'Without the Activity Lifeline Fund we would never have been able to secure the venue required for our show.'
- Felicity Canetty Clarke, Operatic Society
'The quote from UBU merchandising was much cheaper than other quotes we had'
– Andrew, Journal Club
'The question and answer session organised by UBU with the Pro-vice Chancellor was excellent'
– Matt Graham, Engineering
'Just Ask were excellent and really helpful'
– student facing employment tribunal
'I would like to thank UBU for its kind grant... it has made me more focused on the world selection event'
– Nick Wilkinson, Sailor
'Being heavily involved with a sports society gave me something extra to discuss at interviews and stand out from the crowd, as well as significantly improving my public speaking, leadership style, and confidence.'
- Sam Hamilton
UBU exists to ensure you to enjoy the best possible experience while you are at University. We are central to your university experience, offering representation, social life, sports, volunteering, societies and advice and support.
We are here for everyone at Bristol whether under or post-graduate, UK-based or international.
This site is an opportunity for us to tell you about what we’ve been up to in the last twelve months, how we have touched the lives of all Bristol students and how we are creating real positive changes for individuals and society more widely. We really welcome your feedback on how we are doing. If you want to let us know what UBU should be doing for you please contact us at ubu - firstname.lastname@example.org.
We really value our relationships with the diverse range of sports clubs, volunteering projects and societies across the student community. Through making the links and promoting best practice we can make sure that everyone benefits from activities that are fun, ground-breaking and inexpensive.
However, it's really important to us that we build links not just within the student community but also with the University and Bristol as a whole. Through initiatives like UBU Active (in partnership with the University)and the Bristol Big Give (with a number of partners including the University of West of England) we can have more impact than if we work on our own. Through supporting city wide initiatives like the Bristol Festival of Ideas we can ensure the student voice is heard.
We want your University years to be as much fun as they can possibly be. We provide a really diverse range of events and activities to ensure that you have a great time while you are at Bristol. We have put on 14 gigs at the Anson Rooms this year from artists as varied as London Grammar and Scroobius Pip. We provide free comedy every fortnight for those who want a laugh and a range of special events from varsity fight night to our union awards night.
We also have over 260 different sports clubs, societies and activities from ballroom dancing to kung fu to ensure that whatever your interest we can help you enjoy it. We ran a Showcase month in term two to ensure that those who missed out in Welcome Week had a second chance to get involved and even try out some of the activities. We have also had a good year in BUCS with over 700 matches played against other universities in 2013-14.
Whatever your interest, there's something for you. Keep checking our website to find out what is going on.
A key role of any Students' Union is to speak up for its members. Each year thousands of students vote for the officers they want to represent them. This year our officer team have delivered a wide range of activities including; securing more bursaries for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, improving communications from the university, holding a showcase month so that people could try out sports clubs and societies and increasing awareness of mental health and sexual harassment issues.
In addition to our full time officer team we have a team of part time officers, many of whom represent marginalised groups and a course rep structure so that we can ensure the student’s voice is heard in every department of the university. This year we improved the structure of the course rep model to make it more responsive to students' needs.
We are here for all students, but recognise that some students face unnecessary barriers during their time at university. This year we are proud to have raised the profile of students with mental health issues to the University and to have raised the profile of sexuality and other equality issues in sport through our Take Pride in UBU Sport initiative.
We recently achieved the Investors In Diversity accreditation which demonstrates our commitment to equality across the whole organisation. This means that all our staff are working towards specific equality and diversity objectives and are trained in these issues. As part of the recent officer role review we created a new equality, liberation and access officer role which will focus more on access to services within both the University and UBU itself.
It's really important to us that our elected posts represent our diverse society. We considered more than 80 responses from students outlining why they wouldn’t stand for election so that we could identify barriers for particular groups. 79% of our candidates in 2014 were women which we are really proud of given under-representation of women in the past. We know we have more to do in getting more international and black and ethnic minority students involved in the running of the union going forwards.
UBU offers a wide range of services to support our members. Our Just Ask initiative supports students with face-to-face advice on a range of issues from exam stress to financial difficulties and has supported almost 500 students this year. We also provide a confidential nightline which provides student to student support for those who need it. In April, the nightline won a national award at the National Nightline Awards.
One issue that has been particularly difficult for students in Bristol has been getting good, inexpensive accommodation. We have responded by setting up UBU Lettings, our own lettings agency based on campus, to ensure students aren’t subject to excessive agency fees.
It's a cliché but the student really is at the heart of everything we do.
Increasingly we are seeking to get students involved in the development of our services and activities. We had a student panel driving our approach to the annual ball and we will be doing the same in developing Welcome Week 2014.
We support students financially in a number of ways including a performance sport fund to enable some of our highest achieving sports men and women to participate in competitions. We also provide a Fair Access Fund to enable students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it to participate in leisure activities.
Our UBU Get Green initiative has been a huge success this year with over 800 students getting involved in reducing environmental impact and recycling. This has led to over 60 volunteers being trained as part of the Student Switch Off Programme which in turn led to a 17% reduction in energy in one hall of residence and a 62% recycling rate in another!
The Bristol Big Give has been another opportunity to reduce waste and increase recycling . By getting students to donate unwanted goods we are not only getting rid of waste but benefitting charity too.
Our hard work was recognised with a Green Impact Gold Award – the highest accolade of its kind.
An important priority of our work is giving something back to the local community. Central to this is our volunteering work. We ran two volunteering fairs this year which were attended by over 750 students. Activities undertaken as a result including throwing Christmas Parties for children and dinner dances for older people. We are also really committed to raising money for charity through RAG which this year raised over £125,000 via a range of activities including a ceilidh, an overnight soccathon and a Jailbreak.
Find out more
We're nearly at the end of the year so it feels like a good time to reflect on how UBU has achieved our vision in 2013-14.
There have been some real achievements this year. More students have voted online or attended meetings than ever before, we've set the standard for Bristol's private rented sector through UBU Lettings and this year over half of all students have become members of UBU sports clubs and societies. Our commitment to sustainability won us some big accolades nationally and our campaigning around mental health has shown what collective student action can achieve when we all pull together on a particular issue.
Undoubtedly there have been some difficult times too. We misjudged the officer role review first time around, which gave us a lot to work on until we achieved a version everyone was happy with. And, of course, the lack of enthusiasm for the planned summer ball was a real disappointment for all involved.
There is much still to do and opportunities to be seized. The university needs to take real steps to improve communication with students, the relationship between student representatives and the university tends to fluctuate, and we still do that archaic Annual Members' Meeting every year. That scale of democracy should be done online, everyday.
It's important to remember that UBU doesn't provide for students, it is its students and all of us have a role to play in making it be what we want it to be. Whether your interest is UKIP-bashing, pool-splashing, charity-cashing or just responsible-on the lashing (whilst putting some money back into our ability to campaign for students); we urge you to find a part of UBU which suits you.
Next year we hope you'll join in and help to build a stronger union, for all of us
The Elected Officer Team