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e g d i r b m a C U S U 14 / 3 C 1 0 2 e d i u G s Fresher

sive n e h e r p m o Your c guide to life at Cambridge University

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Welcome - to the CUSU Fresher’s Guide 2013 Congratulations – you’ve made it to university!

We’re CUSU, Cambridge University Students Union, and we’ve created this guide to answer your questions before you arrive in Cambridge. We’ll deal with some of the worries you might have and tell you about the fun of life by the Cam. Uni might seem daunting now, but all freshers are in the same position so don’t worry! CUSU is here to help at every stage of your uni experience and freshers week is no exception. So what is CUSU? We’re student-led, passionate about campaigning and listening to you, our members. We campaign for change, provide services for you and give students a voice which goes beyond your college. CUSU is made up of reps from all parts of university life. We provide loads of opportunities for students to be faculty reps, on college committees or part of our fantastic part-time Executive team. Your Exec committee


are elected and provide you with support and representation to staff and academics in the University. Check out the CUSU section of this guide for more info on what we do for you! Our Societies Fair is on the 8th & 9th October. Come along to find out all about the hundreds of sports and societies in Cambridge. There are always new things to try! Your JCR or MCR (college student committee) should be organising a group trip. Lastly, keep an eye on our website ( for info and updates. You can also join our Facebook page ( for event updates and to connect with other freshers. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions! Enjoy your summer and we look forward to meeting you in Freshers Week! - Flick

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e f i l y t i s r e Univ 5

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Colleges Every student at Cambridge is a member of one of the 31 Colleges. Your College is your source of pastoral support and accommodation, and as an undergraduate, it is the main body responsible for the majority of your teaching, providing you with a Director of Studies (DoS), supervisors and as such work and assignments. Most students find that their College becomes their central social community throughout their time at Cambridge, and for years to come.

Colleges & Teaching Undergraduates Your lectures will be provided by your Department or Faculty (or, for some courses, across several Departments and Faculties), whilst organising your supervisions is the responsibility of your College.

Postgraduates For Postgraduates, teaching and research supervision will be provided by your Department or Faculty. The colleges provide pastoral support within a stimulating academic community. All the colleges within the University of Cambridge accept graduate students, although numbers vary between colleges.

Accommodation Colleges are much more than halls of residence for your time at Cambridge. Every College guarantees students accommodation for at least the first three years of their time at Cambridge, and often into a fourth year. Rooms vary between the different Colleges and within each College. Generally, you will be assigned a room in your first year, either with other first years or a mixture of different years, whilst in future years you will be entered into a ballot system allowing you to choose a room with others you know nearby.


Food Every College provides a ‘hall’ or ‘buttery’, offering reasonably priced hot and cold food at mealtimes; at many of the older Colleges, meals are provided in an old traditional dining hall, whilst other Colleges have different set-ups. Many students choose to eat in College quite regularly, whilst others prefer to make use of College cooking facilities or occasionally head out to one of the City’s many restaurants. “Formal halls” (often just, “formals”) are regular occasions in College when, typically for just a little extra on top of the cost of a normal meal, you can receive a served three course meal, with wine if you choose. Going to different College to sample a formal hall is a great way to hang out with friends at different Colleges.

Representation Every College has a student council which is part of the Cambridge Students’ Union network. The Junior Common Room (JCR) represents Undergraduates in your college and the Middle Common Room (MCR) represents Graduate Students and is linked to the Graduate Union (GU). The JCR Committee has a number of positions held by students in the college that represents different groups in college. These can include: President, Vice President, Access Officer, Welfare Officer, Women’s Officer, International Officer, Fresher’s Officer, Events Officer, LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Trans*) Officer , BME (Black and Ethnic Minorities) Officer. This representative system gives a voice to students in the college, allowing the JCR to take motions to Council or to try and change policy within the college. It also provides a welfare support system which is directly linked to CUSU.

Jargon Buster! Formal or Formal Hall: A relatively cheap (usually around £7) three course meal in your college hall - fun Cambridge tradition!

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One of the best things about being a Cambridge student is having the chance to get involved with the enormous range of societies that exist. Most students get involved with a couple of societies- they’re a great opportunity to try something completely different and learn new things. They are also brilliant for meeting people from other colleges! Here’s CUSU’s guide to exploring the societies ahead of the annual Societies Fair on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th October.

A Wide Range of Societies Whatever you’re interested in, there’s probably a group in Cambridge devoted to it! Cambridge has groups focused on things as diverse as debating, dance, drama, environmental sustainability, literature, science, food, drink, music, and even juggling! If you’re thinking about becoming involved in student journalism, Cambridge also has three very active and well read student publications: The Cambridge Student (TCS), The Tab, and Varsity, as well as CamFM the student radio station. The three main political parties also have very active societies in Cambridge. There are also numerous community groups and charities looking for student volunteers, including RAG (raising and giving) and Linkline (the student listening service). Budding thesps should make sure to check out the ADC (Amateur Dramatic Club on Park Street), and keep an eye out for auditions advertised at For a full list of Cambridge societies, go to the societies directory!.

It’s great to find out more about the societies that suit your interests before you arrive, but do remember to come with an open mind and don’t be afraid to explore the societies’ fair to discover any potential new interests and get the chance to meet new people!

