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Dolche Vita

Campus catering update

As part of our wider work to give students the best experience possible and investing in our staff and students, we are looking at alternative options for catering on our Canterbury campus. This includes investigating options around outsourcing, if an appropriate partner can be found.

We are really proud of the work that has been done by our catering team to continuously deliver a high quality of service on campus, in the face of rising costs and challenging external factors. In order to continue to improve the catering experience on campus and cater to the evolving needs and wants of our staff and students, we are aware that future investment is needed.

We will be looking to use this as an opportunity to invest in our outlets and technological infrastructure, modernise our facilities and introduce well-known and recognisable brands to improve the experience of our staff and students and supporting a healthy community on campus.

A key part of the process will be finding a provider who can support and align with Right to Food objectives, ensuring healthy and affordable food is readily available for staff and students on our campuses. It will also include looking for a partner that can deliver development opportunities for our catering staff and minimise disruption to our workforce as well as the staff, students and visitors who eat on campus.

During this process we will continue to value and work with our excellent catering team and ensure they are supported throughout and that they are able to continue to deliver the high-quality service they currently provide.

We are at the very beginning of this journey and have just started a competitive tender. No decisions have been made regarding the future catering provision, but we will keep you informed if and when things change.

Sports Students Unite Against Racism

With Black Inclusion Week starting soon, we wanted to highlight some of the great work being done by Kent Union and Christ Church Students’ Union, who joined forces to show racism in sport the red card by running a ‘Tell Your Story’ campaign.

Sports teams from the universities held their annual Varsity competition at the end of March, and this year there was more at stake than just who would claim the title of champion. Students came together in solidarity not just for the love of the game, but also to take a stand against racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

Launched on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, this anti-racism campaign centres around a two short films, featuring eight student athletes from racially and ethnically marginalised (REM) backgrounds share their stories, speaking about how their experiences have been shaped by racial discrimination and prejudice in sport. Watch the films here.

“REM students are underrepresented in our sports clubs by 12%,” says Toni Abiodun, Kent Union Vice President Student Engagement, who spearheaded the campaign alongside Max Elvin, her counterpart at Christ Church Students’ Union. Toni continued, “I wanted to run a campaign which was bold, supportive, and inclusive. It was clear there was a lack of participation and representation amongst our REM students in our sports clubs and committees, an issue that couldn’t be ignored. Varsity is the biggest sporting showcase event of the year, so I used this opportunity to hold ourselves and our sports teams accountable.”

Image of a Southeastern Train

Train Strikes During Exams

Please be aware of planned train strikes if you usually travel to campus by train. Currently industrial strike action is scheduled on Southeastern Trains for the first day of exams, Tuesday 7 May. We recognise the impact this may have on your studies and are here to support you. The Southeastern Trains website has further details and helpful information.

If you have an in-person exam on a train strike day, please make every effort to make alternative travel arrangements as these exams cannot be rescheduled and it is in your best interests to complete your exams as scheduled. Our Campus Travel updates webpage can help you plan an alternative journey.

Bed and Flex in student accommodation on campus is available to book throughout the exam period for any student wanting to take advantage of this you can find booking details here.

Travel disruption in itself is not normally a reason for mitigation (see Credit Framework for details). However, if your circumstances mean that alternative arrangements to attend your in-person exam on Tuesday 7 May are not possible, you can apply for an End Of Year Mitigation through the Extenuating Circumstances portal in Kent Vision. You will need to detail your normal travel arrangements and how you are impacted by train strike action in your request.

For all other exams related matters, please follow the usual exams guidance.

Student chilling in a hammock

Looking after your wellbeing during exams

Exams can be stressful and in stressful times we can forget to look after our own wellbeing as we focus solely on the upcoming event. Here are some tips from Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) on looking after your wellbeing during exam season.

Study spaces

It’s important to create a study space that is comfortable and away from any distractions. As tempting as it is to study in bed, creating a separation between work and rest will allow you to focus better when you are working, and switch off quicker when you rest. This will help to decrease your stress levels. Whether it’s the library, your favourite cosy café, or the kitchen table, experiment with different spaces to find what works best for you. We have amazing green spaces in the campus that are perfect in nicer weather to study in, like the Keynes duck pond or the green area by Templeman library. Our wellbeing map shows all good wellbeing locations you can use.


Recognising when to take a break is difficult, but something you will learn with time. We often become less productive when we don’t give ourselves time to rest. Whether it’s short, but frequent, study breaks or taking a day off. Dedicate blocks of time to rest from your studies, for example you can break the day in morning afternoon and evenings. It’s okay to take a day off to look after your mental health, just as you would if you were feeling ill. Make time for things that you enjoy and allow you to relax. If you need help putting together an exam study timetable you can speak to Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) for advice on revision planning and strategies.

