Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Zombies, Sushi and Dreams

Had an interesting journey yesterday afternoon at the External Affairs and Knowledge Management Committee. We went from discussing Zombies, through talking about dreams, to enterprising students selling Sushi, and finished with a session on caring for at-risk elderly people. Let me explain how....

Every year Sheffield has a Fright Night around Halloween - an extremely successful event attracting over 30,000 people into the City Centre. The University is one of the sponsors and our very own Professor Vanessa helps with the entertainment, including providing Sheffield students to dress up as Zombies and mingle with the crowd.

Then we went on to talk about some research we have commissioned to find out more about the perception of the University in the City, and a campaign we're launching in a few weeks to raise our profile. There's an excellent film clip about Dreams which we'll be showing in cinemas and around the City and we got a sneak preview - don't want to say more and give the game away but it's excellent.

Enterprising students were up next. We've just launched USE - a service to help students with enterprising ideas, setting up their own business, getting work experience etc. An excellent service, and one that's very relevant as we aim to improve the employability of our graduates in the current financial climate. One of our success stories in this area is Will Christophers who began a few years ago selling Japanese food form a small handcart on the University concourse. Now he's the founder of WillYaki Ltd - a thriving Japanese food retailer and supplier.

Finally, something that is becoming more relevant to us all, a presentation on an innovative piece of research with practical applications in the care of elderly people from Professor Ian Philp. Easy-Care is a set of assessment tools to help health care practioners assess the needs of elderly and at risk people, developed out of a research project here in Sheffield and now in use internationally.

It was the first of this new committee's meetings I've been able to attend and it surprisingly enjoyable - I wish all meetings could be as interesting!

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