Getting Involved: What to Expect Most societies at the societies’ fair will ask you to sign up to their mailing list, so make sure to remember your University email address (called your CRSid) before the fair! They might also ask you to pay a small fee to join, or to go to a “freshers’ squash”, where you can meet people in the society and learn more about it! From then on, keep checking your emails for details of events and socials, and any elections to get involved with the committee! 8

It’s amazing how quickly you start to feel at home when you get involved with a society – I remember everyone being so friendly and welcoming when I first started. At the Eco-House Initiative we help to design solutions to building housing in the developing world. It’s fun attending workshops, socials, meetings and events, but for me it’s that good feeling you get when you look back at what the society’s achieved that makes it so worthwhile! - Jerell (Fitzwilliam), President of the Eco-House Initiative Get Involved:

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CUSU: Find Out More & Get Involved The directory, run by CUSU, is the best place to find out more about the different societies in Cambridge, it gives you links to society websites and Facebook groups, as well as contact details for the society’s managers. CUSU supports societies in Cambridge, and provides services to them. We’re a good place to start if you want to find out more about a society, or are having trouble getting in touch with one. As the overall students’ union for the university, CUSU has loads of exciting campaigns which you can get involved in. Come along to our Open Meetings to discuss a whole range of topics from bursaries to national student issues, or to a meeting of one of our 7 Teams – each focusing on an area from education to ethical affairs. You can run to be elected as a faculty representative or a member of the CUSU part-time executive, or help out with our Access Shadowing Scheme in Lent Term. If you have an idea for a campaign or want more information on how you can get involved in CUSU, send one of the officers an email or see for lots of ideas! All you need is a little enthusiasm, and you can make a real difference to students’ lives today and into the future.

Getting involved with a society can be such a rewarding experience. We run Watersprite, the Cambridge International Student Film Festival. There can be lots of hard work – scheduling events, organising funding, contacting speakers and building up the reputation of an internationally renowned festival – but hobnobbing with the likes of Bill Nighy and Tom Hollander do make it rather exciting, and such a brilliant part of being at Cambridge! - Helen (Homerton) & Julia (Christ’s), Co-chairs of Watersprite Film Festival Get Involved:

Something Missing? If you think that Cambridge doesn’t have a society for your interest or hobby, then why not set a new one up? CUSU has all the help and information you need, to find out more contact the CUSU Coordinator, Dom Weldon, by emailing

Societies Fair 2013 Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th October Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre and Parker’s Piece. Over 400 sports clubs and societies will be at the fair to offer information about membership , and the chance to sign up and get involved. Make sure to also come prepared for the freebies from Cambridge businesses! 9

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Cambridge life brings with it a huge opportunity for sports. Whether you want to continue playing a sport, perhaps at a more competitive level, find new enthusiasm for a game you’ve not played for years, or give something new a go, Cambridge is a great place for it.

Sports in Cambridge Not just a great way to keep fit, sports offer an outlet to complement some of the intense study throughout the year. Unlike other Universities, the college system means that there are many smaller clubs that are more relaxed and are a great chance to try sports you haven’t played before. The intercollege competitive leagues, called “cuppers”, offer a chance to show your college pride and the rivalries can often get quite serious! Almost every sport is catered for in Cambridge. There are the more high profile sports such as football, rowing, hockey and rugby, but also other team and individual activities that happen on an almost daily basis. If you want to try ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, ice hockey or even skydiving, there’s almost always a University team or club. The top University teams compete against Universities across the country in the British Universities & College’s Sport (BUCS) leagues, or other local and even national club sides. More information on the University level Sports Clubs can be found at The annual highlight of most sports teams will be the Varsity Match against Oxford, providing exhilarating encounters for competitors, and hugely enjoyable social events for everyone who chooses to watch. Nearly all sports (triathlon, cross country and darts to name a few) contend a fixture against “the Other Place” and, while the attention may be slightly diminished from rugby and rowing, they’re still just as enjoyable. Most sports clubs hold events at the start of the year where you can learn more about them if you’re a first-timer, and get information on training times and competitions.


This year, for the first time in its history, the University will be opening the purpose-built University Sports Centre on the West Cambridge Site. About a 25 minute walk (or 10 minute cycle) from the city centre, the architecturally impressive “armadillo” shaped building hosts a vast sports hall, gym, fitness, strength and conditioning suite, and multipurpose exercise studios. All students are automatically members of the sports centre complex and are able to book to use the sports hall and exercise studios. To use the gym and conditioning suite, students can join at a number of different rates, depending on usage. Some colleges also have their own gyms, whilst others give their students automatic basic membership of the University gym. Check the website and Facebook group below for more details!

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d n u o r a g n i Gett Cycling


If you do plan to cycle, make sure to get a good bike lock, or you may quickly find yourself without a bike – especially if it’s a newer model. You’ll also need a helmet – in a crash it could save your life. Front and rear lights are important to make sure you’re seen at night, and are also a legal requirement (with frequent police checks and fines). You can buy a set of lights including batteries from CUSU for just £7.50!

The University does not allow you to keep a car within ten miles of Cambridge without special permission from your college and an officer called the Motor Proctor. If you do get permission, some colleges may offer limited parking, whilst others cannot because of space. Cambridge’s roads were built before cars and driving in the city is very awkward, so bringing a car is not recommended.


Getting Home Late at Night

Some students like to use the bus to travel from some of the more distant colleges to the centre of town. Fitzwilliam, Murray Edwards, Churchill, Robinson and Homerton are particularly well served by the Citi4 and Uni4 bus routes; services are up to every twenty minutes and if you show your student card, a single journey costs only 70p.

If you’re walking around late at night, remember it’s generally safest to try and stay in a group. It’s a good idea to save the number for a taxi firm on your phone; many colleges have an arrangement where the Porters’ Lodge will loan you money to pay for a taxi back to college. If you ever feel unsafe walking around late at night, you can ask for assistance at of the 30+ Porters’ Lodges throughout the city, most of which are open through the night.

