My week - 5 May 2015 - celebrating our staff and students
Once again Celebrate Week 2015 has been a great success, highlighting the tremendous work of students and staff, and showing again that Leeds University Union is the beating heart of the University.
The Partnership Awards, Volunteer Celebrations, the Hall Exec Awards, our Intercultural Ambassadors, the Sports Colours, the LeedsforLife Citizenship Awards and Leeds RAG, the Unions biggest fundraising society, defined a year of achievement which I am sure is unsurpassed in any other University. Last year alone the RAG Community fund raised £277,018 for more than 120 charitable causes around the globe and the RAG awards on 7 May provide the perfect antidote to another less inspiring election.
The Riley Awards where the Royal Variety Performance meets the BAFTAs provided a truly remarkable showcase and celebration of LUUs 330 plus clubs and societies with an emphasis on creativity, entertainment and achievement. Along with 550 others mainly cheering students I was privileged to join this marvellous occasion and I take this opportunity to thank Fi Metcalfe, the LUU Activities Officer 2015, and indeed the whole Student Exec Gemma Turner, Freya Govus, Tom Dixon, Bradley Escorcio and George Bradley - for the huge contribution they have made to the life and work of the University over the past year.
Before landing at the Rileys, I was on a whistlestop trip to Malaysia, Hong Kong and China, in part attending the World Universities Network Annual Meeting where Leeds is playing a major role in advancing four global research themes: responding to climate change; public health (non-communicable disease); global higher education and research; and understanding cultures.
During my visit I also met a High Court Judge, one of Malaysias most successful businesswomen, the founding Vice-Chancellor of University Malaysia Sarawak, the Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, the Director of the Croucher Foundation, one of the leading figures in sports medicine in SE Asia and the President and CEO of the largest independent pan-Asia life insurance company. All eight are very different but have one thing in common they are graduates of the University of Leeds who attribute much of their success to the time they spent here.
They are also part of a much wider Leeds community in SE Asia, many of whom attended an alumni event in Kuala Lumpur last weekend and an excellent alumni lecture on food security given by Professor Tim Benton in Hong Kong at the beginning of last week. Everyone I spoke to on these occasions had very fond memories of their time at Leeds, many were contributing to the University by giving their time and money to support existing students and all wanted to know about our aspirations and ambitions for the future development of their University.
Students past, present (and indeed future) are the lifeblood of Leeds. Their time here has a profound effect on their lives and life chances, and they expect us to commit to providing continuous improvement, never standing still, and providing outstanding education, opportunities for all round personal growth and world class research and innovation. It is our responsibility to keep moving forward, to deliver all three and to honour their commitment to the University.