University of Essex

22 December 2016

Take part in Essex Crown

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:48 am

Essex Crown is an  inter-departmental challenge running from 12 December to 26 January.

There are various ways to obtain points, like attending university and SU events, and by solving riddles and conundrums on the Library’s Twitter profile.

Students can also spectate and participate in several official Essex Crown events. These include:

  • The Quest- a campus-wide, all day treasure hunt style event
  • The Battle of the Buttons- a video games night style event
  • The Contest- a dodgeball tournament
  • The Exhibition- a project based task

Essex Crown culminates in The Final Showdown, a gameshow in which the eight teams with the highest score compete to be crowned the winner.

The aim of Essex Crown is to create a sense of community among students and staff at a departmental level. We also want to involve staff from our Professional Services teams and all Professional Service staff members are invited to attend as many events and activities as they wish. Members of Professional Services teams will be allocated to a department, but if you have a preference, just let us know.

To find out more, take a look at our Facebook event page, meet the team behind Essex Crown, and watch our video.

If you’re interested in becoming involved in this project, and would like to be part of a departmental team, please contact crown@essex.ac.uk for more information, or sign up for the team based events.

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20 December 2016

STEM latest

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — Communications, CER @ 3:47 pm

The STEM development on Square 1 is reaching a crucial stage now. The sheet piling has gone in, allowing the earth to be excavated away from it creating the hole into which the foundations will go. The next stage is for a portion of podium 1 to be “nibbled” away – to create space for the building itself.

The hole where the foundations of our new STEM building will go.

The hole where the foundations of our new STEM building will go.

This will be done by a large machine which will sit on the podium and crunch away the concrete corner. The machine to do this will be delivered on Saturday 7 January, meaning that Valley Road will be closed between 8am and 12noon, to allow the machine to get onto campus.

Once the machine is in place, the podium will be supported with scaffolding, ready for the crunching machine to begin its work on Thursday 19 January. This work, which is likely to be quite noisy, will take approximately four weeks.

Next, the piling machine will be brought back to site and will drill a series of deep holes, which will be back filled with concrete and steel, creating a number of supporting columns in the ground, ontop of which will be poured the concrete foundations.

The next stage is for the crane to be delivered to site on the weekend of Friday 17 to Monday 19 February 2017. Bringing the crane onto site will mean Valley Road needs to be closed for that weekend. The large crane will then allow materials like steel to be moved around the site – so building can begin.

This is an exciting project and your continued patience and understanding is appreciated while construction is underway.

Take a look at the latest photos from the site on flickr.

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Play your part in the big Christmas switch-off

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — ckeitch @ 12:14 pm
An image of our Colchester Campus in the snow.

An image of our Colchester Campus in the snow.

During the Christmas break the heating will be turned down in our academic buildings to reduce our carbon emissions.

And we can all play our part in creating a more sustainable campus, by closing windows and blinds and turning off non-essential equipment before we leave the office for Christmas.  

In fact there are lots of ways we can all be more sustainable, both in the office and at home.

Take a look at these top sustainability tips provided by our Sustainability team:

At work:

  • Switch electrical items off at the socket or, better still, unplug them completely.
  • Turn off the lights. Last year the University spent £2.4 million on electricity. Save energy and help to reduce costs by turning off lights that are not in use.
  • Shut down your PC. It might not seem like a big deal, but think how many office PCs there are across our three campuses. For 100 PCs, it could save as much as £220 a day.

At home:

  • Make the most of your Christmas tree . If you have an artificial tree, use it for as long as possible to get the most out of it.
  • Got a real tree? Get you! Find out how to recycle your tree in Colchester, Southend or through St Helena Hospice.
  • Re-use wrapping paper if you can, and keep any good stuff for next year. Be sure to recycle the rest.
  • Be careful not to buy too much food, and keep any leftovers for other meals. Christmas dinner pie is pretty tasty!

