Residence Life

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Residence Life Team

We're here to make you feel welcome

Residence Life wants to help make sure you have a positive experience of living and learning at Essex.

Residence Life consists of a team of 47 Residents’ Assistants (flexible part-time student staff), eight Senior Residents’ Assistants (flexible part-time student staff), four full-time Residence Life Coordinators and one Senior Residence Life Coordinator all working closely together to support you.

The RAs and SRAs live in different areas of accommodation, their role is to get to know their residents, encourage communication and build community through a range of social activities.

Residence Life host a range of social activities, starting during arrivals and welcome week(s) and continuing throughout the year. They provide a great opportunity to get to know your RA and meet new friends. Many of these activities are open to both off campus and on campus students, more information about these events can be found on:

RAs and SRAs are also trained to help support residents with their wellbeing, they are available to all students both on and off campus to provide a listening ear, and signpost you to appropriate support where necessary.

How Residence Life can help you

Every student living in campus accommodation is allocated to a specific Residents’ Assistant (RA), every off-campus student will also have the opportunity to meet with an RA for support. The RA is a full-time student and a part-time Residence Life staff member who resides in on-campus accommodation.

The RAs will be welcoming you to your new community and answer any questions you may have. They will organise a number of events to help you settle in, make new friends, experience new things, and feel part of your new community. The RAs will often contact you via your Essex email to let you know about the different activities and events they are planning and invite you to get involved.

If you’re living on campus your RA will email you to arrange a first flat meeting to help you create a flat agreement with your flatmates. They will also share lots of information to help you adjust to University life. The RAs have experience of living on-campus and receive training to make them a great person to go to for advice or support.

Your RA can help you with:

  • Welfare support
  • Communal issues
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Advice and signposting

As well as being able to help with various problems or concerns, the RAs also have information about other sources of help and support available on and off-campus. Your RA will usually be able to assist you however, on some occasions they may need to refer the matter to a Senior Residents’ Assistant, Residence Life Coordinator, or Security depending on the situation.

Winter Break - 23 December - 4 January

We would like to let you know about some of the activities planned over the winter break, the support available and some ideas to keep you busy.

Residence Life

All Residence Life activities are open to both on and off campus students from any location – no booking needed, just log on and join the event at the start time. If you have any questions or suggestions for future programmes, please contact

Find our schedule of festive events over the break below:

  • 21 December: Let’s Decorate (learn to make some decorations) – 5pm, Zoom ID 9725 010 6240
  • 22 December: Virtual Card Making – 2pm, Zoom ID 92635029441
  • 23 December: Bake My Day (learn to bake cookies) – 2pm, Zoom ID 9713 168 8233
  • 24 December: Xmas Movie Binge – 5pm, Zoom ID 9666 730 9376
  • 25 December: Virtual Christmas Day (quiz, games, challenges and prizes!) – 2pm, Zoom ID 9887 731 6534
  • 26 December: Christmas Online Games – 7pm, Zoom ID 9681 181 0416
  • 27 December: Quiz and Dine – 7pm Zoom ID 9728 572 8554

Browse more University and SU events on the Events page. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to Like our Page to stay up-to-date.

Colchester, Southend and Loughton

If you’re thinking about venturing off campus, there are a range of events in Colchester, Southend, and the wider Essex area, so hopefully you’ll find some events in the area to attend in your local community, no matter which campus you attend.

Travelling around

Plan ahead and find out how to get around by public transport by taking a look at the First Bus timetable or plan your rail journey on Trainline. You could explore the wider area by taking a day trip to popular cities such as London or Norwich if COVID tier restrictions allow.

Security and Safety

Remember, emergency assistance and support continues to be available from our friendly Campus Security team in Colchester and Southend throughout the winter break. They provide 24-hour, face to face and phone support for students.

Additional Support Available from 23 December - 4 January (during the University closure period)

  • Validium 24 Hour Student Support Line: 0800 970 5020 (outside UK: +44 141 271 7168) – staffed by counsellors - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • SilverCloud: a free online self-help resource for Essex students with modules exploring anxiety and depression, plus many others
  • Validium VClub: an online support option which all University of Essex students can access. You can login online by using the login: UniofEssex and password: Wellbeingsupport
  • Samaritans
  • Student Space

Keep in touch

The wellbeing team are keen to reach out and wish you a happy holiday, if you would like a phone call to check how you’re doing over the break please email title your email ‘Hello, I’d like a chat please’ and one of our team will give you a call.

Winter Break Drop-In

Catch up with other students on campus, plus get some advice on looking after yourself over the winter break. The wellbeing team are hosting a daily drop-in, open to all, at 2.30pm every day from 10 – 22 December. No need to book, just join us on Zoom.


We're committed to keeping you safe, supported and informed about coronavirus. Find out what you can do to help stop the spread, what to do if you develop symptoms and all the support and guidance you may need on our dedicated COVID-19 Student Directory webpages. Stay informed about the Colchester campus GP surgery opening times and contact information over the Christmas break.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Residence Life!

For those going home, we look forward to welcoming you back after the winter break, and for those staying on campus or in the surrounding area we hope you see you at some of the events we have planned.

One last thing… Residence Life will start to recruit our new team of RAs in January, to begin work in September 2021. Follow us on Facebook to stay updated, and find out how to apply.

Off-campus support

Residence Life provides support to off-campus students too. You might encounter issues whilst living in privately rented accommodation or just want some friendly advice.

Res Life Open Door is a drop-in service facilitated by Residents’ Assistants for students who live off campus and who are looking to get advice or guidance on university living experiences. Whether you want to have a chat, don’t know where to find the solution to your problem, or have a question to ask the Residence Life team, our Residents’ Assistants are here to help. The drop-in is accessible via Zoom, every Wednesday between 12pm–1pm during term time.

Students can also contact us with non-urgent general enquiries via email at which we will respond to during normal office hours (Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm).

Further support:

All general enquiries that do not require an urgent solution should be directed to the Student Services Hub.

For support with your health and wellbeing during office hours, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Team.

For support out-of-hours with an urgent issue, students should contact Security.

A Residents’ Assistant or Senior Residents’ Assistant will be working for a period each evening in both Colchester and Southend. Depending on the needs on any particular evening this may involve; hosting flat meetings, checking in on residents, hosting a drop-in to answer any questions, and provide support or dealing with any other Residence Life matters. Please see the poster in your flat kitchen for more information and contact details.

Group of students chatting
Current students

Find out how to contact your Residence Life staff member or give feedback on their service.

Find out more