There’s always lots going on in Cambridge, but luckily, things tend to be quite close together. Most students rarely have to spend much time (or money) travelling about town. The city is very flat which makes it really easy to get around on a bike or, like me, by foot. – Lynn, Trinity

Jargon Buster! Porters: The Porters give help and information to visitors and students alike, and can be a constant source of friendliness. They generally know everything about everything, and will help you when you inevitably lock yourself out of your room! 14

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& budgeting

Coming to university may be the first time you control your own money, and this can be daunting. But don’t panic, there’s plenty of financial support available for students and with careful management you shouldn’t run into any trouble!

Student loans


Before you arrive you should make sure you apply for any financial assistance you may need from If you’re an undergraduate you should be entitled to a loan for your fees (which you don’t pay back until you’ve graduated and are earning a good salary). You may also be entitled to a maintenance loan or grant to cover your living costs.

Cambridge University generally does not allow students to get paid jobs during term time as you will have a lot of work and should be able to enjoy yourself in your spare time. However, you may be able to get a job over the long holidays or work in the college bar or library for a few hours during term. This is definitely not something to worry about, as once you are here every provision is made to help you out financially.

Cambridge Bursaries


Cambridge has a very generous bursary scheme which provides students from the lowest income backgrounds with up to £3500 per year. More information and the application form can be found at

You should probably try to sort out your bank account before you arrive in Cambridge so that you can get any student loans paid in when you get here. Most banks or building societies have branches in Cambridge but it may be worth just checking they do before setting up your account. It’s also worth looking into which bank is best for you (and seeing which one gives the best freebies!). If you are concerned about your money being invested ethically (not going to arms companies, for example) there is a branch of the ethically based Co-operative bank near the Grafton Centre, a shopping centre in Cambridge.

Other support A National Scholarship Programme has been introduced recently to give further help to students from England from lower income households. Through this scheme the University of Cambridge will provide at least 130 fee waivers of £6,000 to first-year students. More information about the Programme is available at Most importantly, the University has a policy that no student should have to leave Cambridge due to their financial circumstances. If you experience financial difficulties whilst here then plenty of help is available through things such as college hardship funds.

Jargon Buster!

When my student loan came into my bank I felt like I was rich - I was all set to go on a massive shopping spree until I realised the money had to last me for the whole term! I actually found that managing my money was not that hard once I got used to it. I’d say the key is to be aware of your money - don’t be scared to look in your bank account! - Beth, Girton

KFC: Kitchen Fixed Charge - usually added to your college bill, and pays to subsidise the cost of food in the college canteen. It works in different ways from college to college. 15

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Budgeting Since you’re now in charge of your own money, it’s important to learn how to budget effectively so that you can afford to do the things you want without running out of money half way through term. You need to be aware that you are likely to get student loans, grants and bursaries at the beginning of each term and these will need to last until the next payment (usually at the beginning of the next term). Find out when your college bill is due and bear this in mind when budgeting. The college bill usually includes things such as accommodation, food, internet etc. When you know your major outgoings it may be good to allocate yourself an amount per week that you are happy to spend, this way you won’t run out of money. Things you may need to spend money on throughout the term include: • Food and drink – this may include a weekly Sainsbury’s trip and occasional visits to coffee shops or restaurants. There are usually student


deals for most restaurants in Cambridge so you can often eat out cheaply! Your CUSU card gets you discounts in certain places too! • Study costs – you may need stationary and perhaps books (although there are plenty of libraries!) or lab coats etc. • Travelling – most people in Cambridge walk or cycle everywhere so travel costs are minimal. Buses are also fairly cheap should you need to use them. It’s worth considering how often you want to travel home and budget to include this expenditure. • Entertainment – it’s cheap or free to join most societies, but bear in mind costs if you want to go on a night out, to the theatre or the cinema. • Nice things – for example things to cheer you up on a long week such as clothes, chocolate, novels and DVDs.

Just make sure you’re sensible with your money and you’ll be fine!

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Culture Live Music and Gigs The city is home to many buskers and street artists, especially on the weekends. Listen to melodies by Charlie of the Musical Litter Bin on King’s Parade, or tip the Spanish acapella group performing in Market Square. The Cambridge Corn Exchange attracts many well-known acts, and smaller venues in and around the city host local bands and musicians. Towards the end of Easter, go to the Strawberry Fair to experience the melange of music, art, outdoor dancing and carnival – you won’t be disappointed! If you’re sticking around for the summer, catch the famous Cambridge Folk Festival and Shakespeare plays in the College gardens.

Clubs Some will tell you that Cambridge has no nightlife but this is not the case - they just didn’t know where to look! Throughout the week there’s always something going on somewhere. Raise the roof at Fez or hit the dance floor at Cindy’s (now officially called Ballare)…. You’re sure to run into someone you know, and if not, make a friend. The Place hosts a LGBT+ night once every week while Wetherspoons (or Spoons!) on St. Andrew’s Street can always be relied upon for providing a cheap but fun night out! For a more alternative night out, try the Fountain for its mix of house music, hip-hop, and disco (it also occasionally hosts Spoken Word events).


College May Balls often feature (sometimes cheesy) bands and artists from the past as well as up and coming favourites. Vengaboys, Ms Dynamite, Bastille, and Calvin Harris have all performed in previous years.

Want to hang out over a pint? Cambridge is teeming with interesting pubs. Outside of the college bars (where drink is cheap!) savour some Belgian Trappist beers at the Elm Tree, cosy up in the snug at the Free Press, or peek in on some folk and acoustic numbers at CB2. They all serve great pub grub too. Prefer a view of the Cam? Then get merry at the Granta, the Mill, or the Anchor; perfect for one of those rare sunshiny days.



With two shopping centres and loads of interesting little shops, you’ll always be able to find things you need in Cambridge and, as the city centre is really small, they’ll probably be within walking distance! There’s also a daily market which is great for all kinds of things from freshly baked bread and fruit to knickknacks and second-hand books.