For more good tips on an eco-friedly Christmas, visit Friends of the Earth.

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19 December 2016

Ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors at the UK Data Archive?

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 3:28 pm

To celebrate its 50th anniversary the UK Data Archive is holding an open morning specifically for Professional Services staff at the University.

As a secure data environment the UK Data Archive is usually behind locked doors, so this is a rare opportunity to visit the Archive.

Date: Wednesday 11 January 2017

Programme:

10.30am: Welcome and introduction to the UK Data Archive

10.45am-11.15am: What does the UK Data Archive actually do? Short presentations of its key work

11.15am-12 noon: Enjoy coffee and cake, meet staff and see project work

The open morning will give you a whistle-stop tour of the Archive’s work, give guests the opportunity to meet staff and hear about some of our latest projects involving research and development, training and teaching, research data management and more.

To fulfil security obligations as a secure data environment the Archive will need to have a list of visitors, so if you would like to come along please RSVP to comms@ukdataservice.ac.uk in advance.

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16 December 2016

Your pennies changing lives: Joe Greenwood

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 4:23 pm
Joe Greenwood

Joe Greenwood

Every penny really does count with the Donate Your Pennies fundraising initiative which is already raising hundreds of pounds for Women of the Future.

We’ve spoken to people from around our University community who have signed up to the scheme to find out what motivated them. Following hot on the heels of last week’s case study is Joe Greenwood, Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Government.

What inspired you to sign up to Donate Your Pennies?

I knew that I wouldn’t miss a few pennies each month, and that if lots of people joined the scheme then we could, collectively, raise quite a lot of money.

Why do you think supporting education for women is important and what impact do you hope your contribution can make?

I think it’s important to challenge the role that privilege plays in shaping people’s lives. Gender inequality is a clear manifestation of the functioning of privilege and it affects women’s opportunities in education, which are an important influence on subsequent opportunities. Donating money isn’t the only, or even the most important, way to address such inequality, but it can play a part. There is a tangible benefit to offering women from around the world the chance to study here at Essex, especially since the option might otherwise not have been available to them. If some of the recipients of the scholarships go on to be part of positive change in their communities, all the better, but if not then it’s enough that they could spend a year learning, thinking, and engaging with new people. Each of our contributions to that via Donate your Pennies might be tiny, but we can have a big impact together.

What would you say to anyone thinking about joining the initiative?

If all the staff at the University donated 50p per month it would add up to over £12,000 per year!

Donate your pennies is a way for everyone at Essex to get involved in fundraising. Your net monthly pay is rounded down to the nearest pound, with the pennies going towards our scholarships, currently the Women of the Future Appeal – supporting talented women from across the world to study at Essex. As your maximum donation can be no more than 99p per month, our 3,000 staff at Essex can together make a big difference to our students. Sign up today.

 

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Modern Slavery conference

Filed under: Latest news — Heather Leathley @ 11:35 am

Nearly 200 people attended  a conference on Modern Slavery and Trafficking: The Unseen Crime at The Forum Southend-on-Sea.

Key speakers included Anne Read, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery, Salvation Army, Cristina Gavrilovic, Anti-Slavery Partnership Co-ordinator, Essex and Kent Police and Wendy Adams, Projects and Training co-ordinator Stop The Traffik UK.

The audience was drawn from various sectors of the community, including social workers, the third sector and University of Essex students from the Centre of Social Work at the Southend Campus.

Dr Stephen Jordan from the Centre of Social Work put the conference together after he was approached by Sarah Range, Safeguarding Adults Manager at Southend Borough Council and Eleanor Wilson, Workforce Commissioning Manager at Southend Borough Council. He said: “One of our priorities this year was to look at modern slavery.  A conference like this is really useful for our students and embeds this issue into their course.”

Anne Read from the Salvation Army explained about the history of modern slavery and the work the Salvation Army  does to help people around the country. Cristina Gavrilovic from Essex and Kent Police talked about the signs to look out for and the professional need to be aware of any potential slavery situation.

