Social Responsibility

October's monthly summary from the Director of Social Responsibility

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:38:00 GMT

Each October we mark the University’s foundation with a prestigious Foundation Lecture and Honorary Degree Ceremony. This year it was delivered by former Manchester student and Afghani refugee Gulwali Passarlay – the first time the lecture has been given by a recent graduate. Aged 12, Gulwali took the perilous journey from Afghanistan to Britain to seek asylum and spoke about the transformative impact of the University’s Manchester Access Programme. Gulwali’s talk From a war zone to the lecture theatre is available on our YouTube channel.

Throughout October a wide range of events were organised by the University to mark 30 years of Black History Month. These included performances, exhibitions and public events at our Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre in Manchester Central Library and specific events in our Faculty of Science and Engineering and Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health celebrating staff and student achievements.

October also featured a number of festivals and events providing opportunities to inspire, engage and involve the public with our work. As part of Manchester Science Festival 1,500 visitors attended our seventh Science Spectacular event, where more than 180 researchers engaged people from local communities in over 40 interactive science activities. Our Centre for New Writing was the official Higher Education Partner for Manchester Literature Festival, allowing us to co-programme a wide range of events for the public featuring a range of literary stars. As part of his research into food poverty, Dr Kingsley Purdam led a session at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, bringing together older people to demonstrate their favourite recipes. We hosted our first-ever #UoMmigration Month – a series of events, activities and features exploring migration's relationship with inequalities, social justice, belonging and Brexit. Our Alliance Manchester Business School delivered its annual Prometheus professional development programme for more than 70 third-sector leaders. And almost 1,500 students attended the annual University of Manchester Volunteering and Social Justice Fair, giving them the chance to talk to over 100 diverse not-for-profit organisations and acces our new Social Justice Challenge.

On sustainability we’re delighted to be involved in a multi-million pound project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore areas in the North West transformed by heavy industries like coal mining, peat extraction and iron and steel production. We have launched a new interactive tree trail on campus with a photo competition. We are hosting our annual flagship sustainability event alongside awards recognising social and environmental responsibility in our supply chain. And staff can submit bids to our 10,000 Actions fund to support innovative sustainability projects across campus.

On widening access we’ve grouped all our post-16 students access schemes, like the Manchester Access Programme, into a single website called Access Manchester. And did you know we worked with more than 45,000 learners across 720 schools and colleges last year? This and many more statistics can be found in our latest Annual Report and video on Widening Participation.

We hope you can get involved with some of our upcoming social responsibility activities: our Chancellor Lemn Sissay’s Christmas dinners for care leavers needs your help; World Antibiotics Awareness Week from Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 November gives you the chance to engage in what is now regarded as one of the world’s greatest health challenges; our #GivingTuesday – Making a Difference Fair on Tuesday 28 October will showcase many social responsibility activities you can get involved in and you can experience a new behind the scenes tours about Ernest Rutherford to mark 100 years since he won the Nobel Prize for becoming the first person to create an artificial nuclear reaction.

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