Students take part in major incident training

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A commercial airliner disaster was the scenario for a major incident training exercise for students at Glenside campus last week!

In one of the most ambitious simulation exercises hosted by the University to date, a section of a Boeing 737 aircraft was transported onto campus and a crash site wreckage was staged.

Over three days, 505 individuals took part in the exercise, including paramedic, nursing and physician students who worked alongside external emergency services professionals to respond to the incident, with actors and drama students playing the role of injured passengers.

Forensic science students also took part in the final aspect of the simulation on Friday, collecting evidence from the scene for an investigation into the incident.

Some students who participated in the training exercise will be called to give evidence in a simulated public enquiry into the disaster on Wednesday 30 June at the Law School on Frenchay campus.

The action was also captured by filmmaking students and BBC Points West who covered the simulation exercise on their evening programme on 23 June.

Keep your money safe from fraudsters

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by Avon and Somerset Police

We want to make you aware of a scam currently circulating on WeChat targeting international students.

What’s the scam?

After a recommendation from a friend, victims are joining a WeChat group where a fraudster is claiming to be selling low-price flight tickets to China.

How is the crime committed?

Victims are sending money for these flight tickets and being told they are able to get a refund at any time before the tickets are issued. Nearer the time of the flight, victims aren’t being issued their tickets and when trying to get a refund, the suspect becomes uncontactable.

How to avoid it happening to you

Do not respond to unsolicited messages on social media or chat platforms. Fraudsters will often offer fares that are a lot lower than their competitors which can be a warning sign. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Only book flights through recognised firms. Here’s some advice on how to spot a reputable one:

  • Look for whether the agent is an IATA license holder. The majority are, and if so, they are required to issue tickets immediately on full payment.
  • A few agents do buy in legitimate tickets from other companies which will have an ATOL license – ask for a confirmation invoice from the ATOL holder supplying the ticket.
  • In both cases, full details of the flights and itinerary should be shown along with a six digit number (the PNR – Passenger Name Record) – which is the unique id for your flight reservations – check this to make sure your ticket is genuine.
  • Preferably pay by credit card and avoid paying directly into a private individual’s bank account.

If you are the victim of fraud you can report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or on their website.

Moving out soon?

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Moving out of your accommodation over the next few weeks? We know that it can be stressful, so we’ve pulled together some top-tips to help you sort, move and recycle your stuff!

Before you start

Source some large bags or cardboard boxes – and a Sharpie for labelling. Your local supermarket should be able to give you some boxes if you ask (or just scan the shelves for empties. And have snacks at the ready – consider it fuel!

Make sure you check the bin collection dates: Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

On the day

Crack out a good playlist to keep you motivated and pace yourself. Focus on one room at a time. You’ll see progress quicker that way too!

When clearing out your stuff think:

  • What do I want to keep? Bag it.
  • What do I want to donate or sell? Pass it on.
  • What am I going to recycle? Sort it.
  • What do I need to dispose of? Bin it.

Donating or selling

Want to shift some clothes, books or kitchen stuff you don’t think you want to keep? Give it to your local charity shop or one of the British Heart Foundation donation banks across Bristol – your junk could be someone else’s treasure!

If you want to sell or give items away online try Freecycle, Gumtree, eBay, Depop, Vinted or Facebook Marketplace and local groups.

And don’t forget about The Bristol Big Give. The Bristol Big Give is an annual campaign helping students to get rid of quality unwanted, reusable items while helping to raise vital cash for charity.

Recycling

It can be tempting to just chuck what you don’t want in the bin, rather than recycle. But every time you choose recycling over rubbish, you’re doing your bit for the planet!

Cardboard, paper, glass, cans/tins and plastic can all be recycled ‘kerbside’ – so drag your boxes up to your front door and chuck in as much as you can (remembering to sort it as per your local council’s instructions and collection dates!)

Non-recyclable waste

Remember, anything that goes in your black bin goes into landfill or incineration, so the less in your black but the better!

But if you do have to get rid of stuff, non-recyclable waste should go back in your black bin only and must fit in the bin itself eg. the lid must close. Fly tipping (dumping of waste) is illegal and can incur a fine of up to £50,000.

That’s a pricey clear out!

More waste than you can handle?

