Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: February 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

Student Money Saving Strategies

Take a look at these hints and tips and see if you can save some money…

Check your online banking and statements regularly

The first step to getting on top of your finances and saving some money is getting into the habit of checking your bank statements regularly. It can be so easy to buy things throughout the week and not realise how much your outgoings add up to! It’s also really useful to get to see if you are buying anything unnecessary, so check your spending regularly and get to know your money habits.

Make a budget

Once you’ve got an idea of your money habits and what kind of things you like to spend your money on, it’s really useful to give yourself a weekly or monthly budget. Once you have an idea of your income, your outcome and the money that’s left over at the end, you can decide how much you want to spend and treat yourself, as well as how much you want to put aside and save up. This template will get you started on making your own budget.

Think about your accommodation wisely

Aside from your tuition fees, your accommodation will be one of your biggest expenses during your time at university, so it’s worth thinking about where you want to live and how much it will cost you. Explore all the options that may work for you (such as university halls, private accommodation or commuting from home) and work out which will be the cheapest. If you are moving into rented accommodation with other students, try and negotiate something that will work for everyone (for example, if you wanted to pay less and your housemate wanted a larger room, then you could pay less than your housemate as they have a larger space). Make sure you talk with your housemates about how close you want to live to the University, as well as how nice you want your house to be, as both the proximity and quality of your accommodation will affect the price.

Take the time to sort out your bills and your TV licence

Sorting out the bills and opening accounts with electric, water and internet providers is probably one of the least enjoyable parts of moving into shared accommodation. However, this is not something to be glossed over and should be taken seriously as you will save so much money by getting the cheapest deals. Ensure that you look around and ring up different providers or look out on handy comparison websites to find out what different companies can offer you. Another important factor to discuss with your housemates is whether you want to purchase a TV licence. If you simply stick to DVDs and Netflix then give it a miss, as you will be wasting money. However, if you watch any live TV or enjoying watching iPlayer then definitely get the licence, as you could be sent a heavy fine without one!

Get student funding

You may not realise it, but you could qualify for student funding! There are plenty of bursaries, scholarships and grants which can give you many financial gains, whether this be from your academic department, an external body or the university itself. Take a look at all of the University of Reading Bursaries and Awards here. Try and see if you’re eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance, a travel grant or a hardship fund. Most student funding have a simple application process, which are often easy to complete online. Find out more here.

Know where and how you can get student discounts

There are so many discounts out there that can save you money on everyday purchases. One of the easiest ways to get discounts is to purchase an NUS card, which can give you discounts in some clothes stores, cinemas and restaurants. Get one today from the NUS website and also find all of the places you can use this card. You can also apply for a Young Persons Railcard, if you are aged between 16 and 25 or if you are in full-time study. This will give you a 1/3 off Standard Anytime, Off-Peak, Advance and First Class Advance fares for just £30 a year, so if you travel by train frequently then you can easily make a saving. Finally, if you like to do a lot of online shopping, then you might want to consider getting an Amazon Prime Account. For a small monthly fee you can have free postage on Amazon Prime items, and can also give you exclusive access to movies, music and TV shows!

Have at least one ‘no-spend’ day a week

We all love the convenience of being able to buy food and drink on-campus, but if you’re buying your lunch and numerous coffees on campus every day, it will slowly but surely eat away at your pocket. An easy way to get around this is to have a ‘no-spend’ day once a week. Try and walk to campus instead of getting the bus, bring your own packed lunch to campus and bring your own hot drink in a flask for your morning lecture. These simple things will help reduce your frequent spending habits and help save you a small lump sum over a few weeks which you can then spend as a treat or save for a rainy day.

Shop smart and cook together

If you think that you’re spending too much on food then there are some easy ways that you can reduce costs. By going to the shops at certain times on specific days, you can find that many of your favourite foods are reduced as they are nearing their expiry date (Sunday afternoons just before closing is usually a good time). Any food is still perfectly safe to eat before their ‘Use By’ date so explore the reduced section thoroughly and then plan your meals accordingly. A good idea cook is to a meal for all your housemates, so take them with you and see what you would all like to eat. By eating together, you will be able to eat a nutritious meal for less, and it’s also a sociable way to eat too!

