Our monthly round-up

Wed, 29 May 2019 11:53:00 BST

Ramadan Mubarak for all those currently celebrating. Our University’s Manchester Museum recently held its first Iftar in its 126 year history. Hundreds of staff, students and members of the public, of different faiths and none, came together to show their unity, share food and exchange knowledge about the Muslim practice of fasting that is being practiced by nearly a quarter of the world’s population throughout May and June.

Each May we celebrate social responsibility innovation and impact through our Making a Difference Awards – and this year we were joined by our President and Vice-Chancellor, Chancellor, Chair of the Board, Lord Mayor of Manchester and Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Greater Manchester. From mental health to dental health and from criminology to climate change, you can read about and watch films of our many winners and highly commended entrants. We also celebrated our Volunteer of the Year award winners Dr Hamied Haroon (staff), Isla Atay (student), Once a Month (student group) and Natalie Cheung (alumni), who received our University Medal for Social Responsibility.

We have reached more than £1 million of donations to charity via staff payroll. Charities such as Oxfam, Shelter, Save the Children and Cancer Research UK are supported by our staff payroll giving scheme, where charities are provided with significant extra income through the tax benefits of payroll giving.

On campus we held our Oxford Road Annual Travel Event to celebrate and amplify the impact of our significant number of staff who commute to work actively and sustainably by walking, running, cycling and scooting each day. We welcomed more than 140 Year 5 and 6 girls into our Faculty of Science and Engineering’s first Girls into STEM event. And Historian, broadcaster and film-maker David Olusoga OBE delivered his inaugural lecture as our new Professor of Public History to a packed crowd on the topic "Identity, Britishness and the Windrush".

Across our communities Manchester Histories (an independent charity spun-out of The University of Manchester's Department of History) is organising more than 150 events as part of Peterloo 2019. The programme leads into the anniversary itself (16 August 2019) when 200 years ago 60,000 men, women and children gathered to peacefully demand parliamentary reform. When the troops were sent in to break up the crowd, 18 people were killed and around 700 were injured.Our Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre – an open-access library and archive on race, ethnicity and migration situated in Manchester Central Library – is contributing to events as part of Peterloo 2019 and has also been undertaking work to document Armenian heritage in the North West and black history in Stockport.

Around the world, our Alumni office is working with the University's alumni community to support a global day of action in June linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our Middle East Centre has been undertaking a range of social responsibility projects during the Holy Month of Ramadan. And our Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health and Manchester Museum have teamed up with Panama Wildlife Conservation and the Government of Panama to support the conservation of the iconic Harlequin Frog.

If you’re looking for more things to do in June and July you could do no worse than going along to two of our key annual events. First our free Community Festival takes place on Saturday 15 June at The University of Manchester and is packed with fun family-friendly interactive activities. And secondly our multi-award winning festival of science, music and culture, Bluedot, is set to return to our iconic Jodrell Bank site for its fourth annual outing on 18-21 July.

Dr Julian Skyrme

Director of Social Responsibility