How to be a Greener Student

Depending on where you live on the planet, life is one gigantic environmental impact from cradle to grave and beyond, as the plastic stuff you didn’t recycle or was landfilled on your behalf, will stick around in the environment for thousands of years.

Your environmental impact is also dependant on where you live. Almost 1 billion people on the planet (that’s 1/8th of the entire global population) do not have access to electricity and/or running water.

Not only does your lifestyle have an environmental impact in terms of waste disposal and resource use, these impacts have a secondary impact (Anthropogenic Climate Change and Global Warming, vis-a-vie their subsequent ‘Carbon Emissions’).

The environmental impact of a typical student

Even when you are asleep, the fridge/freezer is consuming electricity, as are the electronic equipment you left on standby and the gas central heating that comes on 2 hours before you get out of bed.

When you’re awake, your energy consumption increases dramatically. An electric shower and the associated water you consumed that had to be stored, sterilised and pumped and then the waste water that had to be sent to the sewerage treatment plant (along with your toilet waste) to be cleaned again (more carbon emissions) before being discharged back into the environment.

You then (hopefully) get your breakfast using the electric toaster and your coffee from your electrically power coffee gadget, creating food waste and an empty coffee pod capsule to be disposed of as waste.

Now you’re washed, dressed, fed and watered you’re out of the house and travelling to campus. Depending on your decision, you’re either in halls and a short walk away from campus or you could be staying with your family and be 30 miles away from campus and drive on your own to University.

When you arrive on campus, the buildings are clean, warm and well lit and there’s also fresh hot food and drink ready and waiting, if you didn’t manage to grab some before you left home.

All the environmental impacts associated with your degree are your environmental impacts. If there were no students, there would be no Universities and ergo no environmental impacts. 

How to reduce your environmental impact

You already know the causes and the impacts of Climate Change, so what difference can you make? What can you do to make a difference?

Well there is so much that you can do, the list is so long that we’ve condensed it down into some key areas:

Waste – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

  • Ditch the plastic hand soap dispenser and plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner, you can replace all of these with bars of soap, bars of shampoo and bars of conditioner that all come in cardboard packaging.
  • Eliminate all single use plastics from your life by reducing your takeaway meals, using reusable coffee mugs and water bottles, take your own reusable bags to the shops.
  • Cook from fresh to avoid food packaging, and compost your food waste, whatever waste you have that you couldn’t avoid, always try to find another use for it or if you can’t then recycle it.
  • Reduce the amount of printing, there is very little reason to print documents in the 21st Century.  
  • Say ‘NO’ to Fast Fashion, buy quality clothing that will last longer than your time at University.

Energy and carbon emissions – Avoid or reduce

  • Don’t leave any electrical appliances on standby overnight, turn everything off at the plug before you go to bed.
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower 4 minutes, not 40 minutes.
  • Reduce your red meat consumption or even become Vegetarian or Vegan
  • Try and eat local produce, look on the food label to see where your food came from, and try and eat foods that are in season e.g. no Strawberries and Salad in January.
  • Reduce your travel by car and if you absolutely need a car consider and Electric Vehicle.
  • Staycation in the UK, rather than holiday in Spain or Portugal.
  • Avoid Ultra High Definition internet streaming services, download in Standard Definition and watch rather than stream, if you want to stream content always choose the Standard Definition rather than UHD. 

Sexual Consent: What Everyone Needs to Know

Sexual consent means a person willingly agrees to have sex or engage in a sexual activity – and they are free and able to make their own decision or change their minds. 

Making sure you get and give consent before having any kind of sex with another person (or people) really matters. Sex without consent is rape or sexual assault.

Consent is easy as FRIES

  • Freely given. Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Reversible. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
  • Informed. You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
  • Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
  • Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).

Consent is never implied by things like your past behaviour, what you wear, or where you go.

Sexual consent is always clearly communicated — there should be no question or mystery.

Silence is not consent.

And it’s not just important the first time you’re with someone. Couples who’ve had sex before or even ones who’ve been together for a long time also need to consent before sex — every time.

There are laws about who can consent and who can’t. People who are drunk, high, or passed out can’t consent to sex

Consent? It’s as simple as tea

Please take a few moments to watch this short film about consent.

Take the consent quiz

To test your understanding of sexual consent, take the short Pause, play, stop consent quiz.

What to do if you’ve experienced Sexual Harassment

If you’ve experienced Sexual Harassment or know someone who has, please speak to a SASH (Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment) Responder. An advisor can talk in confidence to you through the University’s procedures, how to make a complaint, support in contacting the police if you wish to do this, and also highlight what support is available.

You can speak to a SASH Responder by visiting any SiD Desk, reception or speaking to a member of security.

