Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: March 2019 (Page 2 of 2)

5 questions on… Your experience of catering on campus

Our new series of mini surveys will ask you five questions on different aspects of your experience at the University of Reading.

This week, we’d like to hear your thoughts about catering on campus and our different cafes and bars. Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about them? This is your chance to tell us! Help us to improve our services by completing the survey before the end of Friday 8 March.

Don’t forget – our main undergraduate student surveys are also now live and we’re offering a prize draw to win VIP tickets to RUSU’s Summer Ball:

My experience of yoga with Sport in Mind

Third year student Gemma tells us about her experience of doing a free yoga session with Sport in Mind.

Sport in Mind is a local mental health charity that uses sport as a way to combat anxiety and stress for students. Every Monday 10:30 – 11:30 there’s free yoga sessions at Sportspark and anyone who is feeling stressed, anxious or struggling in some way, or who wants to do something positive for your mental health can come along. It’s really easy to join the session – just go to SportsPark reception and tell them you’re with Sport in Mind.

I have only ever done Yoga in the comfort of my own home following Youtube tutorials so I was a bit nervous of the prospect of doing it in front of others as a beginner. However, the class was very relaxed and perfect for beginners as it was a small class and the instructor was there to give guidance.

We did poses that I had tried before such as downward facing dog, but also some that I hadn’t tried such as Warrior 2, Trikonasana and Utkatasana. At the end we also did a breathing exercise called ‘alternate nostril breathing’ which sounds strange but it is used in yoga and meditation to focus and calm the mind, and restore balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I went with my housemates and we all found it very relaxing.

Yoga can be hugely beneficial for the body as well as the mind – here’s why:


Yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing. Moving and stretching in new ways will help you to become more flexible and release tight areas. At university we seem to spend a lot of our time hunched over computer screens and on our phones, so it can be a great way to release some of the tension in the neck and back that this causes.

Yoga also helps to build strength in your muscles as you are taught to hold positions over the course of several breaths. Holding these positions also help you to improve balance and build core strength. Focusing our attention on breathing and teaching how to take deeper breaths can help clear the nasal passages, and even calm the nervous system which has both physical and mental benefits.


As soon as you start breathing deeply and become more aware of your breathing, you calm your nervous system and slow down the fight or flight mode that we often don’t realise we are in. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety. A gentle practice of yoga also releases a chemical called Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain which suppresses the neural activity that leads to anxiety.

Yoga also helps with posture and bad posture adds to backache, headaches which can stimulate or add to depression. Yoga is learning to relax and calm your mind and body; doing this on a Monday morning is a great way to help you reset your mind for the week ahead.

If you’re interested in trying yoga to help you de-stress and feel less anxious, I’d really recommend coming along to a Sport in Mind session. You can go every week, or you can just go when you feel you need it – there’s no judgement or expectations.

Improving student mental health with Sport in Mind

Sport in Mind is a charity that believes that sport can help people experiencing mental health difficulties. The charity runs a variety of sport sessions on a weekly basis around Reading and the Berkshire area. The charity aims to simply help and support as many people as possible through their free sessions.

Mental health at university is a serious and very important topic, and Sport in Mind recognised that students could really benefit from their sport sessions. Along with other students, I volunteered to work with Sport in Mind to set it up as a voluntary RUSU society so that all students could access free sport sessions on campus.

The goals and passion behind the society is to help any student experiencing mental health issues and to raise awareness of mental health. We really believe that sport is an excellent way to take your mind off of the stresses of university life, make new friends and release endorphins that trigger positive feelings. Yoga, tennis and badminton sessions are run weekly and are led by sport coach professionals.

Below are some quotes from volunteers and students that have attended Sport in Mind sessions:

“Sport in Mind is a great charity to be involved in and I’m very excited to be part of an organisation raising awareness of the importance of sport for wellbeing and improved mental health and my experience so far has been very enjoyable. I can’t wait for the activities and events that we will plan in the future and to further get people involved in a great organisation.”

“I believe sport in mind is a great charity which focuses on a very current issue – mental health. It’s a unique and great idea which doesn’t only promote a healthy mind, but a healthy body also.”

 Our sessions are open to all students at the University and completely free. Please do come along to a session if you’re experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or if you’d like to try sport to help boost your mood and promote positive mental wellbeing.

If you want to know more, you can contact us at:

Leyla, President of the Sport in Mind society

A letter from PC Julie

Dear Students,

I think this is the hardest blog that I have had to write.  As you are aware, Daniel Williams went missing in the early hours of Thursday 31 January 2019 from the University campus, and Daniel’s body was subsequently recovered from the lake on Tuesday 5 February 2019.