Fairtrade Fortnight 26th Feb-11th Mar 2018


Monday 26th February-Sunday 11 March

Fairtrade Exhibition at RBC Civic Offices – weekdays: 9am-5.30pm. Display by RISC’s World Shop. Household goods, socks, scarves, bags and jewellery as well as a diverse range of fair trade crafts and foods make it increasingly possible to live a fair trade lifestyle. Foyer of Civic Centre, Bridge St, RG1 2LU Lucy Daniels E:

Wednesday 28th Feb

Trade after Brexit: what’s in it for the Global South? 1-2pm. Join Traidcraft Exchange’s Emilie Schultze for a lunchtime talk on Brexit, trade and development. Millions of people in poorer countries depend on trade with the UK – so how can we make it work for them? Room 105, Palmer Building, UoR, Whiteknights Campus, RG6 6UR. Free event. Sam Chaher E:

Trade after Brexit: impact on the Global South. 7.30-9.30pm. Emilie Schultze will talk about how Britain’s exit from the EU is likely to cause big changes in international trade and how we can ensure the UK trades fairly with the Global South? Refreshments. RISC, 35-39 London St, RG1 4P. Free event. Zainab T: 0118 958 6692 E:

Thursday 1st March

Tutu’s Ethiopian Table celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight. 6-9pm. Usual buffet night will be complemented by an Ethiopian fair trade coffee ceremony and fair trade banana cake with an Ethiopian twist. Global Café, 35 London St, RG1 4PS. Tutu Melaku T: 07863 551 097

Ayesha Bhatti presenting: Cargo Under Sail. 8pm. A presentation about the missing link between sustainable producers and ethical consumers. Ayesha talks about her transatlantic voyage on the ‘Avontuur’, a 1920’s schooner, one of the last cargo sailing ships. RISC, 35-39 London St, RG1 4P. Free event. Brian Woodgate T: 07724 585

Friday 2nd March

Trade justice after Brexit: the need for trade democracy. 7.30pm. A secret new trade deal with the US could include privatisation of the NHS and the addition of chlorine-washed chicken to our menus. Mark Dearn, senior trade campaigner of War on Want, on how we can challenge this anti-democratic agenda to ensure greater scrutiny by Parliament. RISC, 35–39 London St, RG1 4PS. Free/donations. Jackie Oversby T: 07745 310794

Saturday 3rd March

Coffee morning with Traidcraft stall. 11am-12noon. Cakes, drinks, raffle, bric-a-brac, fair trade groceries and craft items, greetings cards and a chance to order fair trade Easter eggs. Parish Hall, St Luke’s Church, Erleigh Rd, RG1 5LW ˙free Hilary Jakeman T:0118 3273325/ 07734 436879 E:

Sunday 4th March

Traidcraft stall at St John & St Stephen’s Church. 10.15am. A wide variety of fair trade foods and crafts. Email to order Traidcraft goods at cost price – how about a year’s supply of coffee, tea, chocolate or Palestinian olive oil? St John & St Stephen’s Church, 121-147 Orts Rd, RG1 3JN. Rosemary Croft

Thursday 8th March

Jackie Doe and The Uncertainty of Passion. 9pm. Evening of music, written by Jackie Doe and sung by Anne De Lima. This 5-piece band embraces a variety of influences from Reading to Argentina via France, Hungary and Berlin and features accordion, violin, guitar, harmonica and percussion. Fairtrade drinks and snacks for sale. Global Cafe, 35 London St, RG1 4PS. Free event. Jackie Doe E:

Friday 9th March

How ethical is your tech? 12.30-2pm. A critical look at the green technology revolution from a Congolese perspective. Speaker Bandi Mbubi lectures regularly at universities and TED talks on the responsible sourcing of raw materials from Africa. He has featured on the BBC, Forbes, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. UoR, Room G08, Chancellors Building, UoR, Whiteknights Campus, RG6 6UR. Free event. Sam Chaher E:

Sunday 11th March

Traidcraft stall at St John & St Stephen’s Church. 10.15am. See details for Sunday 4th March


Click here to see the full list of events.

Spring Term Week 8 Highlights



Careers – American and Canadian summer camp information session. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 201.
Sign up here.



Annual Edith Mary Gayton Public Lecture (organised by the Farm Management Unit of the School of Agriculture, Policy & Development). This year the lecture will focus on the future trade relationships between UK and Ireland. 6pm. Madejski Lecture Theatre, Agriculture Building.
Admission Free. Email Teresa Hicks to book your place.

RED Award completion session. 1pm-2pm. Palmer 1.06.
Find out more here.

Reading Film Theatre – Screening ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ (15). 7.45pm-10pm. Palmer Building.
Purchase your tickets here.



‘Brain Glue: Sticking It To Dementia’ public lecture. This lecture will outline some of the challenges in finding treatments for brain diseases, and explore the potential of glial cells in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. 7.30pm start. G11 Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus.
Register your attendance.

Referencing – citing it right. 2pm-3pm. Palmer 104.
Click here for more information.

Algebraic topics: transposing formulae workshop. 2pm-3pm. Edith Morley G74.
Click here to sign up.