Social activities 

We all tend to isolate ourselves from others for the sake of studying. However, this can often have adverse effects on how you look after your wellbeing. Dedicating time to meeting with friends not only allows you to take healthy breaks from work, but also gives you an opportunity to seek support in others. Look at what events and activities are on offer at Kent Union if you want to look for social activities and events.

Having something to look forward to is important

Lack of motivation is usually something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives, especially towards the end of exam season. Having something planned for the end of exams can give you something to look forward to and work towards. This could be a concert, going out for a meal, or getting together with friends. Your big goal could be the Summer Ball. You can use countdowns to help motivate you. You can also use smaller things to look forward to day to day, for example if I do three hours of revision in a day, in the evening I can watch Netflix etc.

Being in nature

Studying all day can get you feeling pretty cooped up. Getting outside, being in nature is good for your mental wellbeing. It can help to keep you active and provide a space to think about other things than the exam or content you are working on. Perhaps go for a walk, a run or arrange to meet a friend as a break for you both.


You should never sacrifice sleep for study time. If you haven’t slept enough, no matter how much study you are doing, it will not go in. Sleep problems can often be an indication of other issues so you should always speak to your doctor if you are having long term issues with sleep. Routine is important to establish good day and evening structures. Get up at a regular time each day and try to keep a consistent bedtime. It is important to also have some downtime after study for an hour where you can decompress and empty your mind before you go to bed. Get off social media, that activates your brain. You can use various sleep mindfulness programmes. There are sleep support routines and guided support on the Spectrum Life app and you have free access to this.

Focusing on you 

It’s so easy to compare the amount of work we’ve done to our classmates. But it’s important to remember that everyone works differently and at their own pace. Have confidence in your own abilities and don’t lose faith just because you think someone has done more than you. They may not be telling the truth. We all learn differently and that is important to remember.

Setting realistic goals 

Telling yourself that you will study for an unrealistic number of hours each day is setting yourself up to fail. It takes a bit of practice and experience, but you will get to know what kind of goals are realistic for you. Setting achievable goals for each day will give you a sense of achievement and help to relieve any stress. You should spend no more than 8 hours in any day revising. After that you neglect other things like social time, relaxation time, going into nature etc. use the 8 x 8 x 8 wellbeing principle of 8 hours of work, 8 hours of relaxation, social, personal time and 8 hours of sleep.

Talking to people if you are struggling 

If you are struggling with your mental health during this time please speak to someone. You can contact SSW or contact the out of hours support provided by Spectrum. You can also speak to friends or family if you are struggling with things. The important thing is to let someone know if you feel things are unmanageable.

Having perspective 

We want you to the bets you can do in your exams but we understand that sometimes things can be difficult. All you can ever do is your best, and sometimes we make mistakes or things can get on top of us and we have a bad day. Not getting a perfect grade is not the end of the world, in the long run whilst this seems so important now it is just one small part of your life.- have that perspective. If you don’t do as well as you would have hoped there are resits, mitigation and lots of support available to you.

Upcoming Moodle Outage on 25 April

Moodle will be undergoing scheduled maintenance on Thursday 25 April from 07:00 – 17:00, and will be unavailable during this time. Although inconvenient, this maintenance is essential to ensure a high-quality virtual learning environment and cannot be rescheduled. Therefore, we kindly request you to download any materials you might need for that day in advance from your Moodle modules.

Lecture Recordings Access: Although Moodle will be unavailable, you can still access all your lecture recordings directly via Kent Player. We encourage you to use this resource to catch up on or review past lectures.

Service is expected to resume fully by 17:00 on 25 April. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes. Please contact IT & Library Support for support and advice regarding this Moodle outage.

Contact IT & Library Support


FACE x Horniman Exhibition

As part of #Black365, March 2024 sees the launch of FACE X HORNIMAN – Hair: Untold Stories exhibition. FACE (Fashion Academics Creating Equality) and the Horniman Museum. This exhibition is set in a physical space for the first time, and explores and celebrates the influence, importance and personal narratives attached to the significance of hair seen against Eurocentric beauty standards from Black, Brown and Asian perspectives within the UK.

The exhibition has been curated by Fashion designer and Senior Lecturer Davina Hawthorne (De Montfort University) and Photographer and Associate Professor Max Kandhola (Nottingham Trent University), both council members of FACE and Co-Founder of FACE, Sharon Lloyd. Contributing editors: Dr Sarah Bryne, Professor Emma Tarlo, Rose Sinclair (MBE), Andrew Ibi, Jacob Goff, Benita Odogwu-Atkinson and Michelle Marshall.

