Author Archives: Miriam Sandiford

Surprise yourself with Lara Lalemi

‘Surprise yourself’ – Lara Lalemi’s journey being BAME in STEM, 23 Nov

The Division of Natural Sciences in collaboration with Student Success, is delighted to welcome inspirational speaker Lara Lalemi for her talk ‘Surprise Yourself’. Hear about her journey being BAME in STEM, and gain practical tips about embarking on a scientific career and creating your own space in the STEM community.  

This FREE to attend event is open to all students and staff, and will be taking place on Microsoft Teams, on Wednesday 23 November from 14:00 – 15:00.  

Ever since Lara was young, she had a dream that she could change the world around her but over time this aspirational voice dulled. Lara became more and more convinced that what she wanted wasn’t possible because she told herself she didn’t have the skills to succeed and no one like her was doing it. In this talk, Lara will explore how often the person stopping us from achieving our goals is us because we are afraid to take the first step and fail, or rule ourselves out completely. Everything Lara is doing now, she never thought she was capable of doing and in this talk Lara will explore her growth journey to where she is today, lessons she has learnt and future goals to change the STEM field for the better. 

Lara Lalemi is a London-born researcher with a passion for bringing new, innovative and progressive practices to more than just one of her environments. Drawn to the world of environmental research and climate change, upon receiving her undergraduate degree Lara took to completing a Doctorate in Aerosol Chemistry at the University of Bristol, where she is currently writing her PhD on the properties which affect the growth of clouds. As the CEO of Creative Tuition Collective  meanwhile, Lara is striving to increase accessibility and opportunities in STEM for young people from all walks of life.

Creative Tuition Collective offers young people from marginalised groups free and inclusive STEM tuition, skills workshops and professional mental health support groups, and as the CEO Lara leads change-making conversations and assists with organising undergraduate courses. Lara does not just want to increase the number of marginalised students entering the STEM field however, but to create a better environment for them when they get there. In her consultancy work, Lara therefore explores how the scientific community can begin to address the inequalities within it through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and decolonisation training courses. By creating spaces that integrate supportive mentoring, curriculum diversity, and interdisciplinary work, she hopes to foster sustainable social mobility for young people through the use of science and technology.   

Book your free place online.

Millie Knight

Kent Stars: Paralympic Powerhouse Millie

Our Kent Stars campaign celebrates our students doing amazing things – and Millie Knight already has some incredible achievements under her belt. Being visually impaired from a young age, she has not let this stop her and is not only a Paralympic Medallist in Skiing, but also a Commonwealth Karate Champion! Hear from Millie:

“My name is Millie Knight, and I am a 23-year-old 4x Paralympic medallist and 2x World Champion in Alpine Skiing. I am also a National and Commonwealth Champion in Karate. I also happen to be blind, but that bit is dull. I studied Psychology at Kent (graduating this week) and received an Honorary Doctorate in 2017.”

Tell us about winning a Bronze Medal at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. 

“The 2021/22 season was extremely busy with Nationals, European Cups, World Cups, World Championships and Paralympics within three months. Winning the World Championships was an unexpected result and a significant confidence boost going into The Paralympics.

Beijing was my third Paralympic Games and a different experience from my previous two Games (2014/2018). Due to Covid restrictions, there were challenges, like no spectators and a requirement to wear FFP3 face masks all day (even when skiing). Despite the limitations, I enjoyed my time in Beijing and made the most out of the situation. I had no expectations of winning any medals at these games, as I knew my performances weren’t where they were four years ago. The Bronze felt like Gold to us; it was an incredible feeling.”

What advice would you give to other students? 

“Make the most out of your time at Kent, there are so many things available to you, but you must make an effort to push yourself and experience as much as possible. Three years sounds like a long time, but it flies past, don’t wait to try something next year; do it now, and you won’t regret it. If you are struggling, there is help, and people do care! I couldn’t believe the amount of available support at Kent compared to my previous university experiences.”

What are your plans for the next year?