Beginner’s Desktop EndNote. 2pm-4pm. Palmer G09.
Book your place today.

Introduction to the RED Award. 5pm-6pm. Palmer 1.08
Register your attendance.

Reading Film Theatre – Screening ‘Where The Owl Sleeps’ (15) + Q&A with Márcia Derraik. 7.45pm-10pm. Palmer Building.
Click here to purchase your tickets.



Education Studies Annual Lecture ‘Inside the Beast; The Politics and law of Education’. The University of Reading’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, will reflect on his experience of being the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools to provide an insider’s account of where power really lies in our education system. 6pm start. Lo22, G01, London Road Campus.
Register your attendance.

Reading Internship Scheme introductory session. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 101.
Find out more here.

Reading Film Theatre – Screening ‘Menashe’ (U). 8pm-10pm. Palmer Building.
Purchase your tickets today.



UROP information session. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 201.
Click here for more details.



Spring Term Week 6 Survey


Take a look and complete the final Week 6 Survey of the year. Your feedback is vital to ensuring that you have the best experience at university.

Complete the survey here.

RUSU’s 3Sixty set for refurbishment

Popular Whiteknights campus nightclub 3Sixty Is getting its own refurbishment, with upgrades set to improve audio and visual equipment, accessibility and décor.   


As part of Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), the 3sixty refurbishment will see upgrades to the club’s key features, including cutting-edge audio/visual systems, better access and general improvements to facilities and décor.

The project is subject to planning permission at this stage, with the University looking to invest almost £2.9m into improving the club’s facilities. Though funded through the University’s 2026: TRANSFORM capital investment programme, the project is very much steered by RUSU, who have involved students in the designing of the project from its beginning.

Work is due to start in late March, after the end of the spring term, and is due for completion by the start of the next academic year.

The nature of the work taking place means that 3Sixty will close during the refurbishment – however, Mojo’s Bar, Café Mondial and Monterey Lounge will all remain open and will host many of the events already planned for the summer, including regular Wednesday and Saturday Union nights. The Graduation Ball on 18 May and Summer Ball on 9 June will both go ahead as planned.

Details of upcoming RUSU events are available on RUSU’s events page and 2018 events calendar.

Tristan Spencer, President of RUSU, said:

“We are delighted to be developing our nightclub for the benefit of our membership. We look forward to opening an improved area next academic year, which will provide students with a better club experience, more function space for our sports/societies, and improved access and safety.”

We will keep you updated as the refurbishment progresses over the coming months.

Student Volunteering Week – Make Your Hours Count

The National Student Volunteering Week will be taking place from the week beginning Monday 19th February. This week celebrates the contribution and impact of student volunteers and encourage even more students to get involved.

Volunteering is an excellent way to help you make the most of your University experience and whether you have a few hours to spare in the week or only have time to give at the weekends, there will always be a wide range of volunteering opportunities available.

These could range from one-off events through to those with a longer term commitment and Employers will view volunteering as just as valuable as paid work… which means that it will be as equally valid on your CV.

There are a lot of personal benefits to volunteering, including: gaining relevant experience for your CV; meeting new people and making new friends; developing your skills; and many more! However, as well as the benefits that volunteering can have for you personally, you can make a really positive impact on the local community.

Remember… if you are volunteering, make your hours count by signing up to the RED Award!


So, just what is the RED Award?

The Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award is the University’s Employability Skills Certificate and it is here to help you make the most of the extra-curricular activities on campus, as well as focusing on your own employability.

There are five simple steps that you need to take in order to achieve the RED Award:

  • Register under the ‘Actions’ tab on the RISIS Portal
  • Complete 35 hours of Core Activity
  • Complete 10 hours of Volunteering
  • Complete 5 hours of Training and Development
  • Attend a RED Award Completion session (Book your place via the RISIS Portal)

The RED Award is open to all students and will support you to gain experience and stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive job market. Those who go on to complete the scheme will receive a certificate, as well as having the achievement recorded on their diploma supplement annex.

Since September, over 1000 students have signed up to the RED Award… isn’t it time to find out what you are missing out on? Get started today by signing up on the RISIS Portal.


Want to find out more?

Check out the RED Award website or email us at

Come along to the ‘Introduction to the RED Award’ session on Thursday 22nd February at 1pm.

Book your place at the 1:1 Volunteering drop-in with Reading Voluntary Action to discuss volunteering opportunities. Places available between 2pm and 4pm on Thursday 22nd February.

Spring Term Week 7 Highlights


R.U Not Drinking Much Society: Games Night – 7pm – Palmer 104
Find out more here.