Although I have been a Police Officer for 25 years, I still find it incredibly difficult to come to terms with the death of children and young people.  This is a tragic unexplained incident which has had a huge impact, not only on Daniel’s mum, dad and sister, but also the wider University community.

I attended both candle lit vigils for Daniel and I was touched by the heartfelt words spoken by the Mark the chaplain and Daniel’s friends and housemates.

Although I was in uniform I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing, feeling deep sadness and pain. 3Sixty was filled with young faces and I felt enormously proud of all of you standing together, united, and paying your respects to one of your own.  So many young people in one place, confronting death and each standing quietly immersed in your own thoughts.

My thoughts and love are with Daniel’s family and friends at this time and I want you all to know that if you need to speak to me, you can get my details from the Security Team.

Please look after yourselves and each other.

Warmest wishes,



We have set up a dedicated webpage for students to provide information on the range of support services available at this time. Please visit Everyone has a different way of coping, but it is important to seek support when you need it and we encourage you to make use of our specialist teams – we are all here to help.

University Mental Health Day 2019

To celebrate University Mental Health Day on Thursday 7 March, the University and RUSU are running a number of free events and activities on campus Monday 4 – Sunday 10 March.

The theme of this year’s University Mental Health Day is all about the power of using your voice. We all have mental health, we all have stories to share and we can all use our voices to shape the future of student mental health.

Mental health conditions affect 1 in 4 people every year in the UK, but many people still don’t feel comfortable taking about mental health. By raising awareness of mental health on campus and sharing experiences, together we can create a positive change.

All events are free and open to all students and staff.

What’s on:

Monday 4 March

Yoga session
10:30 – 11:30 at the SportsPark
Start the week feeling relaxed with this free yoga session, run by Sport in Mind. Beginners welcome.

Tennis and pickleball
11:00 – 12:00 at the TennisDome (by SportsPark)
Whether you’re a tennis pro or complete beginner, everyone is welcome at this fun social sports session run by Sport in Mind.

Life Tools talk: Overcoming perfectionism
13:00 – 14:00 in Henley Business School, room G03
Striving for perfection can lead to feelings of self-criticism and low self-esteem, so learn practical techniques to help you overcome these feelings. This talk is part of the Life Tools programme and attendance counts towards the Life Tools Certificate.

Tuesday 5 March

Positivity tree
All day, RUSU
What are you grateful for? Add your thoughts to our positivity tree to remind yourself and others.

Origami and mindful colouring
13:00 – 14:00 in Palmer 111
Learn how to do origami – an ancient, peaceful craft which enhances mindfulness and relieves stress.

Wednesday 6 March

De-stress leisure bike ride
13:00 – 14:00, meet by the Palmer Building
Cycling is fantastic for both your physical and mental health! Join us for a gentle social ride around campus to help you relax and unwind. Bring your own bike or rent a ReadyBike.

Life Tools talk: Boost your mood to increase productivity
14:00 – 15:00 in Carrington 101
Find out how simple techniques can improve your mood and help you to focus. This talk is part of the Life Tools programme and attendance counts towards the Life Tools Certificate.

Mindful tips for good mental health workshop
15:00 – 16:00 in Palmer 111
Mindfulness helps us to appreciate things that we may take for granted and can help to relieve stress and anxiety. In this workshop you’ll learn practical tips that you can use to help promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

Thursday 7 March

Removing barriers and opening doors to the world of work
13:00 – 14:30 in Chancellors G08
If you have a mental health condition or disability, or you’re feeling like something is holding you back in your search for a placement, part-time job or graduate job, this session will provide you with tips and advice on how to remove barriers and create opportunities for yourself. Free tea and cake will be available. Please log in to MyJobsOnline to book your place.

Life Tools talk: Strengthen your resilience
16:00 – 17:00 in Palmer G01
Learn how to prepare for upcoming challenges and develop a confident mindset. This talk is part of the Life Tools programme and attendance counts towards the Life Tools Certificate.

Friday 8 March

Badminton session
14:00 – 15:00 at the SportsPark
Wind down at the end of the week with a free badminton session, run by Sport in Mind. Beginners welcome

Mindfulness walk with Open Mind society
15:00- 16:00, meet outside the Palmer Building
Take time to de-stress and appreciate the world around you with a mindfulness walk, exploring different parts of the campus including the Harris Garden.

Relaxation session
16:00 – 17:00 in the RUSU relaxation room (upstairs in 3sixty, RUSU)
Take some time to chill out with a relaxation session run by the Open Mind society. Relax in the massage chairs and unwind ready for a productive weekend ahead!

Sunday 10 March

Boxing session with RUBoxing society
16:00 – 17:00 at the SportsPark (dance studio)
Boxing is a great sport for switching off and balancing your mind, as well as keeping fit. Join this beginners session, run by the Boxing society in partnership with Sport in Mind.

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