Wendy Adams from Stop The Traffik UK, spoke about the work her group has been undertaking with Greater Manchester Police. She said: “By working together and sharing our skills we can help to prevent human trafficking.”

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15 December 2016

Women of the Future Appeal reaches £600,000

Filed under: Latest news — Communications Office @ 1:09 pm

A special fundraising dinner at Wivenhoe House hotel hosted by television presenter and writer Sandi Toksvig has helped the Women of the Future Appeal reach £600,000.

Launched in June 2015 to raise £500,000 to support 25 Masters scholarships for women from around the world to study at Essex, the Appeal has now surpassed its target by more than £100,000 thanks to the enthusiastic support of the University community and the wider public. This means even more women can be supported through scholarships.

The Celebration Dinner was organised to celebrate Women of the Future’s success and officially close the appeal. Tickets sales and auction bids added a further £20,000 to the appeal’s fundraising total – with the University match-funding this figure.

Director of Advancement Jo Rogers said: “It has been a fantastically successful appeal receiving support from all our University community . This event was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the appeal and look forward to its launch in 2017. Hitting £600,000 was the perfect early Christmas present!”

The evening featured an auction with items donated by our Honorary Graduates, supporters and local businesses including a selection of David Dimbleby’s Question Time ties, dinner for 10 people cooked at your house by chef Jack Monroe and a free dive with a world champion free diver donated by Blue Abyss.

The evening was a chance to bring together donors to the Appeal, local business representatives and members of the University and local community.

All proceeds from tickets sales and the auction were matched by the University.

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14 December 2016

New Sports Centre development gets underway

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, Sport — Communications, CER @ 5:50 pm
Our new sports centre will have space for new courts as well as offices and the sports clinic.

Our new sports centre will have space for new courts as well as offices and the sports clinic.

If you’ve ventured up to the Sports Centre at Colchester Campus this week, you’ll no doubt have noticed that work is now underway to build our brand new sports facilities.

Housed in a whole new building, it will offer a range of new space including 12 badminton courts, 3 full size basket ball courts, 3 netball courts and 5 volley ball courts.

In order to get construction underway the large site will be cordoned off by a mixture of Heras fencing and hoardings. This will mean that a number of usual pathways around the campus will be cordoned off.

In some instances you may be required to take a detour, which will be signposted. Take a look at the site plans to see if your route is affected. Updates will be also be posted on our works on campus webpage.

We will be updating you with more information about this exciting project. For now, take a look at the images of how the new sports centre will look once its completed in winter 2017.  There are also some photos from the site on flickr.

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8 December 2016

Meet the EMS Helpdesk team

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, People pages — ckeitch @ 5:18 pm

Who are the people that answer our questions when we call the EMS Helpdesk?  We spoke to Jan Long, the Helpdesk Supervisor, to find out more about her and her team. 

How many members are there in your team?

There are four people altogether. Our advisors, Lauren, Claire and Julie, and myself.

An image of Jan Long

Jan Long, Helpdesk Supervisor

How long have you been the Helpdesk Supervisor?

I have worked at the University for 25 years, but I’ve been in this permanent role of Helpdesk Supervisor for just four months.  Prior to the post being made permanent I had been doing the role in a secondment capacity for 18 months.

What are the main responsibilities of your role? 

I supervise the three advisors and manage the workload coming into the Helpdesk. These come in by email, telephone and face-to-face. I also make sure work is turned round and achieved by our team and the workshops on time. I also manage the car parking systems, lost property and some communications for the section via the Business Support Manager. It’s quite a busy role!

An image of Julie Ford

Julie Ford taking a call at the EMS Helpdesk

What is the main purpose of the team?

The main purpose of the team is to manage customer expectations, to communicate efficiently and effectively with customers and colleagues, generate work flow to the workshops and make sure we’re friendly and approachable to people contacting the Helpdesk.