“I plan to keep progressing with my performance in both my academic and athletic careers. Fingers crossed, I get selected for the European and World championships for karate. I will not be competing in skiing this year which will give me the time to fully recover from multiple injuries sustained over the last few seasons. Starting my old job at Kent Sport again will be exciting, so if you are in need of a sports massage, head on over to see me at the sports centre!”

Learn more about the Kent Stars campaign.


Toilet twinning

‘Twin your Toilet’ on campus for World Toilet Day!

To celebrate World Toilet Day, the Sustainability Team and Estates Department are coming together to raise awareness of the global issues around access to clean water and sanitation and to save money and reduce wastage of this precious resource.

Spotting leaks and faults

We have over 3000 toilets and urinals across our Canterbury and Medway campuses and each one can use upwards of 100l of water per day. With that many toilets, It is impossible for our maintenance teams to check them all so we rely on staff and students reporting faults such as continuously flushing. Often, especially in office areas, people tend to assume that someone else has reported it so faults are often left unreported for weeks or even months. If left unfixed, each of these can waste 100s of cubic meters of water a year costing upwards of £2000!

Report a fault and ‘Twin your Toilet’

To encourage more people to report faults, the Estates department has pledged to sponsor a toilet through the ‘Twin your Toilet’ scheme for the first 10 toilets to be reported. If you report a faulty toilet you can even nominate your favourite toilet to be twinned! Find out more about water saving, including how to spot a faulty flush.

To report a fault in a university building please contact Estates customer services on (01227 8) 16666. To report a fault in on-site student accommodation please use the Home at halls app.

Did you know: The University has Changing Places Hygiene Room located at the Templeman Library. Changing Places facilities are located around the country and are designed for people who need additional space, equipment, time and for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets and changing facilities

What is the Twin your Toilet scheme?

The Twin your Toilet scheme helps fund projects across the world supporting communities to build safe and clean toilets as well as providing access to clean water. 3.6 billion people globally are still living with inadequate access to clean water and sanitation which leads to poor health outcomes, groundwater pollution and decreased opportunities, particularly for women and girls who can be forced to drop out of education due to no access to safe toilets.

The University of Kent is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goal Education Accord and this work forms part of our response to Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

This World Toilet Day, let’s make the invisible visible.

Bubble football

Events at Medway: Give it a Go and Medway Move

There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people and try new experiences and sports at Medway campus.

Give It A Go events

Give It A Go events are fun, varied events that are either free or at a student-friendly price. They are open to all Medway students.

Give It A Go events this month include Go Karting, Cocktail Making, Bubble Football and Pamper Sessions! Check out Give It A Go events.

Medway Move events

Medway Move is a bespoke social sports programme that provides a range of activities that you can just turn up and play for free! No prior experience is needed, and the programme is available to staff and students. Discover Medway Move events.

Some Medway Move events coming up in November are a Kickboxing taster session, Social Badminton, Zumba and Strong Nation. Why not try something new?

Other events to get involved with

Plus you can check out all the events run by The Hub, as well as the student events calendar for events at Canterbury, Medway and online.

Seating and kitchen area of Oasis Loungee

Medway campus: social spaces and where to eat

You told us you wanted more places to relax, chat and eat your own lunch on campus. In response to your feedback, we have now created some exciting new social spaces #YourUniYourSay

Oasis Lounge, Rochester Building

The Oasis Lounge is our new social space on the Ground Floor of the Rochester Building. This space includes vending machines, a kitchen with a microwave, sofas and a pool table. It’s a great place to chill out and socialise with friends between your classes. See the new space below: 

Pool table in the Oasis Lounge

The Hook Lounge, Clocktower Building

The Hook Lounge in the ClockTower Building in at the Dockyard is another social space. It includes a relaxed seating area, vending machines and a kitchen. Take a seat and relax: 

Kitchen area of Hook LoungeSeating area of Hook Lounge

Postgraduate research study area, Drill Hall Library

Did you know there’s a new study room in the Drill Hall Library specifically for PGR students? It includes sofas, desks and a couple of computers for you to use.

