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Tonight marks the start of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, a celebration that is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ or the ‘Feast of Dedication’, which lasts for eight days and eight nights.

The festival derives from the 2nd century when the Macabees recaptured the Holy Temple from the Greeks in Jerusalem. The first thing that they did in celebration was to light the golden menorah (candelabra). Even though they only found one jar of oil to burn, it burned miraculously for eight days. Still today, many Jews around the world will light a menorah for eight days during Hanukkah to recollect this miracle.

Throughout Hanukkah, each menorah burns through 44 candles, adding one candle each night starting from the right and going to the left. On the final night, all of the candles (including the middle candle which is named the ‘shamash’) are lit up. In addition to this, sufganiyot (small oily doughnuts) and latkes (potato pancakes) are enjoyed throughout the festival also commemorating the miracle of the oil.

Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas and there is also no significance to giving presents during the festival, however it is custom to give money to children as an incentive to learn the Torah at this time (Hanukkah is a word that means ‘dedication’ and also comes from the Hebrew word ‘hinuch’ meaning education).

If you have, or suspect you may have a disability, get in touch with the disability team before Friday 9 February 2018 to make special arrangements.

 

What are special exam arrangements?

Special exam arrangements are put in place to support students with disabilities, long-term medical conditions, mental health or specific learning difficulties and aim to ensure that these students are not disadvantaged as a result of their condition.

Depending on your support needs, arrangements could include being allowed to sit your exam in an alternative location away from the main cohort of students, permission to use a computer, rest breaks or extra time. You can find more examples of special arrangements here.

 

New to the service?

How do I know if I’m eligible?

If you are not sure about what counts as a disability or whether you’re eligible for special exam arrangements, please get in touch with us on 0118 378 4202 or by emailing disability@reading.ac.uk. If you’re on campus, you can also visit the DAS reception the ground floor of the Carrington building between 10am and 4pm, Monday – Friday, and we’ll be happy to help.

How do I apply?

To get the process started, you will need to complete a Disability Advisory Service registration form and provide us with evidence of your disability, long-term medical conditions or specific learning difficulty.

Once you have registered, we will confirm your evidence and you will be asked to confirm that the recommended exam arrangements meet your needs.

 

Already registered with the Disability team?

As you have registered with the University’s Disability Advisory Service, you are eligible to apply for special exam arrangements. It is important that you apply for exam arrangements as soon as possible before the deadline on Friday 9 February 2018 to ensure these can be confirmed and put in place prior to the start of your exams. You can apply for these arrangements by getting in touch with the team on disability@reading.ac.uk . A Disability Adviser will then work with you to identify any reasonable adjustments that could be recommended for your exams, taking into account the information you have provided from your doctor, medical specialist or specific learning difficulties assessor.

If you already have special exam arrangements in place, or have already spoken to a Disability Adviser about the arrangements you would like, you do not need to apply again.

If your support needs change at any time during your course or you have any queries, please do contact us as soon as possible on 0118 378 4202 or at disability@reading.ac.uk

 

Are you an MPhil/PhD student?

Please submit your completed registration form and medical evidence, then book an appointment with a Disability Advisor. At your appointment the Advisor will look at how adjustments can be made to support your studies.

 

Drop in sessions with the Disability Advisory Service:

If you have any questions about the service and how it might be able to support you with exam arrangements, why not attend one of the exam ‘drop-in’ sessions for quick queries:

  • Tuesday 21 November – 2-3pm – Palmer building, room G04
  • Friday 24 November – 2-3pm – Palmer building, room 106

 

For those who celebrate Christmas, it’s all starting to feel quite festive; the decorations are up and your favourite playlist is on. Who couldn’t love the festive season, a time centred on good food, good company and goodwill?

However, amongst all of the mince pie gorging and last-minute present buying stress, it’s worth considering how much we consume and waste over the Christmas season. Here are a few ideas to bear in mind for making your festive season more sustainable and environmentally friendly…

 

  1. Christmas e-cards

One of the first things on the to-do list during the festive season is to organise and send your Christmas Cards. Although cards are wonderful to spread Christmas joy to friends and family, paper can be very wasteful, especially if you throw the cards away after Christmas. As an alternative, why not try an e-card? They are simple to create, can be sent for free via email and more importantly, will save you all that paper usage! Moreover, they are often interactive and can include videos, music and games! See below for some e-card creator suggestions:

Jacquie Lawson Cards

Hallmark e-cards

Blue Mountain Cards

  1. Walk off those mince pies

As the days are cold and the nights dark, it’s only natural that we will take the car out as much as possible when we are out and about buying our Christmas shopping. When you can, try and take public transport, such as a bus or train, or even walk! This will help reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible and therefore make your travelling around from A to B more sustainable. It’s also very easy to slouch on the sofa in front of the telly to take full advantage of the fantastic Christmas films out there this month. However, too much sedentary activity can often make us feel sluggish, so getting out and doing some physical activity will bring many health benefits and keep you feeling fit and healthy over Christmas.

  1. Recycle your wrapping paper

We all have different styles of wrapping your presents: some accidentally cut pieces too small and have to patch up the parcel, others cut pieces too large and trim the paper to fit, leaving small scraps behind. Whatever your style is, it’s important to remember to dispose of any unwanted paper responsibly. Post-present time, you could check that any pieces of paper that are able to be reused are put aside for next year. If they cannot be used, scoop them up into a bag and make sure that all the paper is recycled and not thrown away into landfill.

  1. “Turkey sandwiches… again?!”

Without a doubt, the best part of Christmas is the food. Christmas turkey dinner, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake… the list goes on! However, what might not be quite so good is the amount of food that gets leftover and often, thrown away. To avoid wasting food that is still perfectly edible, plan some Christmas leftover recipes to keep you sustained. For example, leftover Turkey can be made into turkey sandwiches, turkey fajitas or wraps or even a nutritious turkey noodle broth. Alternatively, Brussels sprouts can be mashed together with leftover potatoes to make a delicious fritter (perfect for a Boxing Day breakfast). These leftover recipes all help you prevent excessive food waste as well as allowing you to save ingredients for dinner time for the following days after the 25th December. On Christmas Day itself, be sure to put any food waste, such as potato peelings, into a food recycling receptacle or a compost bin.

  1. Christmas lights out

Twinkly lights certainly spread the magic of Christmas, and there is no moment quite like switching on the Christmas tree lights for the first time of the year. Whilst Christmas lights look pretty be sure to switch them off if people leave the room and there is no one appreciating them. By switching off lights when they are not needed, we can save on light pollution as well as keep our electricity bills down, so when the lights are out, there are pennies being saved in your purse (everyone’s a winner here!)

 

    

 

We are pleased to confirm that following student feedback we have made arrangements for the Library and URS Building to be open for two additional weekends during the forthcoming Christmas vacation period as follows:

  • Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December (9am to 5pm)
  • Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 December (9am to 5pm)

The Library will be open for access to printed books with self-service borrowing and returns.

The URS Building will be open for study (including use of PCS) and self-service borrowing and returns from Course Collection.

Both buildings will be supervised by our Security team. For any Library-related queries, students can seek advice from qualified staff using our online chat service, accessible from the Library homepage.

Full details of Library and URS Building opening hours, including vacation times, are available online.

We are currently working on finalising our opening hours for the Easter vacation period and will confirm details nearer the time.

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

It’s an exciting time of year, Christmas is coming and the autumn term is nearly finished. You’re probably living and interacting with lots of people from different parts of the country – and even the world – experiencing university together.

Whilst nothing should detract from you enjoying this exciting time, sharing your space with so many other people can mean sharing with a few new bugs too.

The most likely bug you’ll catch, particularly as a first year, is ‘freshers’ flu’; however, did you know you are one of the groups which is also at risk of contracting Meningitis? Meningitis is a relatively rare but very serious and fast moving disease. As well as being potentially fatal, it can lead to problems such as brain injury, loss of limbs, and hearing and sight problems.

First things first, are you up to date with your MMR vaccine? This protects against measles, mumps and rubella; infections that can potentially lead to Meningitis, amongst other serious illnesses. Find out more about the MMR vaccine here.

Next, make sure you check out our information below to help you stay aware and protect yourself and others.
How can you get meningitis?       

The Meningococcal bacteria can be passed from one person to another by:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Kissing
  • Sharing kitchen utensils
  • Sharing personal belongings such as a cigarette or toothbrush

What symptoms should I look out for?

  • Meningitis can be deceiving, and early symptoms can appear as other illnesses, such as flu. Even what feels like a hangover could be the first symptoms of the disease.
  • Also look out for: vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, fever, cold hands and feet, sore muscles, pale skin with spots or a rash, severe headache, stiff neck, convulsions, and a dislike of bright lights.
  • You can experience just some or all of these symptoms, in any order.

How can I protect myself?

  • If you haven’t already, make sure you register with a local GP. Have a look at information on local medical practises.
  • Get your vaccination! Once you’ve registered at the GP, ask them about booking a vaccination.
  • Tell a friend if you don’t feel well and equally, look out for your friends. If you recognise signs and symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

More information:

Meningitis Now is a charity which works to raise awareness of the disease, and starting next week on the 19 October, they are holding an awareness week for new students, called ‘Off to uni’. Keep an eye on their website for more details. The campaign aims to make students aware of the new vaccine that protects against strains ACWY. This vaccine is only available to first year students, coming into the University environment for the first time.

NHS Meningitis page

Check for Meningitis symptoms

We hope this helps, but do take a look at our useful links for more information. Don’t let anything get in the way of you having the best time possible at university.

 

 

MONDAY 4th

Christmas Carol Service
6pm, Great Hall, London Road.
Register to attend

RED Award Completion Session
1-2pm, Carrington 201
Click here to register

R.U Not Drinking Much? Society Christmas Quiz
7pm Palmer 104
Click here for more information

 

TUESDAY 5th

The state of LGBTQ Unity / Community debate
6pm, Palmer 109
Register to attend

CV Workshop
1-2pm, Carrington 201
Click here to register

Comedy Central Live ft. Mike Wilmot, Nigel Ng and Harriet Kemsley
7.30pm, Mojo’s Bar.
Book your tickets here

Bible Study WOW Night
7pm, Van Emden Lecture Theatre Edith Morley
Click here to find out more

Reading Film Theatre: Screening ‘The Death of Stalin’ (15)
7.45pm-10pm, Palmer Building
Book your tickets today

 

WEDNESDAY 6th

RUSU Merry FLUXmas
10pm, Students Union
Book your tickets here

Bellydance Society Christmas Formal and Meal
7pm, Pavlov’s Dog
Click here for more information

 

THURSDAY 7th

Sport in Mind – Free tennis drop-in session
2-4pm, Whiteknights Tennis Dome

Reading Film Theatre: Screening ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (12A)
7.45pm-10pm, Palmer Building
Book your tickets today

 

FRIDAY 8th

RUSU DANCE #12 with Wilkinson
10pm, Students Union
Book your tickets here

R.U Not Drinking Much? Society Christmas Film Night!
7pm, Palmer 104
Click here for more information

 

We are aware of the student petition campaigning for more study spaces in addition to those available in the URS Building.

Investment in resources like our Library is really important, but we do understand that the refurbishment is causing disruption to students. There is no good time to undertake a project of this scale so we have worked hard, in consultation with RUSU, to provide the best alternative arrangements that we can while the work takes place.

The petition and response from RUSU has raised some important points that we would like to take the opportunity to address:

  • Library refurbishment timeframe – we are doing all we can to complete the Library refurbishment as quickly as possible, aiming for the Ground and First Floors to re-open in autumn 2018 and for the remaining works to be complete in 2019. We have unfortunately encountered some unforeseen complications during the project, including more asbestos than originally anticipated, which has caused delays. We are continually exploring opportunities to accelerate the refurbishment work and to consider the possible implications of this, including how to fund additional costs.
  • Using the Chancellor’s Building for study space – Library Supervisors can request for the Chancellor’s Building to be opened at weekends if the URS Building reaches capacity.
  • Information provided to prospective students – at our recent 2017 Open Days we handed out postcards to prospective students to provide information about the Library refurbishment, explaining that it is due for completion in 2019 and that study furniture and other resources have been moved to the URS Building temporarily. This information was included in the briefing for students and staff working at the events and is also available on our website. The decision to relocate study space to the URS Building during the Library refurbishment works was made in January 2017, and information was provided to prospective students at all subsequent Open Days, as well as on our website and social media.
  • Free Room Finder – We have received some suggestions to enhance the Free Room Finder to make it an even more useful resource for students, including for the time slots to be adjusted into 15, 30, 60 and 120 minute blocks, for the ‘Useful links’ to be permanently displayed on the page, and for permanently available study space to be listed at the top of the page. Our IT team have been working on this and the latter two changes should be complete by the end of next week. The development work to adjust the time slots will be ready for the start of the new term in January.

We are continuing to identify opportunities to make improvements to study space. For example, we are creating over 100 new spaces in Halls and we will be launching a new Study Space Map very soon. We will keep you updated on our Library refurbishment webpage.