If you have large items to dispose of, or more waste than will fit in your black bin you have two options:

This year thanks to the Students on the move ccccccampaign, you only need to provide your student ID at the Bristol centres. You may be asked for ID to prove that you live in the local area for South Gloucestershire.

Happy sorting!

Equity blog post

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by Equity

The Equity programme has now come to an end for the year and this will be our last blog post before the new term.

This year it was great to have some events and sessions taking place in person, as well as some online events. We were also nominated for Team of the Year award at the Welfare Awards 2022 and although we lost out to the SU Advice Centre it was an honour to be recognised.

What have you said about Equity this year?

Throughout the year we’ve had some great feedback from you about the Equity programme with many saying it provided an, ” inclusive and safe space to talk about [their] experience as a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student” and helped them to gain “a sense of belonging”.

Many also mentioned how they “learnt useful skills such as how to professionally deal with a conflict of interest” and “felt more confident after every session”.

One student also said that Equity had “made [them] feel like [they] mean something, matter and can achieve [their] goals, even if [they] sometimes don’t feel [they] can.” They also said it empowered and motivated them in their wider university life.

And finally when asked about their expectations for the Equity module, 43% said it met expectations and 57% said exceeded expectations.

Planning is underway for the launch of Equity programme 2022/23 so make sure you join us next year for more exciting events.

In case you missed it…

The Ashford Essay competition – deadline Friday 17 June 2022

The competition is a positive action activity open to all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students across campuses. You are tasked with writing an essay, answering the question that corresponds with your level of study during the 2021/22 academic year.

If successful you could win one of eight cash prizes up to £1,000.

Feel free to share our post with your friends to help grow our Equity network. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’re here to support you and if you have any questions or ideas for Equity please feel free to contact us at equity@uwe.ac.uk.

We hope you have a lovely summer and we look forward to seeing you in the Autumn term!

Mental Health Awareness week

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Today marks the first day of the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week for 2022, an annual event where there is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. The theme of the week this year is loneliness.

Loneliness is the negative feeling we have when there is a mismatch between the relationships we want and the ones we have, both in terms of quality and quantity. Loneliness is feeling alone, not being alone.

As a student, it is likely that you will be experiences many life changes, including starting university, making new friends, moving away from home for the first time, and so many other changes too. Experiencing changes and making life decisions can have an impact on our sense of belonging, and a perceived lack of belonging can be linked to an increased feeling of loneliness.

Loneliness is very closely linked to mental health, and can be a cause and an effect of poor mental health. If we feel lonely, it might lead to poor mental health, and if our mental health is poor, it can lead to feelings of loneliness.

So what can we do to tackle loneliness?

The Mental Health Foundation’s Unlocking Loneliness Campaign highlights 15 things to do if you’re feeling lonely, including:

Explore your feelings

Think about how you are feeling and what could be contributing to this. It can be useful to keep a journal and note down what you have (or haven’t) been doing, and how you are feeling. By better understanding what makes us feel- the way we feel, we can do more to learn what works for us and protect our mental health.

Be aware of social media

Remember to take social media with a pinch of salt. People tend to post the positive aspects of their lives. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have negative experiences and may be feeling lonely too. If social media is having a negative impact on your mental health, or making you feel lonely, why not try unfollowing or muting the accounts that bring up those difficult feelings, and start following accounts that make you feel empowered

Find your tribe

Finding people with similar interests you can relate to can help you feel more connected. University clubs and societies are a great place to start, UWE MOVE, Centre for Music and Student Life are brilliant places to meet new people too. There are also sites like Meetup specifically designed to help you find people with similar interests. Give a go and see!

Find balance

The increased workload at university can make it easy to neglect looking after yourself and making time for the things and the people that you care about. Being disconnected from these things can increase your feelings of loneliness, so remember to schedule in time for you and the things you enjoy too.

How can you get involved in Mental Health Awareness week?

On social media, we are encouraging you to share your experiences of loneliness using the hashtag #IveBeenThere to support others and raise awareness.

If you’re looking for a challenge, sign up to the Mental Health Foundation’s 80 Miles in May Challenge, to walk, run or jog the distance over the month, to raise funds and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation.

Resources to support your mental health

Check out our Tackling loneliness webpage or the Student Guide to Loneliness, for lots of advice, tips and information about how to support yourself, as well as organisations that are there to listen to and support you.