PGR study room with sofasComputers in PGR room

Green space on campus

We have finished revamping the green space next to Medway Building to include more benches and a covered seating area. This green space is ready for you to enjoy in all seasons.

Where to eat on campus

If you are looking for somewhere to heat your food, check out this map that shows microwaves at Medway campus.

Have you tried out the Rich Aroma 21 food truck? They offer hot drinks, fresh cakes, sausage rolls and more. Find them outside the Medway Building on Tuesdays and Thursdays 08.30-14.00.

Students and staff outside new Rich Aroma 21 food truck

You can also buy food from these outlets at Medway campus:

  • The Deep End at the Hub
  • Pilkington Cafe, Pilkington Building
  • Archibald Hay Mess Cafe, Drill Hall Library
  • Pembroke Cafe (Starbucks), Pembroke Building


Student shopping for food

Cost of living student survey

As part of our ongoing priority to support students during the cost of living crisis, Kent Union and the University of Kent, in partnership with The Food Foundation, have joined forces to present you with the Cost of Living survey.

This survey aims to understand how the cost of living crisis has impacted you and figure out how we can best support you during your time at Kent. The information gathered will help us to identify the most vulnerable groups of students and the aspects of university life you are most struggling with so we can provide you with tailored support. The results will inform the actions we need to put in place towards achieving the University of Kent’s civic mission to promote food justice, tackle food insecurity and become the world’s first Right to Food University.

Taking part in this survey gives you the opportunity to enter our randomised prize draw which will take place once the survey closes. The prizes up for grabs include:

  • 6 x £30 Co-op gift cards
  • 1 x Meal for two at Woodys
  • 15 x £20 Kent One card credits
  • 1 x Kent hoodie from Kent Clothing
  • 1 x Free entry package for the prize winner and friends for a Venue event
  • 25 x voucher for free tea & coffee in the Library Café.

During these difficult times, it is important that your voice is heard, so we encourage you to fill out the Cost of Living survey and share it with your friends too.

Fill out the survey now.

For further information on how Kent Union and the University of Kent are supporting you during the cost of living crisis, check out the Cost of Living Support webpage.

Events roundup: 14-20 November

This week marks the start of Disability History Month (16 November – 16 December). Look out for talks and interactive events this month that celebrate progress in disability support.

It’s also Transgender awareness Week. Find out more about support for trans and non-gender conforming students.

Monday: Virtual Strike Forum

Kent Union is holding a Virtual Strike Forum to gather student opinion about the upcoming University and College Union (UCU) strike action and to decide whether Kent Union should support the action or not. Hear both sides of the dispute with members of UCU and the University’s Senior Leadership offering their perspectives.

Tuesday: Journaling workshop and Games Afternoon

Wondering if journaling could be for you? Try out this online Study Plus Journaling for Time Management and Wellbeing workshop. You’ll explore a variety of techniques that you can take away and use immediately, designed to support self-care, creativity and life management skills.

At Medway you can head to the Deep End for a Games Afternoon on Tuesday. Meet new friends and discover new boardgames.

Wednesday: Tech and Tea (Canterbury), Interfaith Symposium Buffet and Strike Forum

Try out some assistive technology over a cup of tea and a biscuit in Keynes. Meet the Accessible Information Team and try out some assistive technology that could help you while studying at uni.

As part of Interfaith Week, join us for the Interfaith Symposium Buffet. Listen to a series of mini talks by representatives of various faith traditions on this year’s theme ‘Faith and Food’. There will be a vegan buffet provided to allow people to continue conversations about how different faiths celebrate food through feasting and fasting. Open to all students, whether religious or non-religious.

If you missed the previous Strike Forums, you can join in person on Wednesday afternoon and hear both sides of the dispute with members of UCU and the University’s Senior Leadership offering their perspectives.

Thursday: British Heart Foundation pop-up shop and Tea and Tech (Medway)

On Thursday we will have a British Heart Foundation pop-up shop in the Colyer Fergusson Foyer, on the right hand side of the Gulbenkian. Come along and grab a bargain, perhaps a new party dress for Christmas, or a new winter coat!

