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A condensed look at our local engagement

Welcome to our Winter edition Community Newsletter. We are already mid-way through the academic calendar and there has been a been a great deal of activity across the University to welcome visitors to campus and make a positive contribution to local communities. 

In this issue we are delighted to announce that the Sustainability Services has been recognised by the EAUC Green Gown Awards for our work to help students explore different aspects of sustainability as they relate to their studies and also for our work responding to community and our wider stakeholders needs through projects that engage and encourage our students to live more sustainability in local communities.

Also included in this edition: the Facilities Directorate is planning a How We Are Building a Better Campus public event for Spring for you to find out about our exciting new plans to create a welcoming, culturally and environmentally vibrant campus that provides an exceptional experience for staff, students and local communities. The University has published a new report, Investing in Knowledge, Creating Opportunity, to capture the scale of our economic, social and cultural impacts.  Details of a new partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse on a series of theatre projects to develop new talent. Coming cultural and educational events for you to participate in including the Be Curious Festival, Leeds Festival of Science and the new Treasure of the Brotherton Gallery has opened and provides visitors the opportunity to interact with its unique material through exhibitions and events. We have also included an update on our Community Mentoring Scheme and the skills currently on offer by University mentors wishing to work with local organisations Plus more!

I hope you enjoy reading our Winter edition, please share with others through your social media or email using the buttons below. 


Taking responsibility to have a positive impact on society


EAUC Green Gown Award Winners 

We are delighted to announce that the Sustainability Service in partnership with the Sustainability Research Institute and the Student Engagement Service has won a coveted Green Gown award in the ‘Learning&Skills’ category! The award was in recognition of work supporting the development of the ‘Creating Sustainable Futures’ Discovery Theme. The CSF theme allows students from all disciplines to enrol on more than 100 sustainability-related modules. This helps students to explore different aspects of sustainability as they relate to their studies and to broaden their knowledge and skills on the big issues facing society.

The University was also a finalist in the Community Innovation category for our work with Leeds University Union to respond to community and our wider stakeholders needs through projects that engage and encourage our students to live more sustainability in local communities and make a positive contribution to society.

How We Are Building a Better University Public Event Coming Soon

Ongoing consultation and engagement with our local stakeholders are vital for the Facilities Directorate, and the wider University, to meet our strategic commitments.  Our aim is to create a welcoming, culturally and environmentally vibrant campus that provides an exceptional experience for staff, students and local communities. We are planning an event for late Spring for you to find out about the work of the Facilities Directorate, the opportunities for you to engage with our activities and access our wide variety of cultural assets. Presentation will include an introduction to the Campus Masterplan, including key proposed and completed developments, and how we are integrating sustainability commitments to positively contribute to society.  For more information on the Campus Development Plan see our dedicated website.   If you are interested in receiving more information and an invitation to our event, email Amanda Jackson.

University Mentors Seeking Community Mentees

Since the successful launch of our Community Mentoring Scheme in November, we have had a great deal of interest from University staff and now have a number of mentors seeking local organisations to mentor. Available mentors include those with knowledge of: general business support; human resource management; finance & financial forecasting; volunteer recruitment & support; waste, recycling & reuse; community and stakeholder engagement; sustainable fashion and textiles product development; supply chain management; energy reduction; raising external funding; media & communications; digital skills development; project management; working with industry and more. We are currently seeking staff members to take the role as mentor as well as any locally based community organisations to benefit from being mentees.

For more information and to make an application to the scheme visit the sustainability webpages. 
The Community Mentoring Scheme matches a University staff mentor with a local organisation seeking support with a specific area of work such as writing a funding bid, developing a marketing campaign or sustainable business modelling

Investing In Knowledge, Creating Opportunity

The University has published a specially commissioned report capturing the scale of our economic, social and cultural impacts. The independent report offers the first comprehensive review of the University’s impact and provides the bedrock of evidence for the University’s ambitions for the future. It examines the remarkable contribution Leeds is making to the city region, the UK and on a global scale; revealing that the University is making a £1.3bn contribution to the UK economy. At £588 million, the report places Leeds as the 8th largest university in the UK by income. At a special event on Wednesday 18 November, the Vice-Chancellor showcased the report and its key findings, inviting civic leaders, business and industry to learn more about the University and to think about how new partnerships and alliances can be forged to promote regional growth and prosperity. Follow the Vice-Chancellor’s speech and panel discussion on the Leeds Impact blog

