University Of Bristol Varsity

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University Of Bristol Varsity

Each year over 1,500 students from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE) go head to head over a series of sporting events organised by the Students’ Unions of both Universities.

These students compete in their chosen sport against their closest rivals whilst raising money for local charities. In the last five years the event has raised in excess of £50,000 for local charities & each Students’ Union.

Varsity promotes what both universities can offer to the city of Bristol, in the name of fun, rivalry and friendship.

This year’s Varsity Series will be the first run in association with Bristol-headquartered Unite Students, the UK’s largest student accommodation provider, who are the main sponsor of the event.

The Series is also taking place in the year where Bristol has been recognised as the European City of Sport.

Varsity Boat Race

Since its inaugural race in 1995 the rowing event has taken on a prestige of its own, with UWE and Bristol two of the biggest rowing Universities in the country.

In the early years the event would not have been possible without the passion, drive and expertise of a select few, but one individual in particular. That individual, Chris Della-Porta, was both a UWE alumnus and a member of University of Bristol sports department staff. Chris coordinated the boat race for nearly a decade from the event’s inception.

The event is held in the historical Bristol Docks, starting near the Pump House in Hotwells and finishing at Canon’s Wharf Amphitheatre in the centre of Bristol, and the event is recognised as the flagship of the series of sporting challenges over the academic year.

Over the years the event has changed format. Between 1997-2002 and again in 2006 the University of Bath, Exeter and UCL, Cardiff, Swansea, Southampton, Warwick and Birmingham joined in. 2012 saw the events biggest development to date by moving the hosting of the event to the southside of the harbourside providing clearer views of the course for the spectators.