My week – 10 June 2013 – Sustainability Awards, Life After Leeds and the DARE Liberty Lecture

A regular update from Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur.

Professor Michael Arthur

With campus looking so beautifully green and lush, it was a particularly apt week to hold the Sustainability awards. The 10 awards covered a multitude of areas from volunteering to sustainable travel and the winners included staff and students from right across the University. Sustainability at the University goes from strength to strength, particularly now we have our Director of Sustainability and ‘human dynamo’ Louise Ellis driving forward the sustainability agenda.

There isn’t room here to mention all the award recipients but I must acknowledge the fantastic work done by the winners of the two awards for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability. Colleague Jennie Hibbard (Faculty of Biological Sciences) was presented with an award for her inspirational Green Impact work. Jennie’s lab achieved a Gold Green Impact award in 2012/13 and she is now taking the sustainability message beyond the University, speaking to external groups about how to promote positive behaviour changes in a laboratory environment. Students Hannah Robb and Adam Klink also did an outstanding job in the School of English, their efforts helping the school to achieve a Bronze Green Impact award. The event also celebrated Green Impact's best year yet, with 49 awards given to teams and labs that took part, 13 of which were for achieving Gold level.

International students make an enormous contribution to this University and also to the city of Leeds, so I was delighted that the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Tom Murray, was able to join me at this year’s Life After Leeds (LAL) event to personally thank our students for choosing to study and live in Leeds. LAL is organised by the Career Centre as an opportunity for our international graduates to celebrate completing their studies – acting almost as an informal degree ceremony – and it was marvellous to be part of such a happy occasion. Students from around 150 countries attended, all of whom will go on to act as ‘ambassadors’ recommending the University of Leeds to colleagues, relatives and friends across the world.

Our DARE partnership with Opera North has resulted in some exceptional projects and events, such as the DARE Liberty Lecture given by renowned sociologist Professor Zygmunt Bauman, which I attended this week. Professor Bauman retired from the University some years ago, but his work is still hugely relevant to society and is being actively taken forward through the work of our Bauman Institute. His lecture – 'Martyr to Hero to Celebrity' – was inspired by Wagner's Siegfried, one of Opera North’s current productions, and discussed how societies need and create heroes. The lecture was fascinating and the event served to remind me of the contribution the DARE partnership has made to the creative and intellectual life of the region, and nationally and internationally. Since its creation in 2006, over 120 projects involving all our nine faculties have been initiated, including student internships, international scholarships, research and the creation of new work – a range of activity that would be beyond the reach of either party alone.


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