Spotlight On: Reading University Student’s Union (RUSU)

RUSU logo

We are so delighted to have welcomed Reading University Student’s Union (RUSU) to Connect Reading! 

Ryan Bird, Chief Executive at RUSU, took some time to answer some questions and tell us all about the organisation and how we can connect with all they’re doing.

Reading University Student's Union (RUSU)

RUSU is a democratic, student-led organisation, here to help students make the most of their experience whilst studying at the University of Reading. We do this by providing support, opportunities, facilities and entertainment. We elect leaders each year to direct our work and to campaign for positive change. RUSU’s purpose is to improve student life. We are an independent charity and are relentlessly focused on delivering impactful changes for our members. RUSU’s ambition is to deliver what our 20,000+ members want in an accountable, inclusive and forward-thinking way.

What was your biggest challenge last year?

Students’ Unions thrive on in person activity. COVID has had a significant impact on our income streams (bars, events, cafes, shops) but also our ability to engage directly with our members (advice, clubs, societies, campaigning, volunteering etc). Lots of our activity has transferred online so we are very much looking forward to the return of students and to collectively invest time and resources into rebuilding our wonderful community.

What have you learned?

Lots! Two things stand out. Firstly, how important it is to look after yourself and each other. The kindness and support I have witnessed both in and outside of work this past year has been unbelievable. I really hope we can take that forward with us. Secondly, change can be a positive thing (even in a crisis). At RUSU we’ve achieved things that would have previously taken years in a matter of months – the can-do approach of the team has meant we’ve been able to learn as we go and we plan to come through this time stronger and more resilient.

What has been your biggest creative triumph as an organisation?

It has to be our students! They didn’t get what they signed up for this year but despite this they have continued to respond positively – from finding creative solutions to undertake activity online through to continuing to volunteer remotely in the community. Students amaze me every day and their drive and passion to make the world a better place reminds me why I work in this sector.

Why did you join Connect Reading?

I am passionate about our organisation and our students – together we have achieved some fantastic things. I feel there is a greater role we could play in the town and so I joined to enable us to connect more with local organisations and businesses.

What are you most looking forward to?

RUSU is embarking on a new strategy, we’ll be busy finalising that over the summer and I am excited about starting the next leg of our 90+ year journey.

How can people connect with you and support what you’re doing?

Please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and to discuss how we can connect you with students and our organisation. Email ryan.bird@reading.ac.uk or visit our website for more information about what we do www.rusu.co.uk

Spotlight On: Reading University Student’s Union (RUSU)
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