Discover more

Read more on the support the University can offer you.

Beds SU is supporting the student voice to tackle sexual abuse

A conversation focused on tackling sexual assault within education settings has recently gained national attention with commitments from professionals across the education, including the Office for Students sector setting out expectations and plans to tackle the situation.

You may already be aware of this debate which is being led by the organisation Everyone’s Invited and you may have questions as to what your SU and university plan to do to support the call for change so we wanted to share what we’ve done so far and what our plans are going forward.

What are we doing?

Beds SU is always looking at ways it can support the student community here at the University on issues both from an institute perspective and on a national level, of which this matter sits. We therefore believe that engaging the University now on how we can ensure we have appropriate measures in place to support our students is essential in delivering a positive way forward in how we tackle instances of sexual abuse. 

On 8th June 2021, we wrote to the Vice-chancellor of the University setting out nine measures we would like them to consider, to ensure the processes in place for tackling such instances are appropriate and effective. 

We want to work together with the university and all relevant stakeholders to help make sure our students are protected from experiencing sexual assault, making all our spaces safe for all students and giving students the knowledge of where to go and how to report cases and the confidence to come forward and talk about their experience.

It is worth making it clear we are NOT doing this in response to any specific incidences at the University of Bedfordshire (UoB), but given the number of testimonials submitted to spaces such as Everyone’s Invited in recent months, we feel it is important to get the University to review current measures and amend as required. 

What do we want to change?

In our letter, we have set our goals, objectives, and expectations which we feel need to be implemented to benefit students. These include:

  • The introduction of mandatory consent training for students and a consent test which must be successfully completed before registration is complete.
  • The university to make a visible and ongoing commitment to tackling sexual abuse by reviewing and updating all its policies and procedures in a transparent and collaborative way. 
  • UoB to commit to taking every report of sexual assault on campus credibly and seriously and carry out an investigation into every report – even if the reporter or alleged perpetrator has left the university.
  • UoB to end the use of non-disclosure agreements when resolving investigations into sexual assault. 

This is not all we have asked the university to consider, just a summary of some of the main points.

There is help on hand if you need it

If during your time at university you experience or witness a sexual assault please know there are teams in place to support you.  You can reach out to the University’s Support and Report facility on the main website or reach out to the SU’s team of dedicated advisors.

How to add your voice to the conversation

You can also help us by contacting us and telling us what you think we should do, sharing you experience through the Everyone’s Involved website, help us engage our students through social media, talking to one of your reps or asking for support from the university or Beds SU. 

Top Tips on How to Prepare for University this year

Whether you have been planning your university adventure for a number of years or the global pandemic has inspired you to study, this exciting new chapter is now only a matter of weeks away

We know that whilst life is gradually returning to normal some aspects of university may still be a little different this year due to Covid-19, but don’t let that stop you getting excited

This is our guide to starting university.


Before you arrive

On accepting your offer to the University of Bedfordshire you will receive a number of emails and a welcome pack brimming with all the information you need to know. Take time to read through these materials.

In addition, you may find it useful to:

  • Do some background reading on your course
  • Start planning your timetable
  • Order your study materials
  • Check out what is available from the library
  • Get to know your campus virtually by looking at site maps.
  • Brush up on your IT skills and download useful software like Microsoft Office, which is available for free to all students
  • Register with a GP in new your new local area

The Student Room website also has some brilliant additional tips.


Make connections with people online
Make connections with people online

Don’t let online learning or concerns about meeting people face-to-face stop you from making friends

Although plans are underway to welcome everyone back to campus for face-to-face lectures and social events we know that plans may need to be modified at times and that for some it won’t be possible to join in person just yet or you may be concerned about meeting people in group situations. If this is the case don’t worry, there are lots of ways to start making friends both on and away from your studies including: 

  • Join our Facebook Student Community group. This is the place to find out who might be on your course, who is living close by or who might share your interests and hobbies
  • Sign-up for events and activities that we will be running throughout Welcome Month
  • Explore our wealth of societies to see if there is one or more that offer you an opportunity to meet people away from your studies
  • Explore the faith centres available to you
  • Start following both Beds SU’s and the University’s social media accounts:

Follow Beds SU

Follow University of Bedfordshire

As you start to explore our social media accounts you might come across other pages that are not officially linked to us. If you are looking for the latest information on what’s going on at both the University and the SU please refer to the above accounts. All official university events tickets and membership will only ever be sold to students via www.bedssu.co.uk or www.beds.ac.uk websites.

When you arrive

If you are moving into student accommodation settle into your space, make your room a home from home, enjoy getting to know your flatmates and get to know your local area. 

Prospects has a great article on what to take when heading to Univeristy.  