UNGOP Special Event with Andrew Gilmour – Hear the United Nations’ top diplomat on human rights speaking about the challenges facing human rights today. Talk followed by Q&A session. 4pm-6pm. Chancellors Building G07.
Admission Free, but booking is essential. Book your place today.



Reading Internship Scheme introductory session. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 101.
Sign up here.

The Hidden Job Market. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 201.
Book your place today.

Bible Study – GLORY 18 Concert. 7pm. 3Sixty.
Find our more here.

Reading Film Theatre – Screening ‘The Disaster Artist’ (15). 7.45pm-10pm. Palmer Building.
Get your tickets today.

Comedy Central Live ft. Richard Gadd. 7:30pm. Mojo’s Bar.
Purchase your tickets here.



Getting started with LinkedIn. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 101.
Sign up here.

UROP information session. 1pm-2pm. Palmer 1.05.
Find out more here.

Application essentials: CVs, covering letters, application forms. 5pm-6.30pm. Palmer G.02
Register your attendance here.

Study Advice: Getting it all done in time. 2pm-3pm. Palmer 103
Sign up here.

Maths Support – Exam questions on differentiation and integration. 2pm-3pm. Edith Morley G74
Click here for more information.

Library Support – Beginner’s EndNote Web. 2pm-3.30pm. Palmer G05B
Find out more here.

Islamic Society Geometry Workshop. 3pm. Palmer 105.
Get your tickets today.

FLUX. 10:00pm. RUSU
Click here for more details.



MBTI – Understanding your personality. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 101.
Find out more here.

Finding summer internships and Placements. 1pm-2pm. Palmer 1.06
Click here for more details.

Introduction to the RED Award. 1pm-2pm. Palmer 1.05
Book your place here.

Volunteering drop-in with RVA. 2pm-4pm. Palmer G.05
Click here to find out more.

Reading Film Theatre – Screening ‘Lost in Paris’ (Paris pieds nus) (12A). 8pm-10pm. Palmer Building.
Purchase your tickets here.

RUSU Quiz & Karaoke. 7:30pm. Mojo’s Bar.
Click here for more details.



RED Award completion session. 1pm-2pm. Carrington 201
Register your attendance here.

Message from Vice-Chancellor: Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

In the light of the proposed strike action by the University College and College Union (UCU) on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), I thought it might be helpful if I laid out my position as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading.

Read the full open letter to staff and students

It’s Valentine’s Day

On the 14th February every year, many of us make an extra effort to show our affections and spend quality time with our loved ones. Whether that be with your significant other, a friend or even a family member, Valentine’s Day is essentially about being around those that you care about. It is also custom to give loved ones special gifts on this day, such as a card, flowers or chocolates.

But where did this tradition all start? The day gets its name from Saint Valentine from the Ancient Roman times, however he is a mysterious figure and we have many different stories about who he really was. However, it is popular belief that St Valentine was a priest from Rome in the 3rd Century AD. The Emperor at the time, Emperor Claudius II, was a military minded man, and strongly believed that married men made poor soldiers, and he therefore forbid marriage. Valentine saw this as an injustice and arranged marriages in secret. Emperor Claudius discovered Valentine’s actions and imprisoned him and sentenced him to death. Whilst in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.

Eventually, the Christian Church combined the story of St Valentine with the Roman festival of ‘Lupercalia’ which took place in February. During Lupercalia, boys drew names of girls from a box and they would proceed to be ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ throughout rest of the festival, which sometimes led on to marriage afterwards.

Gradually, St Valentine’s name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved.

Here are some ideas of how to spend this Valentine’s Day with your loved ones:

  • Go out for a meal at a restaurant
  • Watch a movie
  • Go for a walk (weather permitting!)
  • Have a day out somewhere new
  • Cook a meal together
  • Go to the theatre or a gig
  • Spa/pamper treatments


It’s Pancake Day!

A great debate amongst family and friends on Pancake Day is always what’s the best topping: apple and cinnamon, banana and chocolate or the traditional lemon and sugar… Whatever your preference, pancakes are eaten and enjoyed throughout the UK on Pancake Day. But why did this tradition start and where did the humble pancake originate from?

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is a traditional Christian feast day that always falls on the day before Lent on Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, Lent is a time for fasting and so Shrove Tuesday became the last opportunity to use up ingredients in the home, which were predominantly eggs, milk and other fats, before the fasting for Lent began. Pancakes are an ideal and easy way to use up these ingredients.

Pancakes are traditionally thin and are cooked in a flat shallow pan, which means they can be ‘flipped’ easily to ensure both sides are golden when they are cooking, however it is common in North America for pancakes to be thicker.

The link below is a simple pancake recipe for you to try out today. Get flipping!

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