 

Study space across our campuses

There are around 600 study spaces in the URS Building, which increases to 800 at weekends and during vacation periods when the Large Lecture Theatre is not in use (there is a limit due to fire safety on the total occupancy of the building). The full 800 spaces will also be in place during the exam period.

Do not forget about the anti-desk-hogging service that library staff run in URS – speak to staff at the Reception desk by the main entrance or the Information Desk next to the Course Collection on the ground floor if you see unattended spaces apparently “booked” with belongings.

As well as the URS Building, there are 900 other study spaces across the Whiteknights and London Road campuses. You can find out about these in a number of ways, including:

 

There’s more information on the Library refurbishment project page.

We are delighted to announce that we have won a prestigious Green Gown Award for our achievements in reducing carbon emissions. The annual Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges Green Gown Awards are a celebration of sustainability achievements across the higher education sector.

In December 2016, Reading hit its target of reducing carbon emissions by 35% compared to a 2008/9 baseline, delivering a 63,000 tonne reduction of CO2 and £17.1 million in cumulative savings.

 

Student Sustainability Award

The University’s Sustainability team has recently launched the Student Sustainability Award, a new scheme to help students get involved with environmental issues that matter to them during their time at Reading. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Sustainability team to help shape the University’s strategy for becoming more environmentally friendly. Activities are flexible and could include anything from producing a video or piece of writing to organising events on campus.

Any time spent volunteering as part of the programme can be used towards the Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award.

Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Manager at the University of Reading, said: Winning a Green Gown Award for our carbon reduction achievements is a great endorsement of how far we have come in the last few years. Our work to date has demonstrated that practical, cost effective solutions can be delivered on a large scale to make real impacts.

“The launch of our new Student Sustainability Award during our annual Green Festival is an exciting new step in enabling our students to take a central role in making the University a more environmentally friendly place to study and to work, and we look forward to supporting a new generation of sustainability advocates.”

 

Green Festival

Last week, the University hosted its annual Green Festival – a week-long series of events designed to educate students and staff on green issues and to encourage them to become more environmentally sustainable in their everyday activities. This year’s events included a talk on careers in the green sector, tours of the University’s Energy Centre, a session on bike skills and David Attenborough Day, where students could watch back-to-back documentaries in the Students’ Union.

 

Sustainability achievements

In October 2017, the University was named among the top five universities in England for reducing its carbon emissions by the University Carbon Report 2015/16, published by sustainability consultants Brite Green.

More recently, Reading was also ranked joint 16th in the People and Planet University League 2017, which is a comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.

For more details on the University’s Sustainability Services, please go to: www.reading.ac.uk/sustainability-services

This week saw the celebration of our Chancellor’s Awards, which recognise the highest achieving students from across the University.

66 students who achieved top results in their subject at the end of either their first or second year of study attended a reception hosted by the Chancellor, The RT Hon. The Lord Waldegrave of North Hill PC, William Waldegrave, and the Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell. RUSU’s Education Officer, Ed White, handed out the awards and each student also received a keepsake yearbook with the winners’ names, photos and profiles.

Of the 66 winners, 11 were recipients of the award for the second time. In addition to the family and friends of the winners, the ceremony was also attended by senior University staff and colleagues from academic departments.

Congratulations to all the winners!

We are pleased to announce that we will be creating over 100 new study spaces across our Halls of Residence which should be ready for use in the New Year.

We understand study space is a priority for our students and have been working to identify opportunities to create additional spaces where possible. This new project will see the University working with UPP to refurbish a number of currently underutilised spaces in our Halls, and to install new furniture to create a productive study environment for students.

The locations of these new study spaces are as follows:

  • Wessex Library
  • St Georges Computer Room
  • Wantage Computer Room
  • Stenton JCR
  • Childs JCR
  • Mackinder JCR

As these spaces are located in Halls, their use will be specifically for student residents and their guests. We believe the spaces will provide a convenient study option for students living in Halls, whilst also freeing up space elsewhere across our campuses.

Work is scheduled to start in January 2018, with the aim that the spaces will be open by the end of February. As with all building work scheduled around Halls, any noisy works will be limited to take place between 9am and 5pm.

 

Study space across our campuses

We have provided some helpful resources to make it easier for students to find a suitable space to study. These can be easily accessed through our Library refurbishment project page, and include:

Library staff in the URS Building at the Information Desk or Reception will be happy to try and help or advise students looking for study space.

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

 

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