Rent Strike 2020

We supported the Bristol student rent strike, reported to be the largest in UK history with over 1000 student signups. Led by Bristol, Cut the Rent and supported by the officer team, the strike was due to frustrations at having to pay full rent, given the disruption to the student experience this year.

Support for International Students

Roy Kiruri, your International Students’ Officer, has been meeting with counterparts from other Student Unions to plan a campaign on tuition fee reductions for International Students. Many International students have still not been able to travel to Bristol since the start of their course because of the ongoing coronavirus travel restrictions.
Roy also successfully persuaded the University to extend the funding for COVID tests for students returning to the UK after the winter break. In addition, Roy, David, and Leah secured an agreement for alternative start times for students attending online exams in different time zones as part of the wider academic mitigations package.

Rent Rebates

Your Student Living Officer Ruth Day successfully lobbied the University to agree to a rent rebate scheme. Students who are not currently in residence in university halls, and who are unable to travel due to the national lockdown are now eligible for a 100% rent rebate for the period 1 February – 26 March.
Ruth has also managed to secure a temporary covid rent release policy for students who feel that it is better for your physical and mental health to not live in University accommodation at the moment.

Financial Hardship

Ruth and Jason have been working with the university to ensure that proper procedures are put in place to support students in debt. Ruth and David have also been working with the university to discuss how they can give greater visibility to their hardship funds.

Refreshers

In January we celebrated all our fantastic student groups with Refreshers. With online mingles, streams, giveaways and more, we wanted to keep our student community connected and meeting new people even during lockdown.

Foodbank drives

We led two foodbank collection drives for the new Emergency Foodbank in Redcliffe and opened collection points in student halls of residence. Students donated over 50kg of food, cleaning products and toiletries.

Open Letter to Landlords

In early January we sent a public letter to landlords and accommodation providers, to ask them to reduce financial pressure on their student tenants during the coronavirus outbreak. The University of Bristol also sent a supporting letter. Students concerned about having to pay rent on their private tenancy, could also use this template letter to request a change to their agreement from their landlord.