As you trail through the snickelways of Cam City, be sure to look out for great cafes. Indigo is cute and cheery, Savino’s serves great Italian coffee in Cambridge and Fitzbillies does cream tea! Looking for fair trade coffee? There’s a café in the Guildhall (off the Marketplace) which serves it.

Beyond Cambridge Get out of the bubble! Stroll along the River Cam on Grantchester Meadows and stop by The Orchard for afternoon tea as Rupert Brooke and Virginia Woolf would have done. Cycle or take the train to Ely to admire the majestic cathedral and see Cromwell’s house. Once you’ve tired of the Botanical Gardens, go and see the magnificent gardens at Anglesey Abbey. You will never be short of things to do, so go on and explore!!


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CUSU was formed in 1971 and represents over 22,000 students in Cambridge. Our organisation consists of all of you: our members. Unlike other Students’ Unions we don’t get a block grant of funding, so we’re not as big as we’d like to be, but we’re growing!

What do CUSU do?

Who is CUSU? CUSU Council creates, debates and votes on the policy which informs the actions of the Executive team. You can bring your ideas to Council in written motions, come to open meetings and directly influence what CUSU does for you.

International Students (Pg 27)

Wome n’s (Pg 24 )


BME (Pg 25)

If you’re a really active member of your department or faculty, sign up to be a Faculty Rep – you can vote at CUSU Council and speak up in the interests of other students studying your subject. The part-time Executive teams work with their respective Exec Officer to contribute to CUSU campaigns and schemes. The part-time Exec is made up of:

Autonomous Campaigns

CoMET – Communicates and campaigns across campus with JCRs, MCRs and increases student engagement;

Disabled students campaign (Pg 26)

D&D – Responsible for the Union’s long-term development, constitutional issues, rule interpretation and affiliation with external bodies; Education – Supports departmental and faculty reps especially in campaigning on educational issues; Access & Funding – Responsible for campaigns on funding and widening opportunities to attend Cambridge;

CUSU Council Faulty Reps One rep per course


Welfare & Rights - Responsible for CUSU’s activities, campaigns and policy regarding student support and equality for treatment and opportunity;


Vice-Pre s or Exter nal Officer

Ethical Affairs – Campaigns on social and environmental responsibility, raising awareness among students;



Resources – Manages the Union’s resources such as finance, governance and staff interaction.

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What does CUSU do? Representation Elected annually by you, CUSU’s sabbatical officers represent all of the University’s students and campaign for your interests. We represent you at meetings of the University’s committees and ensure that student concerns are heard. CUSU brings together JCRs, MCRs, faculty reps and the five Autonomous Campaigns in campaigning for change at all levels of the University, as well as on a national level through its affiliation with the National Union of Students (NUS).

Common Room + Membership Engagement Team (Comet)

Democracy + Development Team

Welfare + rights team

Welfare Officer Helen

Women’s forum

President Flick If you have any ideas on how to improve any aspect of your course, subject or the University at large, you can bring your ideas to CUSU Council Executive or an Open Meeting either at CUSU or in Coordinator Team your JCR. You can also run for election as a Dom representative on your JCR committee, as a faculty rep or as an officer on an Autonomous Campaign or on the CUSU Executive. Go to Women’s Officer to find out more, or email one of the Lauren sabbatical officers! Access Officer Services: Sam CUSU provides a wide range of supplies and Education services to JCRs, MCRs, societies and individual Officer Access students. We sell cheap bike lights and personal Jia Hui Part-Time attack alarms as well as near-cost sexual health Exec supplies, and also provide printing, photocopying Education and binding services at very low prices. We also part-time have two minivans which can be hired out, and exec you can find more details about all of these at The CUSU office, on the New Museums site, is open 9am-5pm every weekday and can be reached on 01223 333 313 or by emailing


Access: The Access Officer runs the Shadowing Scheme, and you can sign up to be a mentor to prospective Cambridge students. This is one of the best initiatives CUSU runs and is a really exciting scheme to get involved with! You can also sign up to visit schools to talk to younger students about coming to uni.

Women’s Part-Time Exec

Presidents & externals network

ollege Your C mmittees nt co stude


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“Save our Bursaries”

We run many campaigns, both within the University and in response to government education policy. We also provide excellent training and resources to equip you to run your own campaigns. The autonomous campaigns have their own Presidents and committees. They are part of CUSU but can act independently with their own rules and constitutions.

In 2010, over 1000 students turned up with less than 24 hours’ notice to CUSU’s “Save Our Bursaries” protest. Through the protest, and through a motion which CUSU raised in the University’s governing body, the University was convinced to keep the current level of bursary support and not to redirect the money to fee waivers instead.

Some examples of recent campaigns:

Student Advice Service

AS-level petition This year, CUSU took a petition signed by over 1600 students, along with over 200 written testimonials, to the Department of Education to protest the government’s proposed AS-level reforms. These reforms will be bad news for Access work, as we believe the current AS- and A-level system can encourage students to aim higher and the reforms will adversely affect students at struggling schools.

Sports Centre Campaign The brand new University Sports Centre, which opens its doors for the first time this year, is partly the result of years of campaigning by CUSU, particularly through the “800 Years With No Sports Centre” campaign which coincided with the University’s 800th anniversary fundraising back in 2009.


CUSU runs the student-led Advice Service, giving you somewhere to talk about any problems and worries, from housing troubles to academic pressure, mental or sexual health.

Get Involved! All our campaigns are driven by students, so if you have an idea for a campaign, or something you’d like o see changed, get in touch! You can also check out for more information on our current (and recent) campaigns.

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Access What is CUSU Access? Although the University is more diverse now than ever before, and welcomes students from all over the world and from all economic and social backgrounds, many prospective students are still put off by the outdated negative stereotypes surrounding Cambridge. People shouldn’t feel that the university isn’t for “people like them”; anyone with the potential to succeed here should be encouraged to apply. The CUSU Access campaign is the arm of CUSU which runs access and widening participation schemes both within the University and outside, in schools up and down the country. We aim to bust the myths surrounding Cambridge and work to ensure a level playing field for all prospective students regardless of background.

What we do Shadowing Scheme Our most popular activity is the annual Shadowing Scheme, which allows Year 12 students from schools and families with little or no experience of university to come and stay at a Cambridge college for three days and “shadow” a current undergraduate. The scheme is run over three weekends (Thursday-Saturday) in January and February, and last year’s scheme – the largest ever – saw over 350 prospective students staying at 21 different colleges. The prospective students attend lectures and supervisions jointly with their student volunteer, as well as social activities organised by a range of University and college clubs and societies, from rowing to debating and from women’s cricket to gospel singing. The scheme offers a unique opportunity to prospective students to experience life in Cambridge, and an amazing chance for current undergraduates to really have an impact on the lives of sixth-form students.

aim of Target is to break down the negative stereotypes surrounding the University and show prospective students that bright, academically able students from all backgrounds can thrive here. Many volunteers go back to their old schools, but others visit other schools in their local area and still others go further afield on Access trips organised by college Schools Liaison Officers, the Admissions Office, or JCR Access Officers. RAID (Raising Aspirations, Inspiring Decisions) is similar to Target, but is aimed at students younger than Year 12 who have yet to make up their minds about university, or have not yet chosen their A-level options. RAID visits are different from Target ones, as they’re intended to give younger students the chance to really think about their options after school, and encourage those who might not have considered applying to university to do so, and not to be put off by finances or peer pressure.

Alternative Prospectus The CUSU Access Officer also runs the University’s Alternative Prospectus, which is written by current students to provide a “students’-eye view” of life in Cambridge. We’re always looking for new submissions and content, so if you have anything you feel should be in the Alternative Prospectus, get in touch!

Get Involved! If you’d like to get involved in the Shadowing Scheme, Target or RAID, or would like to join CUSU’s Access & Funding Team, email the Access & Funding Officer at or sign up at the CUSU stand at the Societies’ Fair. Alternatively, visit for more information, or just sign up for our school visits and the Shadowing Scheme when they’re advertised throughout the year. You can also be added to one of our Regional Access Groups to stay up-to-date on Access initiatives and visits going on in your local area.

Target and RAID The Target scheme sends student volunteers into state schools which are under-represented at Oxbridge to talk to Year 12 students about life at Cambridge. The 23

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s u o m o n o t u A Campaigns

An important part of CUSU is its autonomous campaigns. These campaigns allow groups who are traditionally disempowered or have specific needs to direct their own activities and represent themselves. Autonomous campaigns play a key role in CUSU’s efforts to make the University a more diverse and accessible environment.

Women’s Campaign


The Women’s Campaign supports and represents all female students in the University. Our Women’s Campaign is inclusive; we are made up of women who belong to all ethnic, religious and class backgrounds, women that define as trans, queer, bisexual and lesbian and women who are student parents. We are able to push for change in how this university runs and in university culture affecting women students’ day to day college lives.

Campaigns play a pivotal role in the work of the Women’s Campaign so we put a lot of time and energy into planning and carrying out campaigns on issues that matter to Cambridge women. What we campaign on is shaped by Women’s Forum, where women students from across the University voice their views on gender issues in the University. Campaigning on gender issues empowers students through providing information and creating networks of people who can work together to achieve common aims. Our 4 main priority Campaigns for this year: • Consent • Domestic Violence • Women in Academia • The Living Wage

The way the campaign is structured is hopefully quite simple to understand. The work of the Women’s Campaign is coordinated by the CUSU Women’s Officer, who is elected every year to work full-time to be the student voice for gender equality in the University. Each college should be represented by a college Women’s Officer. She will attend fortnightly Women’s Forum which is a space for discussing projects that college Women’s Officers want to run, for voting on campaign ideas and for making our campaigns more effective. Anyone, Women’s Officer or not, is welcome (and welcomed!) to attend Women’s Forum. The more of us involved, the more effectively we can campaign! The Women’s Exec is a group of about ten women who meet weekly to talk about campaign ideas inspired by specific university wide problems. These ideas are then taken to Women’s Forum to vote on.

If you want to get involved, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or come along to the Women’s Squash at the beginning of term and fortnightly Women’s Forums!

Email us:

Sign up to our mailing list:

Find us on Facebook:

CUSU Women’s Campaign

Twitter: @CUSUwomen


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Black and Minority Ethnic Students Campaign The Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Campaign exists as a voice for student concerns and to reduce prejudice by promoting an inclusive environment for ethnic minority students throughout the University. We focus on promoting diversity within the institution and this year we aim to take advantage of the momentum to broaden the scope of the Campaign and build on the growth of recent years. We are looking to engage more students and expand the campaign this year, working with existing partnerships to develop our annual calendar of events and embark of new initiatives such as a mentoring programme with local schools. Through our campaigning, we address the educational achievement gaps and work towards improving access figures and supporting existing students.

Campaigning The Joint Committee on Academic Performance was established by the Council and the General Board to act as a central focus for discussion of matters relating to performance in Tripos examinations and to make recommendations as appropriate to the central bodies.

A research project was launched and overseen by the Joint Committee, entitled ‘The undergraduate experience of Cambridge among three ethnic minority groups’. The aim of this project was to gain a better understanding of the experiences of students from Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black British homes whilst they are in Cambridge, and to identify specific issues which affect them along with the ways in which these may have an impact on their academic performance. The project was completed in 2005 and the report released on the 13th March 2006, reaching the conclusion that ethnicity is not in itself a factor determining academic performance, although there remain substantial differences in academic achievement between different British ethnic groups. There are numerous opportunities to get involved with the BME campaign: visit our stall at the fresher’s fair and come to our fresher’s squash to meet the team and get involved!




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Disabled Students Campaign The DSC is the organised voice of disabled students in Cambridge University. We are the newest of the five Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) autonomous campaigns. As an autonomous campaign, we are run by our members, for our members. At the DSC we recognise that disability means different things to different people, and as long as you consider yourself disabled or have personally experienced disability in the past, then the DSC is your campaign. The aim of the DSC is to enable disabled students to organize ourselves to change the University and other institutions disabled students here use or would like to use in order to make sure that our minds and bodies are taken seriously, our ways of doing things are valued equally and our rights are respected. We do not want to be tolerated or accommodated. We want to attend a university, and live in a society, in which the body and mind norms that can be used to discriminate against us have been done away with, and tolerance and accommodation no longer make sense. The DSC organizes regular events and elects officers. We hold frequent open meetings (ten each year), which are the key discussion and decision making forums of

the campaign. Coming to these is the best way for most new members to get to know about the campaign and the active members.

Campaigns The DSC’s campaigns are determined by all its members through open meetings: anyone can bring a new idea, and we try to always reach consensus before we take something forward. Many of us involved in the campaign have found it a relief to tackle the challenges we face as disabled students collectively, without feeling a lone voice in a disabling society. We’re keen to have lots of new voices getting actively involved and shaping the campaigns we do so do come along to our • Degrading is Degrading • Fair Funding • College Reps • Positive Self Definition

Visit our website:

Email us:

Find us on Facebook & twitter





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LBGT+ Campaign There is a thriving LBGT+ community in Cambridge. CUSU LBGT+ exists to safeguard and support the interests of LBGT+ students. In addition to campaigning on issues our members feel are important, we run social events to support you in joining the LBGT+ community.

LBGT+ College Reps There are LBGT+ welfare officers in each college on the JCR Committee. If you need advice, a chat or wish to seek more information, they are a useful source. We also run an LBGT+ Parenting Scheme, which is a fantastic way to make new friends and meet people in the community.

Events Every Wednesday at The Place there is an LBGT+ night, Spectrum, which is an extremely popular night. Alternatively, you can meet new people and make friends at LBGT+ coffee meetings or film nights.

Campaigns As well as providing welfare support and organising events for LGBT+ students in the University of Cambridge, CUSU LGBT+ does a lot of campaigning on behalf of its members. A large part of this consists of quietly bringing small-scale issues to the attention of relevant authorities, but where there is a more wideranging issue about which the members feel strongly CUSU LGBT+ often aims to provide a collective voice to these concerns through the running of a subcampaign specific to that issue. We are currently running a campaign called “Bloody Unfair”, in which we are raising awareness of the National Blood Service’s 12 month ban on men who have sex with men and lobbying the Service to change their policy. We also work with “Think Outside The Box”, an affiliated campaign aiming to improve access for and understanding of non-binary-gendered people, within the university. On a smaller scale, we are in the process of producing some publicity materials to help promote understanding of trans issues and give people the confidence to discuss these in a sensitive manner.



International Student’s Campaign iCUSU is the umbrella body for all international societies and students in Cambridge University. We aim to serve as a hub for all things international happening in Cambridge, whilst looking out for the needs of internationals.

Our ‘core purposes’ are: • To look after students’ well-being through Language workshops, a Mentorship Program and Freshers’ Week events. • To act as a platform for international student’s voices and to serve as a networking centre for all students to connect. • Campaign to improve opportunities for underprivileged groups abroad.

College Reps and Freshers’ Groups Each college has an international student representative. There are often international student fresher’s events in college so you can make friends and find out more about the campaign. Join the International student’s freshers group for your college on facebook and connect before you arrive!

Campaigns and Events International Freshers Week (IFW) is an introductory series of events taking place in Cambridge for international students beginning undergraduate studies. We will be hosting a variety of social gatherings, city tours and will be happy to help with any queries. IFW will lead into Freshers Week events, which usually consist of pub crawls, icebreakers and the like. It is a universitywide event and is open to all students from all colleges. iCUSU run 3 flagship events every year to involve and represent students; this year we will be launching a major campaign to promote international access to Cambridge.


Jargon Buster! CUSU: Cambridge University Students’ Union - though you should know that by now!


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General Support

Student Advice Service The Student Advice Service is one of the major ways that CUSU can support you and your peers. We offer free, confidential and independent support to all students. If you would like advice, information, support or representation on any issue while you’re in Cambridge then it’s always worth checking in with the Advice Service to see how we can help. The Student Advice Service is made up of two professional Student Advisors, the Welfare Officer, Education Officer and Women’s Officer. We are all trained to provide support and representation and the service is accredited by Advice UK. Lisa Dery and Rachel Wilson – Student Advisors Helen Hoogewerf-McComb – Welfare Officer Lauren Steele – Women’s Officer Jia Hui Lee – Education Officer

University Counselling Service The University Counselling Service is an invaluable resource for students at Cambridge. Not only does the UCS provide students with free counselling, it also organises group sessions, workshops and information leaflets on a wide range of student issues. Whether it’s overcoming sleep problems, writing up your PhD or managing your mood, there are resources available at the UCS to help you out. The Counselling Service even provides its own Freshers Guide which has some great advice about how to manage your transition to Cambridge. Take a look here:


In Your College Tutor Every student at Cambridge should be assigned a Tutor who is responsible for providing you with pastoral support. Issues brought to a Tutor might include worries about finance, mental health concerns or procedural questions. It’s really good to keep your Tutor informed about how you are doing and let them know about any problems as they arise.

DoS Undergrads will also be assigned a Director of Studies, or DoS, who will be familiar with your subject and provides you with academic support. You should be able to discuss your progress with them, along with any challenges you may have. If something happening in your life may impact your work, like getting ill during term, it’s good to let them know.

College Nurse Most colleges have access to a nurse who you can visit during full term. You can go to your nurse about any medical or personal problems confidentially, and it may be good to inform your nurse of any pre-existing medical problems you may have. Your college nurse will also be able to direct you to other sources of support, help you join a GP or find a dentist.

College Chaplain A chaplain is available at every college. The chaplain offers pastoral and spiritual support and guidance for all students on any issue, regardless of your religious affiliation or belief/non-belief.

College Welfare Officers Your JCR or MCR will have a Welfare Officer who can be a listening ear and provide you with information about support options available to you. Welfare Teams often put on a range of events to help you settle in, de-stress from work and stay healthy so look out for updates and bulletins to let you know what kinds of things they have planned!

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Health & Wellbeing

Mental Health Promoting Mental Wellbeing Mental wellbeing is a general state of good mental health. Like regular exercise and good nutrition, promoting mental wellbeing is an important part of keeping healthy. Make sure you take steps to look after yourself, talk about how you are feeling and look out for ‘welfare’, ‘chill-out’ and ‘relaxation’ events throughout the year. Mind, the mental health charity, produces advice on “How to improve and maintain you mental wellbeing” which is well worth a read.

Finding Information A great step to looking after your mental health is to learn more about the issues and address your own misconceptions. Mind publishes a guide called ‘Understanding Mental Health Problems’ which can give important insights into different mental health conditions. You can also get information from the Student Advice Service or the University Counselling Service.

Accessing Support If you do experience a mental health problem, you don’t need to be afraid to access help. Health services within the city are very used to seeing students with a broad range of mental health issues and there are many alternative forms of support. If you think you may be experiencing mental health problems, you could try talking to: • The Student Advice Service • Your GP • The University Counselling Service • Your tutor • College Welfare Officer • College nurse • College chaplain


Sexual Health Despite what people might believe, many students will not have sex while they are at university. The choice about whether or not you want to have sex is yours to make but either way it is wise to have information about sexual health so that you can make properly informed decisions and support friends who do choose to have sex. You can get free, confidential advice on a range of sexual health issues (STIs, pregnancy, contraception, abortion) from your college nurse, GP, a sexual health clinic such as The Laurels on Newmarket Road or the Student Advice Service.

C-Card The c-card scheme allows students access to FREE condoms and sexual health advice. If you decide to join the scheme you will be given a C-card. This will not have your name or any personal details on it. Once you have a C-card you will be able to get condoms by showing your card at any of a number of “pick up points” around Cambridge. These are mainly the big pharmacies in town, college nurses and college Sexual Health Teams. You need to show your card every time you want to get condoms. If you don’t have your card with you, if you have lost it or if it is full, you will not be able to get any condoms at that time. You can re-register at any time for a new card.

Sexual Health Supplies CUSU provides a range of other sexual health supplies which can be purchased by individuals or bought in bulk by JCRs and MCRs. CUSU can provide latex, latex-free or vegan condoms; femidoms; latex and latex-free dental dams and lubricant. Pregnancy tests are available for free from CUSU reception. Remember that it is worth checking with your JCR or MCR to see what supplies they can offer to you free as part of their sexual health support.

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Eating Problems

If you do choose to have sex, it is a good idea to get checked out for STIs regularly and if you change partners. Colleges will normally host a chlamydia testing event once a year but there are other infections which you may be exposed to so a full screen might be wise.

If you have an eating disorder, feel that you may be developing problems around eating and food or are worried about a friend, there are a number of different ways to access advice and support. People are often hesitant to seek help if they feel they are ‘not disordered enough’ but remember: if an eating problem is significant to you then it should be considered seriously by any support service you choose to access. If you are comfortable, you could try talking to your college nurse, the UCS, a GP or other NHS services. If you are unsure who to approach and would like someone to discuss your options with, the Student Advice Service can provide confidential, non-judgemental support and advice.

You can get tested at: The Laurels 20 Newmarket Road 08456 505 152 Clinic 1a Addenbrookes Hospital 01223 217 774 If you want to be screened for HIV then you must do this at Clinic 1a as the Laurels does not currently conduct this testing.

Consent Sexual health isn’t just about STIs and pregnancy; it is also about being able to engage in healthy sexual relationships if that is your choice. Consent is active and willing participation in sexual activity. Consent cannot be assumed - whether you’re in a relationship, if you’ve been kissing, or no matter who has paid for the date – and an absence of “no” does not mean “yes”. Checking for consent needs to be an on-going process, and is the responsibility of both partners. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to ask. The CUSU Women’s Campaign runs consent workshops and campaigns to improve awareness of issues around consent. Learn more at:


CUSU-GU B-Eat Group The CUSU Eating Disorders Self Help and Support Group is a non-judgmental, non-critical, confidential group where anyone who feels they have been affected by eating disorders, issues with food or related issues can talk openly about their life, problems and issues regarding recovery. Each group is facilitated by at least two Beat-registered Group Facilitators and attendees support each other by sharing experiences, thoughts, successes and problems. The group is user-led so you can talk as much or as little as you want and you are welcome to bring a friend along if it makes you more comfortable.

University Counselling Service The UCS can support students with disordered eating through individual counselling and group sessions. Group sessions are scheduled to begin at the start of November and take a ‘part experiential, part psychoeducational’ approach. Students wishing to attend will normally have a pre-group exploratory meeting with the group counsellor.