Try out some assistive technology over a cup of tea and a biscuit in Medway Building.  Meet the Accessible Information Team and try out some assistive technology that could help you while studying at uni.

Friday: Inspiration Paralympian Talk and Global Hangout

Millie Knight is a four times Paralympic medallist, three times Paralympian and two times world champion. To add to this impressive list of achievements, Millie is also National and Commonwealth Karate Champion! Visually impaired from a young age, Millie will be providing an inspirational talk at Kent on her journey to success. Taking place in Darwin (and streamed online). Book your place now.

Enjoy a wide range of activities and food, meet fellow like-minded students and learn about various international holidays at the Global Hangout on Friday. Open to all students, taking place in Colyer-Fergusson Foyer.

See more student events


See more student opportunities

transgender flag

Transgender Awareness Week, 13-19 Nov

Did you know that one in every hundred students in our Kent community has said that they identify as transgender or gender non-conforming? However we suspect this number might be much higher.

13-19 November is Transgender Awareness Week, which aims to:

  • raise awareness of the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people
  • share stories of transgender people in our society
  • advance advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.

Recent figures show that the number of UK students who define themselves as neither male nor female has more than doubled in the last two years. LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall explains that people are becoming increasingly confident to be themselves, thanks to more social acceptance and visibility of different sexual and gender identities.

The big impact of small actions

At Kent we hope to further our inclusive community, eradicate prejudice, and support one another.

On this subject, Lynne Regan, a senior member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team on the Medway campus, who also recently completed her Doctorate on the experiences of trans students at uni, explains how small actions of recognition and awareness of trans students can have a big impact:

‘Rainbow lanyards are available for staff and students from most college and library receptions at Canterbury and Medway. Designed around the “Inclusion Flag” which incorporates the Pride rainbow flag with pink, blue, brown and black representing the trans community and people of colour within the LGBT+ community. Wearing the lanyards shows students that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction. One of the interview participants in my study stated “I love that many of the lecturers wear these lanyards with the rainbow pattern on them, which signals to the students that they are LGBTQ+ allies and can be approached… I like that I have someone I can actually turn to very visibly… It makes me feel very welcome.”

‘Another thing you can do is to use inclusive language and respect pronouns. If someone has told you the pronouns that they use, then respect this. Use the pronouns they have asked you to use. Do not assume pronouns based on the way someone looks or sounds.’

Support for students at Kent

  • There is a support group in Canterbury that meets twice a month. It is open to trans, intersex and non-binary people at Kent. The group is run by trans/non-binary people for trans/non-binary people. Family and partners are welcome.
  • There are gender-neutral toilet facilities across our Canterbury and Medway campuses.
  • Student Support and Wellbeing offer free mental health support, counselling and peer support groups to all students and have an advisor with specialist LGBTQ+ support knowledge.
  • Check out our directory of LGBTQ+ self-help resources including details of free, confidential, specialist helplines and support group networks, such as Metro, The Be You Project, and Gendered Intelligence.
  • You can also update your gender and preferred name (which shows on your Microsoft Teams account) on KentVision.
  • Have you heard of the Gender Affirmation Fund? In early October 2022, Kent released a new Gender Affirmation Fund to support students who identify as transgender, non binary or gender non-conforming with the purchase of gender affirming items. You can access the Gender Affirmation Fund from the 11 November 2022 via the link above; you must be a University of Kent student on a registered course and use the funds to support your purchase of gender affirming gear. Applications are capped at £100 per person.

Experienced hate or discrimination because of your gender identity?

You can report incidents of assault, harassment, and hate via the REPORT + SUPPORT tool, with or without giving your name. Even if you don’t choose to request support, by reporting an incident you will help to make the University a safer place for all.

Help us create a university community which belongs to all students, and where all students feel they belong by sharing this information on transgender awareness. #InclusiveKent

Follow @UniKentSSW on social media for more information on support at Kent. If you’d like to comment on or contribute to a podcast or article for Student Services, email us at

Written by Joshua Stevens and Natalia Crisanti, Student Services, 02.11.22

Canterbury sky line with Cathedral in distance

Canterbury Safer Streets logo competition

Make your logo design the symbol of Canterbury’s Safer Streets initiatives from the recent government grant.

