February’s round-up from the Director of Social Responsibility

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 11:36:00 GMT

Three ‘firsts’ have been achieved throughout February. Jodrell Bank Observatory, home to the Grade 1 Listed Lovell Telescope and part of The University of Manchester, has been chosen as the UK's nomination for World Heritage site status in 2019. The nomination will now be formally assessed by the International Council of Sites and Monuments before the World Heritage Committee decides whether it will join the likes of The Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China as a designated World Heritage Site. Manchester Museum has appointed Esme Ward as its next Director - the first woman to hold the role in our Museum's 125-year history. And Chancellor Lemn Sissay MBE has written and performed his first specially-commissioned poem for the University on social responsibility called ‘Making a Difference’. We hope you are inspired by this as much as we are.

A wide range of other work has been happening on campus, in communities and worldwide.

On campus we were delighted to learn of our rise from 41st to 16th in the UK’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index – an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff. This is the highest position of any English University and places us first among employers from any sector in Greater Manchester. We were also pleased to host our annual Better World Showcase, recognising the varied achievements of staff and students in our Faculty of Science and Engineering on social responsibility.

Across our communities we have been raising awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which affects more than 200 million women across the world. Judith Ormrod in our School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work has made an animation video to enable nursing professionals to discuss this sensitive issue more effectively with patients.For many people in deprived areas, accessing dental treatment isn't easy. The work of Dr Raj Ariyaratnam in our Emergency Dental Clinic is featured this month where dental students, under close supervision, help treat around 2,000 patients a year who cannot afford to go to the dentist. Dr Sherilyn MacGregor from our Sustainable Consumption Institute has been working in collaboration with the Manchester Museum and a local environmental group called ‘Upping It’ to develop a forthcoming event ‘A Rubbish Night at the Museum’ showcasing research and local activism on waste and recycling. Around 2,000 of our students were nominated by their project, organisation or University department to receive a personal thank you for their work during national Student Volunteering Week. As part of our reduce, reuse and recycle programme with Manchester City Council and Manchester Student Homes we will be launching ‘Reduce Week’ in March to challenge students to reduce the amount of waste they produce over the course of a week. And we hosted the first ever Greater Manchester Young Carers Day – a day designed to support and celebrate the lives young carers in our local area.

Across the world, colleagues in our Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health have united with other senior health practitioners and the British Army to deliver training for very ill surgical patients in resource-limited settings in India. Our Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) has announced a new collaboration with the School of Nursing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University to support disaster management and humanitarian action in global health contexts through a new online Master's programme. Colleagues from the Institute also expressed solidarity with the six killed and 27 injured Save the Children staff in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, who were attacked by militants associated with the Islamic State.

There are many ways to get involved in upcoming social responsibility activities. More than ever there is a strong call-to-action to press forward and accelerate gender parity. You can join our Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health to #PressforProgress to mark International Women’s Day on Monday 5 March. Students, staff and alumni can run for free in this year's Great Manchester Run if you commit to fundraising to help young people from Greater Manchester to access a world-class education. And we are supporting two organisations to highlight volunteering opportunities: Coram Voice are recruiting Independent Visitors (IVs) to befriend looked after children and young people in Manchester and the surrounding areas; and Teach First are recruiting mentors for able Sixth Formers from less advantaged backgrounds to help them through the application process.

Finally, if you want to hear from some of our leading speakers, visit one of our cultural institutions, take part in a discussion on key challenges facing society, or be entertained through a performance, then check our extensive events pages.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility