7 things to love about UWE: My response to Bristol

It’s no secret that there’s a distinct rivalry between Bristol University and UWE 

But from a UWE student’s perspective, I can honestly say that in my 18 months in Bristol I have never had the slightest urge to move to UoB, mainly because all the students I come across that study there seem to have a huge chip on their shoulder when it comes to their so-called ‘little brother’.

I don’t want this article to have the sole purpose of brutally criticising the University of Bristol (I won’t stoop to their level!) but I do feel that with everything they feel they need to say about us, we have the right to proudly state all of the things there is to love about UWE, and why we deserve more respect.

1. Location

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Image taken from the UWE Bristol website

We may not be in the heart of the city, but that isn’t necessarily such a bad thing. Frenchay Campus is beautiful, green and peaceful at any time of the year, and only a mere four miles north of the city centre. As the largest of UWE’s campuses, it’s never crowded and has a calm and collected vibe to it. As vibrant as the city itself is, I don’t miss its wailing sirens and blaring car horns at all hours of the night. Trees trump traffic.

2. Facilities

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‘UWE has Frenchay… the less said about that the better’. However, through spending only one year living on Frenchay Campus I can confirm that it’s constantly improving — not that it wasn’t fabulous already. Aside from the brand-spanking-new Business and Law building that proudly stands in the centre of campus, we have a newly-refurbished library (as well as other buildings) and new accommodation at Wallscourt. Our partnership with Bristol Rovers Football Club also aided the construction of their new stadium.

It is plain to see that our university’s funding is going into improving the learning environment for its students, and I’d much rather study in an area that keeps up with the times rather than a cold and lifeless structure built nearly a century ago.

3. Our ‘vibe’

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Image taken from the UWE Bristol website

I’ve seen first-hand that UWE is full of happy-go-lucky students that just love to go out and have fun alongside their degree, and somehow that deserves being looked down upon by stuck-up Bristol students? I will go as far as to say that there isn’t a single UWE student who has said that they would rather study at UoB, so I think Bristol needs to get off its high-horse and realise that our city is more than big enough for the both of us. We go to the same clubs, drink at the same bars, and stumble to the same kebab shops afterwards — you’re really nothing special.

If you feel the need to constantly proclaim out loud that you’re better than us, the fact is that you probably aren’t. Have some dignity, Bristol.

4. Our students’ union

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The students’ union at UWE takes pride in supporting its students on both an academic and a social level. As well as Jobshop, student housing support and volunteering opportunities, it also has entire months full of events dedicated to the awareness of different cultures and communities that are represented here at UWE – and February being LGBTQ+ History Month is no exception. Our SU has had previous success in October’s Black History Month, November’s Islamophobia Awareness Month, and the upcoming SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance) Week from February 12 to 16 is sure to reach the same result.

I hope you’re taking notes, Bristol – you might just learn a thing or two!

5. International student support

UWE’s International Office is constantly at work to help give foreign students the best possible support. International students are given helpful guidance regarding visas and immigration, scholarships and financial aid, and are offered incredible English language support so they get the best learning experience possible while studying here.

On a similar note, with a student body as diverse as ours, the Equality and Diversity Unit at UWE also takes a proactive role in ensuring that both students and staff are treated fairly regardless of age, race, nationality, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. UWE clearly has its students’ best interests at heart, and it’s truly amazing to see.

6. Mental health and wellbeing support

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From personal experience, I can say that the wellbeing service is a phenomenal asset to UWE, and it provides an immeasurable amount of support for its students. From free walk-in sessions to scheduled counselling appointments, it is clear that the mental welfare of UWE’s students is at the top of its list of priorities. UWE students don’t need to campaign for mental health awareness, because we already have it right on our doorstep.

7. Statistics

It is clear from my previous points that we have plenty to boast about at UWE Bristol — but don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself:

• At 88%, we are the top university in the South West for student satisfaction

• After climbing 16 places in The Guardian League Table, we are in the top 20 for student experience with feedback

• With a Silver rating in Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), it means that we consistently exceed the baseline quality threshold

• 95.1% of UWE graduates are in work or further study after six months, with 78.1% in professional or managerial roles

• Our world leading research has increased by a huge 170%, resulting in real benefits to the economy and society as well as increasing academic knowledge

We’re obviously on the up and up. Not bad for being ‘second-best’.

So, Bristol: I’m sorry that you feel the need to insult our university to make yourself feel better, but I won’t apologise for the fact that there is another jewel in the crown that is the South West of England that shines just as brightly and beautifully. We don’t think you’re a dreadful institution — we’re all about spreading the love — and there are positive and negative points to make about both of us. However, I know which one I’d rather be at.

I’m UWE through-and-through, and I’m proud.

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