If you are balancing study with family life or commuting to campus, make use of the Facebook Student Community group or join one the many virtual sessions we will be running throughout September. There will also be a host of daytime and on-demand activities to allow you to meet new friends and participate at times that work with your other commitments.


Practicing Yoga can help maintain both your physical and mental wellbeing
Practicing Yoga can help maintain both your physical and mental wellbeing

Look after your wellbeing

Studying, whether it be full-time, part-time, from home or in a new country or town can be challenging. You have to balance study with other commitments such as work, family, learning to cook and living with others.

Over the past 18 months there has also been Covid-19 to add to the mix. One or a number of these factors could leave you feeling overwhelmed or anxious about how to find balance.

Fear not, as there is always help on hand:

  • Find out more about Beds SU’s Advice team. They offer free, impartial and confidential advice on a number of matters from money, accommodation, student safety and appeals
  • Find out who your Reps are from Academic, Student Voice and Campus
  • Stay up to date with University’s plan for the start of term and all you need to know in advance here
  • Check out the University’s Mental Health blog covering topics from home study to planning for university
  • Visit the UK Government website for the latest information for prospective students 
  • There are a number of charities, podcasts and online services offering support and advice on how to manage various matters both during this current time and beyond.

Enjoy the build-up and make the most of Welcome Week. We’ve packed the calendar with lots of events, activities and sessions all designed to welcome you to the start of your student experience here at the University of Bedfordshire. 

Virtual Health Fair: Feel Safe & Supported

Your University and Beds SU work closely with many organisations in our local communities. We may not always be equipped to offer all the support you need, but we are here to listen and ensure you always feel safe and supported.

Browse our Virtual Health Fair below and find out about the different organisations that are part of our wider community. 


Sexual Health Services

Terrance Higgins Trust

Sexual Health Services offer a range of tests, information and advice about relationships, pregnancy, contraception and STIs. Under current circumstances, the official line from the Government is that your best sexual partner is… you! So why not invest some time in finding out how to improve your sexual health.

Luton Sexual Health

Luton Sexual Health offers some useful information and advice about sex and relationships.

NHS Sexual Health Service

If you need specific advice, it’s best to contact your local service online or by phone in the first instance.


Do you understand consent?

Fast forward to when Covid-19 is under control and you can get back to searching for ‘the one’. Don’t get into trouble for assuming someone has the same feelings as you. If you’re struggling with the concept of consent just imagine instead of initiating sex you’re making them a cup of tea.


Fika Mental Health Masterclasses

As a University of Bedfordshire student, you can download and use the Fika app free of charge for your first semester. Join in the monthly virtual masterclasses starting with ‘Connection’ on 13th October.

Once you have registered as a student you will need to sign in with your University email address for free access.


Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service

If you are feeling anxious about Coronavirus and rates of infection in our local area, our partners at Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service are here to help you.


Samaritans

Starting University can be a big change in your life, it’s normal to feel some anxiety and nervousness as you adapt to new experiences. Small actions can make a big difference to help you cope.


Luton All Women’s Centre

LAWC offers a wide-range of advisory, information, practical and holistic support services, our aim is to challenge gender inequality and empower women and girls to enjoy lives that are safer, healthier and fairer.


What is an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is an unhealthy relationship with food that severely impacts on your day to day life. Knowledge and awareness about eating disorders could help you or someone you care about. Did you know, 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder?

Caraline

Caraline, an eating disorder support charity has a handy guide to work out if you might need support.

Beating Eating Disorders

Why not visit the Beat Eating Disorders website for a wealth of information, advice and support.


Luton Healthwatch

Local Healthwatch is all about local voices being able to influence the delivery and design of local services. Not just people who use them, but anyone who might need to in future. If you are looking to enter a healthcare profession and live, study or work in Luton, why not join as a member or volunteer?

Feed Your Soul – Community and Faith at Beds

Feed your soul in our multi-faith and belief spaces. Enjoy making new friends over a cup of tea or coffee, pray, get personal support and express your spiritual side in a warm and friendly environment.

All students are welcome whether you have a particular faith or not. 

Discover more

Find out more about our team and activities.

Welcome to Sport at the University of Bedfordshire

Welcome to Sport at the University of Bedfordshire.  

Over the coming months, we are keen to offer our new and returning students a variety of non-academic sporting opportunities in a safe environment.

The University is aiming to be able to offer online and on campus based activities. These offers include:

  • the University’s own Aspire gyms on the Bedford and Luton campuses, 
  • our social sport programme called Get Active and;
  • for those wishing to take sport at the University a little more seriously we have competitive sport

New activities and a wide variety of opportunities will be introduced throughout the academic year, so please visit our website for more details and our regular updates.

Discover more

Visit the University of Bedfordshire Sport website to find out more.