We receive workshop requests from all over the University and from that first correspondence we create a call log. That is then turned into a job ticket, which gets sent straight to the hand-held units of our craftsperson for processing.

For example a student contacts the Helpdesk via email to say the toilet in their en-suite room is blocked.  The team then raises the call log and associated job ticket to the relevant workshop using the students contact details. That means we can send a message to the student so they know how the work is progressing and also means we can send them an email when the work is completed.

Tell us something funny or unusual about yourselves.

The team is made up of a colourful group of characters. Lauren is a lover of flavoured jelly beans, and can do a mean Stacey Solomon impression. Claire is a Psychology graduate and holds a counselling qualification. Julie is a champion darts player (by accident!) and wine connoisseur, and I’m an unpublished writer, a keen baker and an animal lover.

Our helpful helpdesk team, L-R: Lauren McGrath, Jan Long and Claire Stannard.

Our helpful helpdesk team, L-R: Lauren McGrath, Jan Long and Claire Stannard.

What big projects do your team have coming up?

I’m going to be working with the team to update our  procedures and protocols, so we can improve the experience for people contacting the Helpdesk. This will also improve the working environment for my own team.  We’re also going to be getting a new lost property database, so we can keep a better track of lost property and, hopefully, reunite more people with the things they’ve lost.

What’s the strangest thing that’s been handed into lost property?

A set of false teeth.

Were their owners chomping at the bit to get them back?

They were never reunited with their owner.

What projects are you most proud of?

An image of Claire Stannard

Claire Stannard at the EMS Helpdesk

I’m most proud of the work the team and I are doing to gel together and continue to grow. We’ve forged a really strong relationship with the workshops and other staff within the section, which makes it much easier for us all to do our jobs.  It’s really exciting that the Helpdesk is continuing to grow and evolve.

How did you get into this sort of role? What other roles/organisations have you worked for?

I worked in Greenford in Middlesex for the European distributor of Slush Puppie before I moved to Essex, where I worked locally for Amtrak parcels before joining the University. Though I have been in the Estate Management Section for 25 years I have been in two secretarial roles for Purchasing and then the Cleaning Section before moving into the Helpdesk.

What is your top tip for others working at the University?

Network, be approachable, ask questions, work hard, be confident in your own abilities and others will see what a valued member of the team you are.

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Your pennies changing lives: Sophie Barnes

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Communications Office @ 3:40 pm
Sophie Barnes

Sophie Barnes

Every penny really does count with the Donate Your Pennies fundraising initiative which is already raising hundreds of pounds for Women of the Future.

We’ve spoken to people from around our University community who have signed up to the scheme to find out what motivated them.  Following hot on the heels of last week’s case study is Sophie Barnes, Web and Digital Media Assistant in Marketing and Student Recruitment.

What inspired you to sign up to Donate Your Pennies?

Donate Your Pennies translates small, individual acts of generosity into something that can really change lives and I wanted to be a part of that.

Why do you think supporting education for women is important and what impact do you hope your contribution can make?

I was the first in my family to go to university, so to be able to help other prospective students achieve their goal of attending university is something I’m really passionate about. Everyone should be given this chance if they want to learn, and shouldn’t be held back because they can’t afford it. By making a small contribution and impacting future students’ lives, I feel I’m donating to a worthy cause.

What would you say to anyone thinking about joining the initiative?

I think this initiative embodies the community feel of Essex and shows that together, we can make a big difference. As it was such a small amount of money, I knew I wouldn’t miss it. Plus it was quick and easy to sign up.

Donate your pennies is a way for everyone at Essex to get involved in fundraising. Your net monthly pay is rounded down to the nearest pound, with the pennies going towards our scholarships, currently the Women of the Future Appeal – supporting talented women from across the world to study at Essex. As your maximum donation can be no more than 99p per month, our 3,000 staff at Essex can together make a big difference to our students. Sign up today.

 

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

 

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