Monday, 20 February 2012

Fairtrade Fashion Show with a Body-Positive Message

The International Fairtrade Certification Mark
Image via Wikipedia
Guest post from Carys Williams.

This Fairtrade Fortnight Reading University Fairtrade Society and Reading University Women’s Campaign are hosting a Fairtrade Fashion Show! The show will take place on the 9th of March in 3sixty.

On the night, in addition to a catwalk featuring local Fairtrade clothes and accessories, we will have dresses designed by students using Fairtrade material. If anybody would like to make a dress please contact the Fairtrade Society.

There will also be performances from the Bellydance and Singer Songwriter Societies and stalls organised by the Women’s Campaign, Travel Society, RUDDIYS, Campus Central and Traidcraft. This includes a clothes swap and Fairtrade baskets for sale!

The show aims to promote awareness of Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight. This year’s national campaign is “Take a Step” towards going Fairtrade and we hope to spread the word! Fairtrade cotton is one of the least bought Fairtrade products in the UK, but through raising awareness at events like this we hope that this will change!

This year’s campaign run by the Women’s Campaign intends to spread the body positive word by way of a poster campaign on campus and through the Fashion Show. The campaign aims to alleviate our doubts about our looks, and to promote variety and diversity in style and outward appearance.

Everyone is welcome! Tickets cost £3 with NUS and £4 for guests.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Don’t think volunteering is for you?

Would you spend at least three years at university writing essays, attending 9am seminars and toiling away in the library if you weren't going to wear a silly hat at the end of it all, shake the Vice Chancellor’s hand and most importantly, be awarded a degree? The answer, for most of you I imagine, is no. Just like you probably wouldn't particularly enjoy working till the early hours in 3sixty and not getting paid for your hard work.
Some of you might be thinking that this is exactly what volunteers do…work for no pay.
I am hoping Student Volunteering Week will change that view…
English: A KAMS student gives back to the comm...
Image via Wikipedia
Volunteering can be picking up litter or sorting clothes in a charity shop but it can also involve running boat trips for the Kennett and Avon Canal Trust or helping the police train sniffer dogs! RUSU’s volunteering policy for a start ensures that you will never be working to replace paid staff. The charities and community groups attending the volunteering fayre are all really in need of your support and volunteering can give you so much more than something to pad out your CV.
So, to help persuade those of you who aren’t too keen, take a look at the top reasons to volunteer below:
  • Recent research shows that those who volunteer to help others (as opposed to themselves i.e. not for personal gain), live longer than those who don’t volunteer
  • Develop a new skill – learn to produce music at a local youth centre, become an expert cake maker working with residents at Lakeside Care Home…many volunteering opportunities also provide training in counselling, public speaking, first aid - all of which benefit you
  • Meet people in the community! Escape the bubble of campus and meet a whole new range of people, some of whom may become good friends. Volunteering can be a very sociable activity and a great insight to the way different people live 
  • English: Curriculum Vitae
    Image via Wikipedia
    Sense of achievement – There are opportunities to get awards from both the University and Students’ Union and your volunteering can also go towards the RED Award. But more than that, volunteering gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside. It sounds cheesy, but if you help give a child the confidence to fling themselves down a slide at an adventure park or help Cancer Research fundraise in Reading town centre you will feel a great sense of personal satisfaction 
  • It does boost your career opportunities! A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses:
    • 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
    • 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills 
    • 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted
You can draw upon your volunteering to answer all sorts of questions in job interviews: tell us about a time you worked as a team… (the perfect question for many volunteers!)
  • New interests, opportunities and experiences! You never know, by helping on a sports project coaching children with disabilities, you may find that you actually really enjoy badminton and end up playing socially on a regular basis. Through your volunteering you could travel abroad and even meet celebrities – like our Duke of Edinburgh Society who even got to meet royalty as a result of their volunteering! 
Take a look at this Guardian article about other University students and their volunteering. Get involved, escape the student bubble and immerse yourself in the culture you live in! 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Five ways to get your CV noticed

Image via The Italian Voice on Flickr
Looking to apply for jobs now that your degree is almost finished? Great! Trouble is, you're going up against  a lot of other graduates - from this year and last year.

So, how do you stand out? These days, a simple paper CV doesn't cut the mustard. With so many resources available to you, from Facebook to YouTube and online design packages, there's no reason why you can't be creative and make your CV something that potential employers want to see.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

Match your CV to your industry
First things first, what industry are you hoping to go into? If you're looking to go into a creative industry, like advertising, social media, design or film, incorporating some of the skills you have into your CV would be wise.

For example:
  • If you want a job in print media, consider making your CV look like a newspaper front cover - highlighting your best points in the headlines. 
  • Want a job in visual media? Consider turning your CV into a video. Have a look below for some ideas of how you can do that.
  • Considering a job with a management basis? Consider turning your CV into a report, demonstrating how you can help the company with your skills.
  • Want a career in maths, or geography? Turn your CV into a series of graphs, or a map of achievements
Essentially, you need to think about what skills you want to showcase, then work out how to use them to create your CV.

Use your Design skills
If you're into graphic design, or know someone else who is, considering giving your CV a real design makeover to stand out. Check out some of the suggestions on Mashable, which range from an interactive Facebook page to the infographic below.

Make your CV Social Media savvy
One of the smartest things to do with your CV, is to make it so engaging that it's shared across social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and YouTube. Graeme Anthony created an interactive video CV - and it went viral. His video spread like wildfire through social media, and he landed a job within a few days.

QR Codes, Business Cards and Websites
If you're willing to invest a little time in creating a CV online (try LinkedIn, or Innovate CV), you could try a little guerrilla marketing. Try going to a business car provider like, and getting a QR Code printed on them which links to your website. Then leave your business cards in places that potential employers might visit. For example, you might want to leave some of them on the table of a business park coffee shop, on the seat of a rush hour train or ask a friend who works in a company you want to work for to pop them into the pigeon hole of their employer.

