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10 cool things Bristol students have done

Tuesday 14-02-2017 - 09:00

Bristol students do some incredible things. Our Reps are forever amazing us with their fresh ideas and achievements, from lobbying for ethical lettings to launching their own programmes of events. Did you know, for example, that the popular Richmond Lecture series was developed by Student Reps?


You are capable of achieving far more than you may realise, and with our student elections coming up we thought we'd remind you what you can get done if you put your mind to it!



If this list leaves you feeling inspired, you can nominate yourself as a Student Rep until March 1st for your chance to do awesome stuff like this. There are full-time paid and part-time volunteer roles available.


1. In 1957, George Odlum became the first ever black president of a students' union. He went on to become the deputy prime-minister of St. Lucia.


2. In the 1970s, Bristol students played a key role in the UK campaign against Apartheid. The old union bar was even called the Mandela Bar, in celebration of Bristol students' role in the campaign.


3. In 1996, Bristol students set up the Varsity series. The sporting competition against UWE now involves over 120 sports teams, and over 1,500 athletes, competing in more than 35 sporting activities. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the South West.


4. In 2012, student reps secured 24-hour library opening times making study easier and fairer for thousands of Bristol students. And our academic reps are constantly working to make these spaces even better, with the addition of kettles in some study spaces and a campaign to liberate our libraries, ensuring these spaces become more inclusive and accessible to our entire student body. As part of this project student reps have overseen the addition of collections by writers of colour, and lamps to support students with Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.


5. In 2012, Bristol students campaigned to stop the University from scrapping bursaries which helped students to fund their studies. The campaign went national, and actually resulted in bursaries being increased!


6. In 2014, student reps set up Explore, an annual festival that brings together students from around the world. Now in it’s third year, Explore brings over 15 societies and hundreds of students together to celebrate a vast range of cultures.


7. In 2015, Jo Woods led on the biggest event the SU has ever seen. The re-opening of the Richmond Building involved 2,500 people, a live circus and a visit from actor, director and Bristol alumnus Simon Pegg.


8. In 2015, Jamie Cross became Bristol SU’s first openly transgender full-time officer. Whilst in office, Jamie successfully campaigned for the establishment of a Trans Students’ Representative, and for the establishment of Gender Neutral bathrooms across campus.


9. In 2015, student reps ran a free periods campaign, giving out thousands of free tampons to students. This was part of the national campaign to cut the tax on sanitary products, and saw hundreds of students write to their MP to cut the tax!


10. In 2016, student reps secured accommodation bursaries for low income students. This will ensure that funds are available to first year students in 2017/18 to help them meet the cost of Halls.


In 2017… well, what will you do?


To nominate yourself or to see the whole range of roles available, check out our Elections Hub.

Did this list remind you of someone else? You can also nominate a mate, and we'll get in touch with them to let them know someone thinks they're awesome!



Union democracy

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bristol students, democracy, elections, odlum,

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