The exhibition will seek to take visitors on a journey of discovery of the importance of hair from within the academic and student educational space. Both students and academics explore the complex relationship between hair and identity, revealing the importance of generational traditions in different communities and the power of creative invention.

The exhibition will launch on Wednesday 27 March, 5pm in Keynes College and remain open and free to view for all staff, students, and members of the community in Keynes Atrium and Teaching Gallery spaces until July 2024.

If you would like to attend the Private View please contact Becky Lamyman on by 25 March 2024.

#Black365 is a yearlong campaign to celebrate Black culture, Black excellence and Black achievement at the University of Kent.
FACE (Fashion Academics Creating Equality) works to challenge Higher Education Institutions and industry in fashion, art and design fields to be more inclusive, unified and equitable, with a particular spotlight on issues concerning race, colour and ethnicity. More information on the FACE academics who have supported this exhibition through text and works can be found at
Horniman Museum is located in Forest Hill, South East London, and aspires to connect visitors with global cultures and the natural world, encouraging us to shape a positive future for the world we all share and was the Art Fund Museum of the Year winner 2022.
Works and text produced by FACE Academics and Students for Horniman Museum’s Hair: Untold Stories can also be viewed online.

Living Black at Kent student focus group

Help the University Accommodation team develop their next Living Black at Kent welcome booklet, they rolled out a welcome booklet last year, and work towards improving our Black students’ experience.

The booklet is to help smooth the transition to life in Kent and the University, and the team are all ears to know what you think of it. Honest opinions are needed on what worked and what needs improvement. There are two focus groups lined up and the team are looking for Black students to pitch in their ideas to make this resource even better.

What is a welcome booklet?

The Living Black at Kent booklet is an honest effort to spotlight local services near our campuses. It’s designed to assist Black students in adjusting to living in a new town by making them aware of helpful resources within the local area.

Who created it and what did the report say?

Kent’s staff and students collaborated to create this booklet, following a report by Unite Students, and supported by Halpin Partnership. The report by Unite Students highlighted the experiences of Black university students living in UK student accommodation and indicated that “over a quarter (28%) of Black students felt that they cannot access culturally relevant services close to where they live”. This was just one of the report’s findings which inspired us to launch the booklet and help our students feel more at home.

What can I do?

Join us in the Living Black at Kent focus group and let’s make a difference together! Share your unique experiences as a Black student at Kent, or perhaps some hidden gems of services you’ve discovered that others might not know about yet. Your insights could be the guiding light for the next set of students.

When and where are the Living Black at Kent focus groups being held?

Don’t miss the chance to join our focus group on 20 or 27 March 2024, in the Darwin Conference Suite, from 13:00 to 14:30. We’re looking for 20 participants per session. By participating, you’ll play a critical role in enhancing our community and making a lasting impression. Your contribution can make a real difference, and don’t forget that £20 KentOne credit!

Use the form to register your interest in our upcoming sessions. Once done, we’ll provide you with even more exciting details!

You can also check out the 2023 Living Black at Kent booklet online and if you would like to read the full Unite Students report, you can find this at Unite Students. Please get in touch if you have any further questions about these sessions, by emailing the ResLife Team.

Living Black at Kent

The first research report into Black students’ experience in UK purpose-built student accommodation, Living Black at University was published in February 2022 by Unite Students. At the University of Kent, we wanted to respond to and act upon the findings and recommendations of the report published which had found evidence of racism, cultural insensitivity, and exclusion – all of which had a significant impact on Black students’ mental health.

A Living Black at Kent Working Group was set up in April 2023, comprising stakeholders from across the University and student union, to respond to the findings, and ten recommendations in the report listed below, thereby improving, and enhancing the lived experience for our Black students.

  1. Universities and accommodation providers should collaborate to eliminate racism from all areas of the student experience, including student accommodation.
  2. Improve acclimatisation and integration activities for all new students and extend the period over which these activities take place.
  3. Introduce meaningful race training for peers and staff.
  4. Accommodation providers should confirm a commitment to tackling racism, both in their internal policies and in their student behavioural agreement or charter
  5. Improve the representation of Black people as employees to reflect the diversity of students.
  6. Universities and accommodation providers should work together to create intentionally diverse and inclusive student accommodation.
  7. Universities and accommodation providers should collaborate to ensure mental health and wellbeing support is available, accessible, and appropriate for Black students.
  8. Ensure there are clear and accessible policies and procedures (including anonymous reporting) that deal explicitly with racism in accommodation.
  9. Accommodation providers should routinely collect, analyse, and publish relevant data on the racial diversity of their residents and employees, as well as outcomes of reporting and investigation of complaints.
  10. Accommodation providers should work to build a relationship of trust with Black students.