Leeds Festival of Science, 5th-23rd March

Join us in March to celebrate the annual Leeds Festival of Science.  There will be lots of opportunities for you to be involved through the public programme of events taking place across the city.  There will be family activities at Thwaite Mill where you can “Explore the Power of Water”, science experiments at Armley Mills, and “Be Curious” at the University of Leeds where you can knit a 3D sculpture and explore a Planetarium. There will be events for adults too such as a comedy night brought to you by Bright Club Leeds, or why not visit St. James’s University Hospital and have a go at keyhole surgery (don’t worry you would be operating inside a plastic person, not a real one!) and find out how brain surgeons are growing ‘mini-brains’ to help with cancer research. Lots of local schools and colleges will also be joining in – exploring science at the University and also participating in roadshow activities which scientists, mathematicians and engineers will be taking out into schools.For more details visit the festival website.

University Stages Double Act With West Yorkshire Playhouse

The University’s School of Performance and Cultural Industries (PCI) will work closely with the Playhouse on a series of joint theatre projects focused on developing new and emerging talent. One of the first initiatives sees the partners link the Playhouse’s new writing schemes with the University’s Masters course, Writing for Performance and Publication, aimed at encouraging new playwrights.The University and the Playhouse have now signed a memorandum of understanding to develop further projects with regional, national and international impact over the next three years. For more details about this new collaborative project visit the PCI webpages.

New Travel Plan for 2015-2018

The University of Leeds Travel Plan is a package of practical measures which promote and encourage more sustainable travel choices amongst our students, staff and visitors. The Plan will help us to achieve our strategic aim to foster a student and staff body where sustainable travel is the norm while reducing the associated negative impacts of travel such as congestion, carbon emissions and air pollution.

Our key achievements through the plan to date include:
  • 742 staff members signed up to public transport pass schemes,
  • Over 1400 staff and students used the Bike Hub between Sept 2014 - Aug 2015 for hire, training, bike maintenance and route advice,
  • 840 staff have signed up to the cycle to work scheme since it began in 2007.
  • Fleet of over 300 bikes available for student hire, 
  • 2155 cycle parking spaces on campus in 2014.  
For more information about the plan and guidance on how it is created, please get in touch with us.

IntoUniversity Comes to Campus

The Sustainability Service and Educational Engagement teams recently welcomed children and their families from the award-winning IntoUniversity organisation to campus to show them around and introduce them to sustainability initiatives.  IntoUniversity works with children from schools in disadvantaged postcodes to raise aspirations, engage with children who might not normally think of coming to University and encourage them to choose to study. During their visit, the children were shown around the Sustainable Garden, built ‘bug hotels’, made smoothies using pedal power and fixed bikes with team members from the Sustainability Service. IntoUniversity students have also been invited to take part in a competition to design bio-diversity flower beds for campus. Watch out for the winning designs that will be planted at the University's main entrance in the Spring. 

Be Curious! Festival 2016

You are invited to find out, explore and investigate the subject of health and wellbeing during the University’s first Be Curious! Festival on Saturday 19 March 2016 from 10 – 4pm. Be Curious! will open the campus to the public, inviting families and children to experience what is happening behind the University’s doors. It is an opportunity to find out about research at the University through activities that bring research closer to the public. For more details visit the festival website. 

New Footsteps into Art Project

The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery has launched an exciting new three year project, Footsteps into Art, working with 300 children from five neighbouring primary schools. The project aims to enable children to explore art and art making in an intensely individual and deeply creative way. The children, many of whom had never been to an art gallery before, started off the project in a Gallery day workshop that saw them learning what a Gallery is, how to make their own sketchbooks and how to explore art through drawing. Their second visit will be focused on printmaking; learning how to create monoprints and following a short visit to the M&S Company Archive. In late February, the schools will participate in sculpture workshops with artist Jennyanne Smith. The workshops are supported by a team of student volunteers, work experience placements and an Intern. 

