Posts Tagged ‘university’

The Pro Bono Approach (feature published in University Business Jauary Issue)

It has never been unusual for students take part in voluntary or pro bono work, even if it is just to add some vital experience to their CV’s.

In a market with an ever increasing amount of graduates for a limited number of positions having hands-on experience on leaving university can have a massive influence on employers hiring decisions. What is more unusual is the way that some universities are now integrating this work into their curriculum.

The University of West England runs a legal clinic, Community Legal Advice and Representation Service (CLARS), in conjunction with the Citizens Advice Bureau. Over 200 students work with a team of academics to interview and advise locals on a range of legal issues.

Heading the project is Marcus Keppell-Palmer who has spoken exclusively to University Business regarding the integration of this scheme in to their course.

Mr Keppell-Palmer stated that UWE has recognised the value of incorporating work within students degrees and that they are hoping to incorporate more placements into the course structure.

He continues, saying that: “students who work in our Street Law project and in our Innocence project my use their experience as the basis of their year-long placement in our Law in Action placement module.”

Any student on the Barristers Course can claim a module of work if they work enough cases through CLARS..

They are not the only institution beginning to put practical placements on to the curriculum. The University of Birmingham has recently extended it’s Free legal Advice Group (FLAG), and at Oxford Brookes they are beginning to add one day a week placements to the accountancy course.

The Accounting for Charities: Engaging Students (ACES) scheme was launched in January 2010 between Brookes and Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA), and it puts second year undergraduates into local charities to run their books.

Catherine Dilnot, senior lecturer at the Business School, has told University Business that the project has now been approved as an independent study module, incorporated into the BSc Accounting and Finance.

Whilst students currently participate in these schemes out of the goodness of their hearts and for their CV’s, but as more and more universities start to create links with both NPOs and private businesses it seems likely that more placements could be integrated in to degree courses.



Big Green Week (feature published in University Business December Issue)

The University of Leicester have been supporting energy saving week and pledging their commitment to reduce their carbon emissions this month by staging it’s biggest ever environmental festival – The Big Green Week 2010.

Held over the 25-31st October, Big Green Week was a festival of events to show the University’s support to the Government’s aim of reducing the UK emissions of CO2 by 60 percent.

Although it carried a serious message, Big Green Week was a fun and friendly event, intending to bring people together behind the cause. The main message was sustainability, be it in eating or travelling, or even in the home.

The main exhibit was the Carbon Cube, a 8.24m³ cube of scaffolding and mesh representing the space taken up by a metric ton of CO2, on view at the heart of campus. The Carbon Cube was a life-size monument of the amount of the stuff we pump into the atmosphere.

Environmental Manager, Dr Emma Fieldhouse commented that reactions to the exhibit were polarised: “many people were impressed with the visual representation of the tonne of carbon dioxide and others appeared to not want to know what their own impacts could be.”

Visitors to the Carbon Cube were encouraged to take part in a carbon footprint calculation, with every participants name entered into a prize draw to potentially win one of a range of prizes. There were five carbon footprint stations around campus for the week, the most notable being the mobile rickshaw darting around the campus.

Each day of the week had a different theme, beginning with Monday’s ‘use less energy’. Kicking off the week was a debate on climate change. Tuesday and Wednesday’s eating and travelling sustainability events included a local food fayre and a bicycle workshop. Thursday focused on recycling, but the main event was to culminate on the Friday.

Students and visitors came together to spell UoL Goes Green in Victoria Park. Setting people up in formation, the message could be read from roofs and this year the Big Green Statement was intended to be bigger and more powerful than any made previously.

Every day the Big Switch Off was set up at 6pm, for people to come and pledge to switch of as many appliances as possible with the aim of saving not just the environment, but also the climate. Around the Big Green Week 2007 there was a massive reduction in electricity use, with the University itself estimating its saving at £60,000. This year they continued to encourage all visitors to get behind this scheme and help attain even more fantastic results.

Running throughout the week was the open air photography exhibition, Hard Rain. Viewed by at least 15 million people in over 100 venues worldwide, this is Mark Edwards’ photographic illustration of the Bob Dylan song ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’. On Wednesday the 27th Mark himself performed a presentation for free of his famous exhibit.

Environmental groups applauded the work done that week, which was sponsored by the WWF. A spokesperson for the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges stated: “the EAUC fully supports the work that Leicester do and is excited by the innovative approach.”