So far, we have looked at our acclimatisation and integration activities to ensure that we offer a diverse range of options during our welcome period, and we are making this a real focus for our ResLife programme to ensure that this continues throughout the academic year.

We have considered Kents student demographics to ensure we are providing culturally relevant services. Our catering options were reviewed as part of this, and students and suppliers were invited to a food tasting event, where we could gather feedback about our food offerings on campus. As a result, in September 2023 we launched a West Indian microbrand called Three Little Birds and are also offering a selection of African and West Indian drinks and snacks in our catering outlets.

Current residential students were invited to share what advice they would give to new students moving to Kent for the first time in terms of other culturally relevant services in the area. From this we have created a welcome booklet called ‘Living Black at Kent’ featuring peer-to-peer advice from current students, signposting to where students can find global food suppliers, Afro-Caribbean hair salons, and suggestions for student societies and faith groups.

As the Living Black at University (LBU) report is a national project, to ensure that the work we do here at Kent is relevant for our student body we included the original research questions in our 2022/23 end-of- year residential student survey to which we had a fantastic response rate, demonstrating the engagement of Kent students in this discussion.

The findings were compared with the original LBU Report findings, as well as comparing with qualitative data collected by both our EDI team and Students Union which focused on Black students’ experiences at Kent.  With this feedback data we are confident that we are improving areas at Kent that will have significant impact.

The residential survey, with the addition of the LBU elements, will run annually at Kent enabling us to respond to the current student body and measure our initiatives impact.

Most importantly is here at Kent we are open to the findings and embrace change to make positive improvements for our Black students; we look forward to sharing the results and initiatives as they evolve with you and welcome any feedback you have on the Living Black at Kent project.

Three students sitting and talking on campus

Introducing our next University Strategy

From Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education and Student Experience

Future plans for Kent

I wanted to update you all on work underway to develop our next University strategy, which is focused on ensuring we do more to put students at the heart of everything we do. This is being delivered through our Kent 2030 plan, which brings together a range of improvements based on suggestions from students.

Lots of this is due to come into effect from Autumn 2025 onwards, including planned changes to the structure of our academic year. We are also looking at the make-up of the courses we plan on recruiting to in the future, recognising that students have different needs and different expectations than they did in the past.

As part of this, we have started talking to staff in some areas about phasing out future recruitment to a number of courses. If agreed, this would only affect recruitment for future cohorts of students in these areas – for those studying them now, your teaching and graduation would carry on as normal.

These proposals are to do with our broader portfolio rather than any specific campus – we remain fully committed to our presence at Medway and as part of this will be looking at how we can refresh what we do to ensure we have a vibrant offer at Medway that matches what students and employers are looking for.

Why are we doing this?

We are always looking at ways we can do things differently as student demographics change, ensuring we match the ambition of students in what they can study at Kent and the ways we support them in doing that. Alongside this, like other universities across the country, we are responding to a challenging financial environment – we want to get ahead of this by building something different and better for future generations of Kent students.

What does it mean for you?

The Kent 2030 programme will be making improvements to lots of aspects of the student experience. As the programme develops, we will be in touch directly should any proposed changes affect you. Our priority throughout will be to ensure we maintain the quality and consistency of your course through to when you graduate, and your Division will be in touch via email shortly if there are proposed changes in your area as part of the current curriculum review.

None of the proposed plans being discussed would impact students’ ability to graduate or complete their courses, and as with any organisational changes, we will do everything we can to minimise the impact on your studies.

Find out more about Kent 2030

Change can be challenging for some colleagues but we are sure that these proposed changes are the right thing to do to ensure a positive future at Kent. We are working with Kent Union and staff unions to do everything we can to support affected staff as a result of the upcoming curriculum review. If you have questions or concerns about any of this, please contact Kent Union at or the Kent 2030 team at

Want to hear more about how changes might affect your student journey and ask your questions? Join our next Student Open Forum from 15:30 – 16:30 on Wednesday 21 February online via Teams.

Sign up to attend Student Open Forum Wed 21 February

Read about Kent 2030 plans online

Exams: Religious Observation request deadline Fri 2 Feb

Some religious days or festivals will fall during the May/June exam period and we understand that students may wish to observe these. We will therefore make every effort to avoid timetabling exams or assessments on such dates where a religious observation request has been made ahead of the deadline.

The deadline for submitting a religious observation request for the 2024 exam period is Friday 2 February 2024. Find the request form and further information on Religious Observations here.