The NHS also have extensive expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your own wellbeing, on their Every Mind Matters webpage.

If you need someone to listen

The Mix – whether you want a quick chat or more focused help, text THEMIX to 85258

Shout – if you are struggling to cope and need to talk, day or night, text SHOUT to 85258

Student Space – for one-to-one student support for whatever challenges you are facing, text STUDENT to 85258

Samaritans – whatever you are going through, you can call Samaritans anytime. Call free on 116 123

Equity blog post

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by the Equity Team

We’ve got lots of opportunities and activities to get involved in over the next few months – read on to make sure you don’t miss out!

The Ashfords Equity essay competition is now open!

The competition is a positive action activity open to all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students across campuses. You are tasked with writing an essay, answering the question that corresponds with your level of study during the 2021/22 academic year. If successful you could win one of eight cash prizes.

Contribute to the second issue of The Zine

The Zine is a platform for students to share their experiences and thoughts related to the topics of decolonisation and diversity. You can download and read the first issue from the decolonising the library webpage.

The first issue has been well received by students and staff, leading to discussions and actions. So, this is your opportunity to share your stories and experiences, and help us to develop an anti-racist, more inclusive and more diverse culture at UWE Bristol!

The final deadline for contributions is Friday 10 June 2022. For more info on how to contribute, visit the call for contributions webpage.

Black men talk health workshop

Join the free, online workshop for Black, African and Asian men on Thursday 28 April from 12:00-13:30. The workshop will explore emotional wellbeing and distress and will include a key note speech from Mayor Marvin Rees. Register here.

Calling final year students

If you’re working on your final year project with a core focus that sits within one or more of these disciplines: Innovation, Usability, Product Design, Mechanical Engineering or Electronics and Software, then the Ethnic Diversity Excellence Programme might be for you.

The programme offers an invaluable opportunity for three students from minority Ethnic and Heritage communities to take part in a funded 8 week internship at Kinneir Dufort. If you want to know more or if you have questions, join the webinar on Wednesday 20 April from 16:00 – 17:00.

Have you been offered a sandwich year placement?

Congratulations! Placement years give you invaluable industry experience and we’re so excited for you to embark on this journey.

So what next? To prevent any complications with registering for a sandwich year and to ensure the opportunity is the safest and most suitable option for you, complete the placement approval form as soon as possible. Find out what you need to do before and during you placement on the placement web pages.

You can also attend one of our virtual pre-departure briefings to receive full support and guidance on your first week, making a good first impression, managing your money and more. Our next one is on Wednesday 27 April at 14:00 but we also have sessions in May, June and July if you’d rather attend after the assessment period. Take a look at all our placement events here.

Employability opportunities

Health and Applied Sciences Widening Participation intern

If you are passionate about Race Equality and making a real impact, this role might be for you! The role offers interns the opportunity to gain experience and contribute to the provision of support to students who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences. Find out more >

UWE Summer internship scheme

The 2022 Undergraduate Internship Scheme is a chance to find and participate in an eight-week internship over the summer to gain valuable work experience in a range of employment sectors. Find out more >

Police Constable recruitment

Wiltshire Police will be launching their Police Constable recruitment on 25 April. If you’re interested register here.

Other events of interest

Cables & Cameras presents: Framing Female Films

This is a screening and celebration of female producers and directors from Bristol and the surrounding regions.

We’ll explore stories from the commonwealth, to the Windrush generation,
unpacking and discussing intersectionality and identity, to the experiences of non-binary persons of colour in the UK.

The screening will take place at 19:30 on Friday 22 April at The Cube Cinema. Book your tickets here.

Celebrating Culture Conference

Save the date! In collaboration with The Students’ Union we’ll be hosting the Celebrating Culture Conference taking place on Friday 6 May. Details to follow!

Feel free to share our post with your friends to help grow our Equity network. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We’re here to support you and if you have any questions or ideas for Equity please feel free to contact us at equity@uwe.ac.uk.

March Feel Good Focus

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By the Feel Good Team

Thank you for Feel Good February

We wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone that attended and helped out with Feel Good February.

