Part of the local community
With its 17,000 students and 3,700 staff the University brings a huge range of benefits to the community.
Every year, many of our students and staff volunteer in a wide range of schools, organisations and charities.
Our Student Tutoring Scheme sees nearly 300 students volunteering in 40 local primary and secondary schools annually. Over 4,000 students have visited a local school under this scheme since its launch in 1991.
The Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award rewards students for undertaking extracurricular activities further encourages volunteering.
Our annual Student Community Award recognises the many contributions that our students make to their local community. Find out more about the Student Community Awards 2010/11 >>>
One of the University's most important roles locally is as a major employer. The University attracts highly-skilled people to the region and provides employment in occupations across the entire skills spectrum. Over half of the University's staff lives within a five mile radius of one of the University's campuses (75% within ten miles), playing a significant role in the local community and making a substantial contribution to the local economy.
Many of the University's academic departments engage in innovative work in the community - the School of Law's students volunteer on a free legal advice service for local people alongside CommuniCare, a voluntary sector organization and legal firm Shoosmiths.
Sport and Culture
We provide a wide range of facilities which contribute to a rich mix of cultural and leisure opportunities available in the area. For example our SportsPark provides state-of-the-art, modern facilities open to all.
We have three museums which are open to the public. The Museum of English Rural Life offers a huge programme of activities for schools and families in addition to important research facilities for academics and others. Visitors are also welcome at the the Ure Museum of Archaeology and Cole Museum of Zoology.
Our Queens Anniversary Prize-winning Department of Archeology open up their annual archeological dig at Silchester in the summer for visitors to enjoy and explore.
We also run a stimulating and very popular programme of free Public Lectures delivered by experts in their field in the Palmer Lecture Theatre. Palmer building is also home to the Reading Film Theatre and we run Café Sci, an informal discussion session in a town centre bar providing lively debate on topical scientific issues.
Reading University Students Union (RUSU) organises a wide range of volunteering activity for Reading students and recognises the efforts of students through a volunteer of the month scheme. Many of our students give up their time to make a positive contribution in the local community in initiatives such as running a community choir, building an eco-friendly greenhouse for Little Learners' Nursery and becoming pen pals with residents at Lakeside Care Home to volunteering at an orphanage in Romania, running a summer activity programme or undertaking vital maintenance work.
Neighbourhood community engagement
We have strong working partnerships with local authorities, statutory and voluntary agencies and local residents. The University and Students' Union are represented on many local action groups and are actively engaged in a number of practical initiatives aimed at engaging students with local residents. These include our Blooming Students project, an annual competition which encourages students to make their front gardens beautiful. For students who are experiencing living in private rented accommodation for the first time, they are introduced to their community by their non-student neighbours and given a welcome pack of information to help them settle in.
The Harris Garden is a community resource on campus and enjoys the proactive support of the Friends of the Harris Garden which organises special charity open days in support of local organisations.
Campus environment and architectural heritage
We are very fortunate in having a beautiful 130 hectare campus at Whiteknights which consists of a meadow, woodland, and lake. The campus was recognised as one of the most beautiful green spaces in England in the 2011 Green Flag Awards. There are many magnificent and mature trees and the University continues the tradition of planting both native and exotic specimens. Members of the public are encouraged to enjoy the campus by taking part in weekly, volunteer-led organised walks or as individuals by following our few simple guidelines.