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Specialist Support

Student Parents University Childcare Office The University Childcare Office is the central organisation which can provide student parents with information and advice. You can contact an advisor at and to ask to be added to their weekly bulletin. Alternatively, you can look through the Cambridge Guide for Student Parents which is hosted on the Childcare Office website.

Student Parents Society The CU Student Parents Society is a group for student parents to meet, pass on information and generally talk about their life in Cambridge. The society has a pretty active Facebook group where you can go to get advice or an insight into what life is like for parents studying at the University.

In Your College The provision of facilities and family accommodation varies between colleges so it is a really good idea to talk to your college about what they have on offer. Each college has a designated Childcare Contact who can give you information about accommodation and finance issues.

Parent and Toddler Group The Graduate Union organises a weekly Parent and Toddler Group which meets on Fridays, 10:30am12:30pm, at the University Centre on Mill Lane. It’s a free, informal group for students and/or their partners who have young children and is a great way to meet people and make friends within the student parent community.

Disabled Students Disability covers a broad spectrum including mental health conditions, specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia or dyspraxia), autism, chronic health conditions and mobility and sensory impairments. If you do have a disability or are diagnosed with one during your time at Cambridge it is important to consider disclosing this to your college as it will help them to understand what reasonable adjustments they may need to make to support you. If you have disclosed a disability to your college and faculty and feel that your access needs are not being met, you can talk to the DRC or the Student Advice Service who can provide support and guidance.

Disability Resource Centre The DRC is a University service which provides advice, information and support to all disabled students, as well as coordinating assessment for specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. They may be able to supply students with study skills tuition, mentoring, loan of specialist equipment, and assistance with funding applications. The DRC also maintains the Cambridge University Disability Access Guide which provides access information about college, faculty and other University buildings.

Disabled Students Allowance The Disabled Students’ Allowance is intended to help pay for extra costs you may encounter as a result of your disability. A diagnosis is required before a student can claim their allowance; this can be completed at the Disability Resource Centre. Any assessment is confidential –information about your disability will not be passed on without your consent. It is available to all full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students from the UK.


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Your Checklist

Before you get to Cambridge In case you haven’t given much thought to what you’ll need to bring with you to Cambridge, we’ve compiled a helpful list of things you might need! But don’t worry if you forget anything, there are plenty of shops here!

For your room

Anything that makes you feel at home – posters, ornaments etc. Rugs, cushions etc. Pillow/Duvet (some colleges provide) Bed Linen (some colleges provide) Towels Toiletries Washing Powder/Tablets Laundry bag/basket Alarm Clock Extension Lead/Adaptor Phone charger Speakers/iPod dock Coat Hangers Iron (usually provided) Desk Lamp (optional)

For the kitchen

Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate Biscuits/Cake Emergency Rations (i.e. Baked Beans, Tinned Soup) General Cutlery and Crockery Sharp Knife Chopping Board Pans Bottle Opener Tin Opener Washing-up Liquid Dish Cloth Tea Towel Kettle (usually provided)


Worth considering

Batteries Bedtime Reading/Novels/DVDs Bike/Bike Lock/Helmet/Lights (although you can buy lights from the CUSU reception) Camera TV – remember, you’ll need a license too! Posters/Pictures/Photos Printer (by no means essential) Chocolate Umbrella

ID and documents

Birth Certificate Passport NHS Card, Medical details/Immunisation history Paperwork relating to any financial assistance you’ve applied for National Insurance Number Insurance Certificate (possessions, bike, musical instrument…) Passport Photos – for your CUSU membership card, society membership etc (4 or so) Bank account details – if you’ve already set up your bank account Bank things – debit card, credit card and cheque book etc


Some smarter clothing such as a suit/dress or skirt for more formal occasions such as formal halls and matriculation (check with your college if they have any particular requirements for matriculation). It gets very cold in winter, so even if it’s sunny now don’t forget to bring things for when it gets chilly!

Relevant notes from your A-level (or equivalent) course Reading list and anything sent by your faculty/college PC or Laptop (optional) Stationery - pens, paper, hole punch, etc 37

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useful contacts

Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU): Old Examination Hall, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF | @CUSUonline 01223 333 313 | Peas Hill

• Disability Resource Centre Keynes House, Trumpington Street 01223 332301 | • International Office 01223 764680 | • Points Based Immigration Office 01223 337984 | • University Accommodation Service • Board of Graduate Studies • Graduate Union

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• Student Health Website - • NHS Direct - 0845 46 47 • Urgent Care Cambridgeshire - 03301239131 • Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road - 01223 245 151 • Rape Crisis Centre - 01223 245 888

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Student Advice Service Lisa Dery (Full-time Student Advisor) | 01223 746999 Helen Hoogewerf-McComb (Welfare and Rights Officer) Jia Hui Lee (Education Officer) Lauren Steele (Women’s Officer)

University • University Counselling Service 2/3 Benet Place, Lensfield Road | 01223 332865 • University Childcare Office 01223 332249 | Ask a question:

Email: Text: 123CUSU & message to 88802


Legal • Citizen’s Advice Bureau | 0844 848 7979

Sexual Health • The Laurels (Confidential sexual health check-ups) 20 Newmarket Road, Cambridge, 08456 505 152 • • •

Listening and Support • Linkline - Linkline is a listening support and information service, run by students for students, every night of Cambridge University full term. You can call on 01223 744 444 or 01223 367 575 between 7pm and 7am. • Samaritans - Confidential listening service 24/7 01223 364454 (local) or 08457 909090 (national)

Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU)


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Cambridge University Students' Union  

The Official Cambridge University Students' Union Freshers' Guide for students starting at the University of Cambridge in October 2013!

Cambridge University Students' Union  

The Official Cambridge University Students' Union Freshers' Guide for students starting at the University of Cambridge in October 2013!