We loved hosting these events and we hope that you enjoyed attending and entering our competitions. Stay in touch with us on social media and we’ll see you for other Feel Good events later in the year!

Did you know March is Women’s History Month?

There’s lots going on for Women’s History Month including a wellbeing Yoga Nidra session, a talk by the Clifton Suspension Bridge Master, weekly film reviews, and much more! All the events can be found on the events diary. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

#Find15

As the weather is getting a nicer, and the days are getting longer, exercising outside might become less daunting. Going for a short walk outside increases our oxygen levels which boots serotonin levels and improves our moods.

And with it being spring, it’s a great time to get outside and see all the wildlife and the flowers blooming. Perhaps when you’re on a short walk, tags us using #find15 to show us how you find 15 in your day to help improve your wellbeing.

It’s important to make sure you find time throughout your day to take a step back and be mindful. Whether this is by walking, having a bath, watching a show, cooking your favourite meal or meditating. Whatever works best for you, it will help you feel good.

Additional support

The conflict in Ukraine has created great anxiety for many, particularly those in our community from Ukraine but also those from Russia and other neighbouring countries, and those whose families and friends may be affected.

We would like to remind our students that we are here to support you and that our wellbeing services are on offer for anyone who has been affected by the events unfolding in Ukraine.

Our fantastic Advice Centre team are on hand to provide you with friendly, non-judgemental, and confidential support. We also have a range of wellbeing services available to all students and the Global centre for international student support.

Equity blog post

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by Equity

We hope your assessments have gone well and that you’re back in the swing of your studies.

Things you might have missed…

We started the year with the good news that the University has dropped the use of the BAME acronym and will use more specific terms to describe someone’s ethnicity. You can read the full article on the UWE Bristol website.

On the 9th March, we hosted a watch party of Bobbi O’Gilvie’s original Networking to Succeed webinar. Speaking to students after the event, they said they liked how Bobbi linked to anecdotes making the points relatable especially when talking about the anxiety of networking. They also appreciated how she encouraged networking when you feel it’s necessary rather than pushing it as something to be doing all the time. And they also liked her suggestion of reducing networking anxiety by giving yourself a script to follow.

You can catch up with Bobbi’s webinar and others on our Equity webpage.

Things to get involved in…

Become a PAL leader

PAL leaders play an important role in supporting their fellow students during their time at University. There are a variety of roles on offer and it’s a great opportunity for you to learn soft skills such as planning and organisation as well as learning mentoring and communication skills.

There’s also the option to undertake the ILM Level 3 Award in Mentoring which will help you stand out to employers when you graduate.

Things to look out for…

Ashford Essay Competition 2022

Last year saw a good calibre of essays from UWE students and Ashford’s said they were grateful to all who entered and found it hard to pick winners. Ashford’s picked their top four essays from students across faculties with each winner receiving prize money of £1,500.

The competition is open to Black Asian and Minority Ethnic students and we’ll be announcing the details of the 2022 competition very soon!

Celebrating Culture Conference

Soon we’ll also be sharing the details of our end of year Equity event in collaboration with the Students’ Union taking place in May 2022.

For any further information visit our Equity webpage and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And feel free to share this post with friends and help build the Equity network!

University Mental Health day

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by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity team

Following the events of Feel Good February, we’re continuing the promote the importance of practising self-care and managing your mental wellbeing with University Mental Health Day on Thursday 3 March, founded by Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network.

Learning more about mental health

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England , with 1 in 6 people reporting a common mental health problem in any given week .

These include, but are not limited to: anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While they are not mental health diagnoses, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm are also related to mental health.

Supporting your mental health

Professional services

Whether you’re living with a condition, know, or are supporting someone who is, it’s important that you seek out daily and long-term support. UWE Bristol are proud to feature a range of professional health and wellbeing services to support you, that include out of hours support and are also partnered with local organisations such as Off the Record and Bristol Mental Health, endeavouring to provide you with an extensive range of care.

Exercise

Exercise is also a great way to raise endorphins and the free MOVE programme at the Centre for Sport, offers over 40 activities for you to engage in, including: dance, hiking, mediation, Tai Chi, and yoga. If you require quiet and self-reflection, there are sanctuary spaces across all campuses and the Student Centre based on Frenchay Campus, is also home to the out of-hours team on the first floor. If you require pastoral support, 2OCT003 based in The Octagon is a 5-minute walk from there.

Diet

Diet can also impact mental wellbeing and the University strives to offer a range of nutritious food and drink outlets on all campuses that accommodate dietary requirements including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free and are open to any recommendations to diversify their options.

There are also Hydration stations located throughout each of the campuses to encourage you to work towards drinking 1.5 to 2.3 litres of water a day, as recommended by the NHS. Water has many benefits, including improved focus, boosting your immune system, and mood maintenance, so you could also combine a short walk to a station in another building and get some fresh air to maintain those endorphins.

How to get involved in University Mental Health day

Get involved by inspiring conversations, taking action, and creating change through hosting an event, signposting a friend to the available resources or sharing your experience on social media using #UniMentalHealthDay.

No one should ever feel alone with their mental health, so we encourage you to engage with the links embedded within this post or to speak with your personal tutor for further support.

Why I applied to be a PAL leader

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by Max, BA(Hons) Philosophy and PAL leader

Becoming a PAL Leader is about more than the added income, ability to undertake the ILM L3 in Effective Mentoring, or having some experience on your CV. It’s about having fun and making an impact with students who are going through the same thing you have just been through!

In this post I want to talk a bit more about the other sides of being a PAL Leader, that might not seem so obvious.

What do I do as a PAL leader?

What I really love about being a PAL Leader is how flexible the work is. At the end of the day, you’re there to help the students and facilitate their success at UWE.

This means that you help on a range of topics, from managing money, preparing for second year, or thinking about careers, on top of all the usual course-related content, like essay planning or even discussing particular books/topics as a group.

I have a handful of semi-planned sessions for some of the above key topics, but otherwise I will find out what my students want the following week and come prepared with a handful of resources – and maybe a toned back presentation (always using a Mentimeter where possible!) This means that outside of the timetabled session, there really isn’t much preparation required, as the training helps you deliver quality content and the rest of it comes from your experiences.
I haven’t had any other job quite like it. The flexibility truly makes it interesting, every single week.

Why did I apply?

  • For the chance to help students through things I struggled with. Ensuring that the next cohort get to enjoy all the tips and tricks that I picked up, through trial and error.
  • To make a positive impact and legacy on my course, ensuring the year below are going to enjoy the course just as much as I have – that’s where it’s really about applying your personal experience and sharing what you’ve learned with them.
  • To develop myself as a well-rounded individual. It’s rare that you get the opportunity to develop mentoring skills so early in your career, so this was a great introduction to that.

My favourite moments

During the uncertainty of the the last couple of years, it meant a lot to my students that I could facilitate a safe space for them to share and speak up, where they wouldn’t feel confident doing so in the larger lecturers/seminars.
There are both direct and indirect moments that you can help and an indirect one for me was getting their feedback about a particular extra-curricular session they had last term. I was able to take this and work with the lecturers to facilitate these sessions again this term. The students were very grateful that I went out of my way and helped arrange something that they wouldn’t have done themselves.

What have I learnt?

I’ve learned many great soft and hard skills as a PAL leader, while at the same time working and developing some skills I already picked up from previous jobs.

Organisation and the ability to be agile

The role taught me to plan a session in a matter of days and then successfully time manage within that session. It was also key to understand the balance of having enough material to fill an hour, but also not have too much that we can’t go off plan and discuss something completely different that the students want.
It’s also about not being phased if no one contributes, or if you don’t make it past the first planned exercise. As long as you can provide value to the students, then you have succeeded in that session.

Professionalism and responsibility

You’re a lifeline to students, who really value getting your insight. It’s not just about having a chat with them for an hour but delivering meaningful content that has a positive impact. And where necessary, signposting or flagging important issues to the relevant staff.

How to mentor, engage and lead classes

This is brilliant experience if you’re interested in a career in teaching but also great to show varied experience on your CV. I was able to work on my training skills from a previous job but now I can also show how I adapted them to a different setting and audience.

Thank you for taking some time to read my post, for more information on the PAL leader role check out the Be a PAL Leader web page and have a think if this is a role you can make your own and leave a lasting positive impact on fellow students.

You might not realise just how much you’ll enjoy!

The 2022/23 PAL Leader application window is now open until 1st May 2022.

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