Wednesday, 7 March 2012

RUSU Marks International Women's Day

To mark this year's International Women's Day Carys Williams from the Reading University Women's Campaign guest blogs for us today.

This International Women’s Day (Thursday 8th March) Oxfam is raising money to help women around the world! Reading University’s Women’s Campaign is organising a cake stall at this year’s Fairtrade Fashion Show to raise money; we are also collecting donations at the event. Raising money for this cause is very important: 70% of those who live in poverty are women.

Oxfam say that by “empowering and equipping a woman with the resources to work her way out poverty transforms entire communities down the generations”.

Inequality has a massive impact on income. Despite completing 2/3 of the world’s working hours women still only earn 10% of the wages made a year. International Women’s Day is designed to raise awareness in the still existing gap in gender equality and to provide women living in poverty with a means of bettering their lives.

We hope that by raising awareness we can contribute to the fights against poverty and to achieving gender equality. An important component in the success of campaigns like these is their popular support and public interest and this is why events such as those hosted in International Women’s Day are important.

To find out more visit Oxfam’s Website:

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Ben Haines: The elections and “The Fear”


Apologies to all of you who over the last week were pestered, harassed, shouted at, flyered, postered, written on and so on and so forth.  Anyone who doesn’t know why this was needs to have a word with themselves.  The RUSU elections 2011/12 took place last week and were a serious success.  The funny thing is, though I just apologised… I’m really not sorry.  Not a sausage. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry.  The elections are magic. 

How did we do?

Here we go jargon and serious face time: Within one week more students take part in a democratic process than any other time during the year.  Nearly 3000 handsome and well-groomed Reading students got online and voted for who they want to lead their student union next year.  More, ladies and gents, than ever before.  If you were part of this, cheers.

Like Kelly Rowland, usually I’m down for whatever  - but in particular I’m down for democracy.  It’s a nice feeling knowing that though on the outside people tend to seem apathetic and a bit sluggish to get involved, they do care about this stuff!  Even the nice young lady who came and sat down and said to me “You do realise I’m only doing this because I want free pizza.” The fact she then sat down and took the time to look at the candidates and work out who she wanted to vote for is a success.

So, who have you got coming in to replace me next year? I know what you’re all thinking…how do you replace the irreplaceable? STOP IT you flirts! Ceri jones, Nick Cook, Cara Swift, James Fletcher and Sophie Davies all did really good campaigning, and off the back of this they are going to be your Student Officer team for next year.  And what a pleasant and amusing bunch of cats they are.  I for one will be happy to hand over my office to Ceri , your new VP for Democracy and Campaigns, secure in the knowledge it’s in safe hands. She’s nice and that.

The Fear

One other thing I wanted to talk about is “The Fear”.  I remember this time last year, when The Fear hit me.  It comes to a point in the year when everyone panics about work, and people become irrational.  The remote gets lost for the TV and there’s a Cluedo-style witch hunt for whose fault it was.  Someone doesn’t do the washing up and they’re now “just the worst guy”. 

Listen Colonel Mustard/ Miss Scarlett! Put the lead piping down and take a little breather.  This time of year is stressful. You need the people around you, like your friends and housemates, to be the ones helping you to calm down.  Make sure you give people some slack, because come exam time you’ll be relying on them to keep you sane.  In the meantime, don’t peak too soon.  Get in some time for R & R, make time to go out with your mates and enjoy the weekends. You’ll feel much better about work when you know you’ve got something to look forward to!

I love feedback.  So… even if you want to just come and have a nag at me about last week, my office is in the RUSU hub.  I’ll provide biscuits and a cup of tea for anyone who does, like the good host I am. 

Finally, I can be followed on twitter! For all things democracy and campaigns follow @rusu_vpdc or for the more exciting stuff without the watershed follow @benjhaines.

I’ll write again before Easter about some really exciting stuff we’ve got coming up in the summer.  In the mean time, I’ve missed you guys.

*flame rekindled, walks away slowly, looks back over shoulder and smiles*

See you all soon

P.S Campus Central now sells hot-dogs. Quality right?! Another huge win for students, get in there and give them a try, they’re DE-lish.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Student Volunteering Week Success!

20th – 26th February was National Student Volunteering Week and RUSU celebrated in style with an action-packed programme, including greenhouse building, talks and a volunteering fayre. This provided students with plenty of opportunity to get involved with volunteering, both on and off campus.

Voices of Reading (the new RUSU community choir) held its first rehearsal at George Palmer Primary School at the start of the week and by the end of an hour the 22 voices were singing in harmony. With members ranging from 6 months old to 70-years-old, this is a true community choir but one that needs more students! You don’t need to have any experience of singing, just come along and give it a go. The choir is free, welcomes all and sings a whole variety of pieces, all from memory.

Thirty-eight charities and community groups attended the volunteering fayre on Wednesday to recruit students, but the highlight of the week was the progress made with building a plastic bottle greenhouse. The eco-friendly greenhouse is being built in the garden at Little Learners Nursery on campus, out of hundreds of plastic bottles. Having levelled the ground and marked out the site on Monday, we returned on Thursday afternoon with a team of volunteers to get to work in the sunshine. With the help of the nursery children we peeled labels, washed bottles and managed to build 2 walls of the greenhouse.

We now urgently need more 2 litre bottles to finish building, so please contact the Students’ Union if you have 2 litre bottles. The children want to get planting so we need to get it finished!
The week also saw the launch of Reading University Volunteering Society – a NEW student–run network. The society will consist of various student representatives who will have responsibility for setting up new volunteering projects, therefore giving students a greater say over volunteering at Reading. By the summer term we hope to have had an afternoon tea in 3sixty for local elderly people on campus, an art mural painted at a local school and a weekly activity programme for children and young people with disabilities up and running. Who knows what else…the student committee will direct the volunteering projects.

As the Society grows, with the help of the Students’ Union, it will support and connect students who are interested in volunteering with events and projects throughout the year. Email to find out more about volunteering and the Students’ Union.