The Future of Liberal Arts: A Cross-Institutional Symposium

Join us for a Cross-institutional Symposium on The Future of Liberal Arts in UK Higher Education Tuesday, March 15th, 12-3pm. This event is co-organised by the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence & Innovation (LITEI). We are delighted to welcome five leaders of Liberal Arts curriculum innovation from across the HE sector
RSVP (for catering purposes): Rekha Parmar
If you can only attend for part of the event, we can accommodate this (just let us know).

Leeds University Union Update

Over the past three months, the Community team at LUU have been coordinating the annual house-hunting campaign which started on Monday 25th January. The campaign aims to support students in their understanding of the rental process and encouraging them to wait longer before signing for a property. Working with their biggest group of housing volunteers this year, LUU have supporting and trained 25 students to work on the campaign.

The campaign included delivering the NUS Ready to Rent training workshops ins University residencies and a Housing Fair involving Unipol accredited landlords from around Leeds and a contract checking service. This year should be the most successful house hunting season yet.

St Marks Artwork Reflects on Local Heritage

St Marks Residences recently saw the installation of two pieces of innovative and interesting exterior artwork, designed by renowned sculptor David Mayne of Concept Sketches. The ideas for each piece are described by David “Initial ideas looked at Woodhouse Moor as a starting point for research, as an ornamental flower garden has existed in this location since the early 1880s.  Researching telescopes led me to develop ideas based on their huge lenses and explore an artwork that has reflective qualities. The Leeds Astronomical Society is, as far as is known, the earliest founded local amateur society in the UK and first held their meetings  in premises on Woodhouse Lane”. 

Residencies are also involved with coordinating staff and student volunteering days focusing on conservation tasks with key partners including the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Bradford Environmental Action Trust (BEAT). Their latest activity day in December involved a team of nine volunteers who planted a total of 1,500 plugs of Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Holly on land located between Kildwick and Silsden in the Aire Valley.

University Evaluates Light Night Leeds 

The University of Leeds enjoys a strong relationship with Leeds City Council’s annual Light Night.
For the past two years, the University has been involved not only in hosting and producing a number of events, but also in evaluating the entire festival.  Our key findings were that this year’s audience (an estimated 60,000) enjoyed the event and found the artistic quality high, but wanted a stronger focus on light and to see Leeds’ flagship buildings like the Civic Hall illuminated. Most people surveyed thought that Light Night should take place over two nights rather than one, and wanted the illuminations and installations to be less dispersed across the city. We estimated that Light Night brought in over £2m in extra spending, mainly on food and drink. Over 80% of respondents felt that Light Night helps makes Leeds an attractive place to live and visit.

Studentsintoschools programme: raising aspirations and enhancing pupils' learning

The University's studentsintoschools programme operates across Leeds and West Yorkshire to help raise the attainment and aspirations of young people, and to offer our students the opportunity to develop their skills in an educational setting. Approximately 400 students take part annually, assisting in over 60 schools and colleges to deliver and support a range of educational interventions tailored to the needs of each school. The programme is organised into two strands: studentsintoschools modules, which form part of a student’s degree course and allows schools to utilise the expertise and enthusiasm of undergraduates in particular subjects; and studentsintoschools volunteering, which is open to all students and includes literacy support, mentoring, out of school activities, and EAL support. If a school has a specific need that our students can assist with, or an idea that they would like to develop with our support that isn’t covered by these two strands, we would love to hear from them. Contact us via email.

New University Gallery Opens to All

The University's new public Gallery displaying our nationally renowned Special Collections has now opened to the public.  Located in the Parkinson building,  the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery will display highlights from our renowned collections including Shakespeare’s First Folio, and rare books from across the globe. Visitors will discover objects which tell a thousand tales, from the evolution of printing to the story of a First World War prison escape, and see manuscripts written by some of the worlds most famous authors. As well as displaying objects from our special collections, the gallery will also stage special exhibitions. The first, On Conscientious Grounds: Objection and Resistance in the First World War, marks the centenary of the introduction of conscription in Britain. 

Groups are also welcome to visit the new Gallery and exciting volunteering opportunities will be available soon. Please see the website for details. The Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery has been made possible by the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the John Brotherton-Ratcliffe Trust.
Copyright © 2015 University of Leeds Sustainability Service All rights reserved.

Produced by Amanda Jackson, Sustainability Project Officer, Sustainability Service.

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