Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hello from your VP Academic Affairs - Alex Slater

From everyone within RUSU I would like to give you a massive warm welcome. I'm your VP Academic Affairs, so responsible for making sure that all your concerns are heard within your courses and what-not.
Another concern of ours as a team is making sure that you have the best possible time during freshers week, involving everything with your new halls and the experiences you have during the day. Make sure you keep an eye out because I know that it has become our own personal missions to make sure that we talk to as many of you as physically possible, getting to know you, and more importantly, you getting to know what we have on offer for you.

So, now we have the introductions out the way, lets move onto business... 4 DAYS until all you lovely new students first make an appearance as part of the University of Reading, or if you are a returning student we are SOO excited about having you back (more than you can imagine...campus has been a ghost town). 

Here are some of the projects your sabbatical team have prepared for you:

COURSE REPS! We have made them nice and new with a couple of changes within the ways in which they are run. They are smoother, better looking, and most importantly...WILL HELP YOU GET A JOB WHEN YOU DO (eventually) LEAVE UNI!

RUSU Registration! Don't forget to register on our website so that you can buy your union tickets from the comfort of your rooms (this may not seem like much now with the sun shinning, however on those cold, winter days when it is pouring with rain you will be grateful). This also gives you the chance to get involved in everything that we do. Easy as pie to do, however, we left a card in your hall rooms/ your JCR gave you one just to make it that bit easier.

Well that's all I am going to tell you about for now, simply to make sure that you don't get bored. Keep an eye out for us night and day (as we will be somewhere) and we hope to talk to you all.

Lots of love

Alex Slater

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The best cooking resources for students

For some of you, your time at university will be the first time you've had to fully cater for yourself. While it's tempting to live on microwave meals, toast and beans, it's often cheaper and healthier to cook your own food from scratch.

We've already shared the best best quick, cheap and nutritional meals to cook as a student, as suggested by our current students. Now, we'd like to share with you our favourite resources to get you started.

iPhone apps

Good Food
There are several Good Food apps, ranging from One Pot recipes to suggestions for Cooking with Friends. The Quick Recipes app is great for whipping something up when you're short on time. They're £1.99 per app - considerably cheaper than your average cook book.

The Epicurious App is another worthy download (and it's free!). It's got recipes for all skills, including an 'I can barely cook' section, filled with 8,435 recipes, and a section for those who are more advanced. The downside is that it's American, so you'll have to deal with cups, pounds and pints.

Oh, and you can add the ingredients to the shopping list section, complete with tick boxes. Handy.

Android apps Dinner Spinner
The Dinner Spinner app lets you find the perfect recipe with just a couple of taps. You choose the course, the main ingredient and how long you have, and it'll give you your options. You can also shake the phone for a random option. It's free too.

Big Oven
Big Oven is packed full of 170,000 recipes. The great thing about this app, is the 'Use Up Leftovers' section. Usefule for Thursday nights when the only things you've got left in your fridge are an egg, some sad looking spinach and some leftover chicken from yesterday's dinner.

We've already mentioned this one in the iPhone app section, but it's also available for Android devices.

Useful Websites

BBC Good Food
We've talked about the iPhone app, but the Good Food website is definitely worth adding to your bookmarks. It's got something for everyone, and the food articles are always interesting.

Jamie Oliver
If you prefer your recipes a little more 'throw in a bit of this and a bit of that', then Jamie's website is probably for you. It's all fairly simple to cook, and there's a section on budget meals that's made for students really. Be aware though, that his 20-minute meals rarely take that long - unless you have someone else preparing everything for you and washing up afterwards.

Delia Smith
You can't learn how to cook without a little help from Delia. Her website caters for those with little time (the under 30 minutes section) and even has a coupon section so you can save money on your weekly shop.

That's just a few online resources for cooking. Where do you go for cooking tips? Do you have an app or cook book you'd recommend? Or any top tips? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Top Ten Welfare Tips

Visa Credit CardImage by Images_of_Money via FlickrLeaving home for the first time? Are you ready for what will quite possibly be, the best fortnight of your life so far? Check out our tips on how to make the most of it safely…

1. Budget
Prioritise what is a 'need' and what really is only a 'want'. The last thing you want to do is miss out due to insufficient funds. Not cool. Have a look at our 'Managing your money' advice.

2. Be prepared
Buying all your essentials, books (Blackwell have a reserve online, collect in store facility) and of course fancy dress, before you get here means you have more time to spend meeting people, getting involved and settling in to your new surroundings.

A Master Lock brand padlock.Image via Wikipedia
3. Lock up your belongings
Doors, windows and bikes are the most obvious hazards. Halls are safe places but are very open, especially during Fresher’s Week. Only take out what is necessary and keep everything else out of sight. Don’t become a statistic!

4. Eating is not cheating
Alcohol can play an important part in which direction your night takes. If booze becomes the focal point, you could find your good time takes a turn for the worse. Make sure you eat before going out and drink plenty of water or you'll regret it in the morning.

5. Keep safe at night
Don't walk home alone, whether it’s from the library or 3sixty, stick with your friends. Use taxis, ideally with a group of friends to share the cost (see point 1 – Budget!). Whilst walking try not to use your headphones or mobile phone as these can decrease your awareness.

VegtablesImage by Arizona Parrot via Flickr6. Remember your 5 a day
You can’t live off takeaways forever! Why not pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables from our Fresh Produce Market on Mondays in 3sixty.

7. Look after you
Your JCR, the Students' Union Advice Team and your VP Welfare and Representation are all here to help. You only need to ask.

Cat Sleeping WellImage by -bartimaeus- via Flickr8. Get your beauty sleep
A well-rested mind and body means you won’t miss out on anything.

9. Have fun, play safe
Nobody has a body to die for! Safe sex is always better. Free condoms are available from the Students' Union Hub and through your JCR.

10. Challenge yourself and try something new
With over 130 sports clubs and societies, 3 student media groups, campaigns, events and a whole host of volunteering opportunities, you will never have a better chance to get involved! Have a look around our website to discover the many new adventures you can embark on.

What are your top welfare tips?