About Safer Streets 

The Canterbury Safety Partnership has been successful in securing government Safer Streets 4 funding to dedicate towards safety and perception of safety in Canterbury. This grant supports the development of training, safety resources, a central website and safety packs for patrons of Night Time Economy (pubs, clubs and bars) in the city, alongside other exciting projects.

Under this umbrella the project will look at information regarding consent and harassment, drinks spiking, alcohol awareness, getting home safe, respect and inclusion, and reporting methods for students and members of the public. There will also be new initiatives and resources tackling Violence Against Women and Girls.

Canterbury has a huge student community, and the we want students to define the vision of this project. We require a logo to brand and connect project materials produced under the Safer Streets grant, which clearly promotes safety in Canterbury. This logo needs to be bold and eye-catching and represent the values and goals of this project.

Brief and deadline for submissions

Read our project brief for more information on how to get involved and make your submission! There will be a prize for the winning logo entry and honourable mentions.

The deadline for the competition is Monday 21 November 2022 23:59.


Two student smiling outside Drill Hall Library

Support and services at Medway campus

Are you making the most of all the support and services on offer at our Medway campus? Here’s a quick guide of the support on offer and where to go to access it.

Medway Student Administration Team

The Medway Student Admin Team is responsible for student registration, online registration, record updating and much more. You can find them on the ground floor of Rochester Building.

Learn about all the ways the Student Admin Team can support you from council tax exemption to replacing your Kent ID card.

College and Community Life

As a Medway student you’re part of Medway College. Look out for events run by your Medway Residential Life Assistants. They can also offer you support. Learn more about College and Community Life and follow them on Instagram.


The Student Finance Team are committed to helping you understand the cost of study, how to manage your money and how to take full advantage of any financial support you are eligible for.

The team are based on the ground floor of the Medway Building and are available via email and telephone Monday to Friday 9.00-17.00.

Careers and Employability Service (CES)

There’s a wealth of information around careers on the CES webpages. You can also join career events and book an appointment with a Careers Advisor.

Find the Medway Careers Team on the ground floor of the Gillingham Building.

Student Support and Wellbeing

Student Support and Wellbeing supports students who have a disability, mental health condition, long term medical condition, autistic spectrum condition and/or specific learning difficulty, whether already diagnosed or suspected.

Our Advisers can help with Inclusive Learning Plans, study support, Disabled Students’ Allowance and counselling. They can also provide specialist support to students who have experienced sexual assault/harassment.

Medway Student Support and Wellbeing are based on the ground floor of Gillingham Building, room G0-05. You can pop in any time Monday-Friday 9.00-17.00, telephone 01634 888474, email, or complete our registration form.

Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS)

SLAS are here to advise you academically whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate student. They hold bitesize (15 minute) online events on topics to help you with your studies. You can also book a 1:1 advice appointment.

Medway Chaplain

Lynne Martin, our Medway Campus Chaplain, is here to support you through your academic journey, providing a listening ear for all students of any faith or no faith.

Find Lynne in the Chaplain’s Office in Pilkington (003/004) or you can email You can also follow the Medway Campus Chaplaincy Facebook page to find out about upcoming events.

Kent Union at The Hub

With so much to think about with your studies, you may find you need help with housing questions, your finances, or academic concerns. This might feel a little overwhelming so it is important to remember that you can access The Hub’s free Advice Service for confidential and impartial advice helping you make an informed decision to keep you on track.

Drill Hall Library

Drill Hall Library offers a variety of study spaces from individual silent study booths to relaxing sofas in the group zone. You can contact the Library Team by emailing or calling 01634 883878. Get the latest news from your library on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Campus Security

Campus Security are on campus 24/7, 365 days a year. You can find Campus Security on the ground floor of the Medway Building next to reception. Come say hi and pick up a free personal safety alarm.