Spelling and grammar checks
So, you've developed your CV idea and created your work of what? Check your grammar and spelling. Then ask someone else to check your grammar and spelling. Then ask someone ELSE to check it for you.

Don't underestimate the importance of good grammar and spelling. It could give you the edge over those who don't know the difference between their, there and they're.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Nominate yourself: Get paid to be a student!

Want to know more about the Elections? Check out Alex's post below...

Let's be serious for a second. We're all at university for one very simple reason... to better ourselves in order to gain that job we've always wanted. We do everything that we can to make sure we hand our essays in on time, (even if that involves an all-nighter the day before the deadline). We work ourselves to tears when approaching the exam period. Then that magical moment comes when you get your email through saying your grade (whether that be a 1st, 2:1 etc). We’re happy because we know that at the end of the day, we can put our hand on heart and say we did everything in our power to get us to that point. 

Then what? 

Round the country tens of THOUSANDS of students are all doing exactly the same thing. So why would you get that sick job you've always dreamed of over them? What evidence have you got of the skills they want? Why don’t you give yourself something amazing on your CV that will catch their eye, while also earning some dosh?

If you haven’t worked it out yet, I'm talking about taking a year out (whether that be before, or after your studies) to become a Student Officer. I can only really speak for myself on this one when I say ‘THIS IS THE BEST JOB I WILL EVER HAVE!’ There is no other organisation in the world that is going to give anywhere near this much responsibility at such a young and inexperienced age. To walk into your own office, chair a meeting, go to lunch with the Vice-Chancellor and really make a difference to student life - isn’t that something that all graduates want to say they've done?

So what will you get from this year that makes you so employable? For a start, it’s a year's work experience line-managing the Chief Executive of an organisation that turns over £4million a year. It’s a chance to get a taste of the real world while the current job market sorts itself out. With an annual salary of £17,000 a year, you are on one of the best graduate schemes you will ever achieve. Anyone can apply, anyone can win. You are in the position to change anything within the University that has bothered you, anything that you thought would make life easier for students.

Want to know more? 

OK! There are the five positions available.

· PRESIDENT – He is a point of contact for the university and external stakeholders. In this role you will have the ability to attend the highest decision making committees within the uni, chair the Trustee boards and liaise with the media (BBC Berkshire, The Times Higher, potentially anyone).

· VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS – This is where you make sure that everyone is as happy as they can be, line-managing a team of 365 course reps via the 10 faculty reps. Problem solving, communicating, generally being amazing (Yeah, I'm biased!)

· VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT ACTIVITIES – Ever played a sport for your uni or took part in a society? Then this role might be of interest. Here you get to secure resources that benefit those who get involved. You organise the Fresher’s Fayre, converse with Sports Park, and be a point of contact.

· VICE PRESIDENT OF WELFARE AND REPRESENTATION – It's awful when you wake up with a hangover, feel unsafe on the walk home or feel under represented because you’re a minority group. These are just some of the things a Welfare and Representation officer will cover.

· VICE PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRACY AND CAMPAIGNS – we want to make sure that we are being fair to everyone, reaching the groups that are not being reached. The VPDC is here to target the students’ needs. They are here to keep us thinking about what you guys think. This is done by arranging Student Voice, Service and Ents and SOS.

Create Some Change

The job market can be a scary place, with an average of 83 people going for every one graduate job. Have your chance to make sure you are the one who gets the job. Be a Student Officer, create some change.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Student volunteering week 20th – 26th February 2012

This week, our Societies and Volunteering Co-ordinator tells us a little more about how you can get the most out of your university experience, give back and fill your CV with some fantastic experience. 

In the last major study, 63 per cent of students surveyed reported formally volunteering since they had started university. As the Societies and Volunteering Co-ordinator for RUSU, I want to ensure that all students at Reading have every opportunity to get involved in volunteering during their time here.

In this Olympic and Jubilee year, opportunities to get involved in projects in the local community seem to be greater than ever and the action packed week of activities planned for student volunteering week (20th – 26th Feb), showcases just this. I hope that the week will give you a greater insight into volunteering; through talking directly to local voluntary groups and charities at a volunteering fayre in 3sixty, attending talks and getting involved in the one off no commitment volunteering opportunities organised during the week.

I am particularly excited about launching the NEW volunteering society. I have high hopes that this new group will enable students to really influence the community projects RUSU is involved with. The Vol Soc committee will (I hope!) develop their own events and activities for groups in the community, and recruit a great team of student volunteers to make their plans a reality!

A highlight of student volunteering week will be the launch of Voices of Reading – a community choir which is having it’s first rehearsal in student volunteering week. The choir, which is being conducted by a Reading alumnus, needs a committee to help its weekly running. If you were inspired by Gareth Malone and The Military Wives at Christmas and want to be involved, then head along to the first session and sing your heart out. The conductor will be bringing along her 6 month old son to rehearsals so this choir really is open to everyone! RUSU are working with schools in Whitley to develop this community choir open to all ages, all abilities and singing all types of music.

And yes...there’s more! To top it all you can go to another Freshers’ Fayre...but this time for volunteering. Still all the leaflets (and hopefully a good selection of free pens!) but no membership fees! Over 25 organisations are attending the fayre in 3sixty on Wednesday 22nd Feb from 12noon – 3pm and will be promoting a whole range of volunteering opportunities both locally, and further afield.  

Do take a look at the full programme and drop me an email if you have any questions or pop in to the Hub for a chat. Go on...escape the student bubble and immerse yourself in local culture. 

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