Staying Safe during Welcome Week
Sally Patterson is the Equality, Liberation and Access Officer. She is one of six full-time elected officers who represents students and work to improve the student experience at Bristol. Coming to university brings a host of new and exciting opportunities with it. But for many people, it’s the first time you’ll have lived independently away from home. Moving to a new city with this new found independence can bring some risks and challenges, so Sally is here with some tips to make sure you stay safe when you move to Bristol.
For a lot of students, buying alcohol for nights out is a common chore. However, there are steps to be taken to ensure that doing this is safe. Over recent years the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) have warned that people should take extra care when buying alcohol in off-licences, especially when a deal appears to be ‘too good to be true’. Fake alcohol is often made with dangerous chemicals and sold at cheap prices, which at best could ruin your night by leading to vomiting and at worst is potentially lethal. You can spot fake alcohol by looking for poor quality labelling, a lack of duty stamp or broken seals around bottle tops. If you see any of these signs, do not buy the alcohol. Instead opt for a well known brand, even if it means paying a little more. To be on the safe side, always buy alcohol from a reputable shop that provides you with a receipt. Find out more here http://bit.ly/2PH7ciC.
If you are in a situation where you take drugs, make sure you understand what you are taking and avoid mixing different drugs. If you’re ever worried about the effect of drugs on your or someone close to you, you can call Drugsline on 03001236600 or go to the FRANK website, for an A-Z list of drugs and their common effects.
In recent years new students going to university for the first time have been advised by the NHS to have a vaccine to prevent a new strain of meningitis and septicaemia. Though this isn’t the most glamourous of topics, vaccines are really important! If you were born between September 1 1998 and August 31 1999 you are advised to arrange a vaccination as soon as possible, ideally before you come to university. When you get to uni, you’ll need to register to the doctors so you’re all set, just in case. Bristol University has a dedicated Student Health Service, to find out more about registering with Bristol Student Health, click here.
For more general support whilst at university, Bristol SU has a dedicated advice service – Just Ask- who provide support on a whole range of academic issues such as changing your course, extenuating circumstances and appealing against exam results. It’s a free, impartial and professional service here to advise and support you.
Alternatively, if you’re having problems in your personal life that are affecting your health and wellbeing, your first port of call is your personal tutor. If something happens to you and you require urgent help or your mental health is suffering you can go to your Residential Life Advisor, a new role which provides round the clock support to students living in student villages. Another useful contact to put in your phone is Bristol Nightline, an anonymous and confidential listening service, run by students. It’s open every night of term between 8pm and 8am, and available on both the telephone and Instant Messaging; their number is 01179266266.
Report and Support
Following lobbying and recommendation from Bristol SU for the past few years, the University has recently launched their new Report and Support tool, which enables students and staff to report anonymously, seek advice from an adviser or make a formal complaint. If you have observed or experienced physical assault, sexual harassment, sexual assault, hate crime, harassment, bullying, discrimination, mental health problems or domestic violence, you can report these directly to us via this tool.
If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to come and chat to me or any of the other Officers. You can find us on the third floor of the Students’ Union building.