will be going to local good causes – Berkshire Vision, Reading Mencap and Reading Community Learning Centre.

The new shop will be open from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm Monday to Sunday.

The team behind the new store have been out and about this week offering food samples around campus in the run-up to the store’s opening on Thursday. There’ll be more opportunities to sample products over the next few days – hampers will be delivered to Wessex Hall (Friday 15 September), Mackinder Hall (Saturday 16 September) and Chedworth House (Sunday 17 September), with free samples also available in nearby gazebos.

And on Friday 22 September, don’t miss the inflatable assault course at the Palmer quad between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm – there’ll also be hot food samples on offer, so make sure you take a look!

On the announcement of the project earlier this year, Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, said:

“This is an exciting development for students and staff alike here at Whiteknights campus. Co-op is one of the UK’s biggest food retailers and can offer its customers a wide range of fresh, good quality produce.

“Strong ethical values and the discount schemes offered to NUS extra card holders and Co-op members make Co-op the right fit for our campus. It is important that the University partners with organisations that uphold the same values we do, and equally important that we consider the potential impact to the cost of living for our students.”

The previous store, Campus Central, was run by Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), with all profits from the shop going towards services and opportunities offered by RUSU. Following the changeover, the University remains committed to ensuring that RUSU is not financially disadvantaged by the change of circumstances by providing an increased grant until 2021.

Permanent members of Campus Central staff have now become Co-op employees and the terms of their contracts remain the same, with somestudent employment opportunities likely to be available.

It’s time for you to re-enrol on your course for the coming year, and we’ve got a competition to help the new term get off to a great start!

All returning students, including those on placements and compulsory year abroad courses, must complete online enrolment each year. Enrolment is important because it enables the University to collect fees, ensure that your course and personal informationare correct, that you are able to use all the facilities and confirm your attendance with the SLC and for Council Tax purposes.

The competition

Students who have re-enrolled via RISIS by Sunday 15 October will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win an Amazon gift voucher. There are 15 prizes available; 1 x £100, 4 x £50 and 10 x £25 Amazon gift vouchers (See below for terms and conditions).

Please go to the RISIS Portal to complete your online enrolment.

More details on enrolment…

Fees for Self-Financed Students (students whose fees are not paid by a sponsor).

Self-financed students will be asked to pay half of the tuition fee when they enrol. Please be aware you will not be considered as enrolled for the 2017/8 Session until the fee has been paid. The deadline for paying the first instalment is Sunday 15 October.

What happens if you do not enrol?

Failure to complete online enrolment will cause a number of problems. These include:

  • If you have applied for Student Support via Student Finance England you will not be confirmed as in attendance and this will cause a delay in the receipt of your loan.
  • Being unable to sit your examinations.
  • Having problems accessing Blackboard.
  • International students requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK only: failure to complete online enrolment will affect your immigration status in the UK as the University is required to report your failure to enrol to the Home Office UK Visa and Immigration. This will also have implications for your ability to study at the University of Reading.
  • You will not be entitled to a Council Tax exemption.
  • If you do not enrol by the end of week 3 (Sunday 15 October) the University will take steps to suspend your registration.

What to do if you have problems or your circumstances have changed

If you experience any problems with online enrolment please log a Helpcall with your Support Centre. You can do this by clicking on the Ask a Question link at the top of the page in your RISIS portal.

If you are unable to access the internet or your circumstances have changed, please contact your Support Centre.

Are you going to be travelling as part of your course or for a placement? You’ll need to fill in a student risk management form.

The student risk management form is for all current students travelling abroad ‘on the business of the U of R’ as part of their course, whether this be on placement or anywhere as part of their studies.

Please be aware that the student risk management form is compulsory and must be completed in good time before you go abroad.

You can find the form by logging into your RISIS portal.

For more information, visit http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/finance/Insurance/fcs-ins-business.aspx or email insurance@reading.ac.uk

There’s a lot to think about at the beginning of term, but Reading Experience Day is here to help you get a head start, and make this academic year a great one!

Taking place on the 27th September, the day showcases a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, to get you thinking about things you might like to do alongside your studies this year.

The three main elements of the day are:

Reading Experience Day is a great opportunity to find ways to boost your employability skills, as well as try something new. Whether you find a part time job, sign up for a mentor or learn more about volunteering, you’re bound to find a way to develop your skills and interests.

Check back here for more information about the day, including which exhibitors will be attending.

Collect your free, folding year planner from the Study Advice office on the ground floor of URS in G18.

These planners have been designed especially with university students in mind with plenty of space for notes and deadlines. They are good for getting an overview of your term and for planning projects. They are flexible and can fold out as wall planners or fold up to be pinned on a notice board.

You may have used one in previous years – now is your chance to get one for this academic year while stocks last!

Part 1 students can also pick up a free planner at the Study Advice stand in the Academic Success Fair on Tues 19th Sept.

Love Whiteknights campus? Share you love in the Green Flag People’s Choice Awards!

 

Hot on the heels of winning our seventh Green Flag Award in a row, Whiteknights campus is up for a Green Flag People’s Choice Award.

The national award invites members of the public to vote for their favourite green space in the UK. While winners of Green Flag awards are chosen by a panel of expert judges, People’s Choice Awards are determined purely by public vote.

Voting is quick and easy – simply visitthe Whiteknights voting page and cast your vote before 30 September. The top 10 winning sites will be announced on 11 October.

The Green Flag and People’s Choice Awards are run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and recognise high quality green spaces and public parks across the country. Now in its third decade, the scheme highlights spaces of natural beauty open to the public, which are carefully maintained and/or preserved and offer excellent visitor facilities

Judges in this year’s Green Flag Awards praised the management of the Whiteknights campus grounds, noting a strong management plan and a shared sense of pride across the teams responsible for maintaining the site.

Visit www.greenflagaward.org for further information.