Summer round up

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 11:47:00 BST

We hope all of you have had an enjoyable summer period. Whilst the University is usually quieter in July and August, with many staff and students taking vacation, much has happened around social responsibility. First, we are delighted to announce that Professor James Thompson, who has been our Associate Vice-President for Social Responsibility for the past three years, has gained promotion to a new position as Vice-President for Social Responsibility. James will now sit on the University’s senior leadership team, have oversight of the University’s cultural institutions, and have senior accountability for the social responsibility agenda, including public engagement, responsible processes and equality, diversity and inclusion and environmental sustainability.

In July our University’s Jodrell Bank in Cheshire welcomed thousands of festival goers to Bluedot, our annual celebration of science, discovery, live music, and cosmic culture. The award-winning event is the UK’s only music festival run by a University. If you missed out, you can see what happened in this short video and even reserve tickets now for July 2018. In June we ran our first Community Festival and were pleased to discover that more than 60% of the 2,000 attendees were Manchester residents, with nearly a half coming from the ten most local wards close to our teaching and residential campuses. Our School of Education, Environment and Development funded local residents to improve some unloved green space as part of our wider University-Ardwick Partnership. And we were pleased to report that two local people who have experienced homelessness have secured employment at the University. Supporting our pledge to the city's Homelessness Charter, the story and a short film was picked up by the national press.

Some significant awards and achievements were announced over the summer. Our Library’s ‘My Learning Essentials’ resources were recognised with a global award for Community Engagement for innovative work in support of widening participation activities such as our Manchester Access Programme (MAP), Manchester Distance Access Scheme and Extended Project Qualification. Following independent verification we are the UK’s first University to attain the highest Level 5 in the Flexible Framework for responsible procurement. Our Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health won a national Health Education England Widening Participation Award for Research and Evaluation for research into the performance and experience of widening participation students compared to others. Our Stellify campaign to enable students to ‘do more and be more’ during their time at university took the Silver in the Best Innovation In Education Marketing category. Our Food In Residence team have won The University Catering Organisation's (TUCO) prestigious award for being the most sustainable University caterers of the year. And our Food In Residence team also achieved a rating of 3 out of 3 stars across all catered halls of residence from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Since Andy Burnham's election as the first mayor of Greater Manchester, our Manchester Urban Institute's Devo Manc Hub has been experiencing heightened activity. As well as a website and newsletter four times per year, a new podcast series has been launched highlighting Devolution-related research from across the University of Manchester. Another of our Institutes, the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA), held an event to launch an influential new report, 'The Golden Generation?', which examined wellbeing and inequalities in later life.

We’re committed to identifying students from the widest range of social backgrounds and give students the chance to broaden horizons, understand the issues that matter and step up to make a difference to the local and global community. As part of this, all 8,000 new students are soon to take part in our Sustainability Challenge which will be their first step towards achieving the prestigious Manchester Leadership Award. New students joining any of our Alliance Manchester Business School undergraduate degree programmes are eligible to apply for a social responsibility scholarship, which awards academic attainment alongside involvement in, for example, charity work, community-based projects, volunteering opportunities and/or fundraising activities. And we have also been pleased to launch a new Insight event in partnership with KPMG for local first-generation students who have progressed to the University through our Manchester Access Programme, which is demystifying what its like to work in the corporate world.

Across environmental sustainability we were excited to unveil our first campus living wall, (also known as a ‘vertical garden’). As part of our Brunswick Park development - which when finished will be the largest green space on campus with tree and wildflower planting, seating areas, pedestrian and cycle paths - the 50m2 wall has plants specifically chosen to attract pollinators. Our undergraduate student residents leaving halls donated 6,125 bags of unwanted items and 2,300 meals for charity as part of our annual 'Give It Don't Bin It’ end of year campaign, which also diverts significant tonnes of waste from landfill. We also recently announced the commissioning of City of Trees to bring their expertise on urban tree planting to our Campus Tree Planting Plan, which aims to replace and plant trees as part of our Campus Masterplan development.

We have a wide range of events, tours, conferences and exhibitions for the public taking place across campus in the next few months. Examples include a SEEChangemakers: HE Social Enterprise & Innovation Conference that will be examining the role of Universities as anchor institutions for social innovation in their communities, a new exhibition Memories of Partition at our Manchester Museum and an upcoming public lecture by the journalist and author Gary Younge. You can explore these and other events on our dedicated pages.

Dr Julian Skyrme

Director of Social Responsibility