Alumni & Supporters

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Making a difference

When it comes to learning and development opportunities, it’s not just academic and professional staff that shape the experiences of Newcastle University students. Arches looks at how the generosity of our alumni and supporters is also changing lives on and off campus.

Newcastle University is a civic university with a proud tradition of world-class academic excellence. Last year, Newcastle ranked in the top 1 per cent of world universities (QS World University Rankings 2014–15).

But in order for Newcastle to remain one of the top universities in the world, we must continue to recruit the brightest students, regularly update our facilities, purchase new learning materials and provide new opportunities for our students.

Gifts from our alumni and supporters to our Annual Fund help make all of these things possible.

Through our Annual Fund Phonathon campaigns, our team of 26 dedicated student callers help keep the University and our alumni in touch with each other. With three campaigns a year, the team also raises money for a wide variety of University activities. In 2014, some 1,600 alumni generously donated more than £245,000. The dedication and hard work of the Phonathon team was recognised last year with a Student Employee of the Year award. The awards, organised by the National Association of Making a difference Student Employment Services (NASES), recognise and promote the outstanding contributions and achievements of students who combine jobs with their study commitments.

Tara Millington, Advancement Officer (Campaigns), said: ‘Our team are excellent ambassadors for the University and enjoy chatting to our alumni about their time here. They find out what they’ve been up to since leaving and update them on how the University has developed over the years. Furthermore, every graduate they speak to has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of current students.’

Arches caught up with some of the beneficiaries of the Annual Fund:

Providing Opportunities
Santana, a third-year Food and Human Nutrition student, received an undergraduate bursary:

‘Receiving the bursary means I can spend more time studying and it enables me to get the most out of my degree rather than worry about finances. I still work part-time to allow me to gain essential work experience, but the bursary ensures that I don’t have to work so many hours that it impacts upon my studying.

‘It is also a great help towards essential study materials such as textbooks. I am extremely grateful for the ‘peace of mind’ this provides during my busy final year of studying.’

Providing Opportunities
Sarah received social mentoring support:

‘After completing my undergraduate degree, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. I approached the University’s Student Wellbeing Service before applying to do my MA in Museum Studies to see if they would be able to help me manage my second degree better than my first.

‘The Asperger’s and Autism Support Network (AASN) has been a great way to visit new places and meet people outside of my course who are in similar situations, with the option to keep in contact outside the meetings. AASN has given me the confidence to try new things and learn from others about their experiences with university and life in general. Having contact with the AASN at Newcastle University means I have support should I need it.’

Advancing Medical Research
Jess is an intercalating MB BS student currently in her fifth year:
‘I am extremely grateful for the bursary I received from the 1834 Fund. I would like to thank the generous alumni and friends who support the Fund. The bursary has enabled me to undertake an intercalated year of research in ageing and health.

‘I am passionate about global health, especially aspects relating to the ageing population. During my MRes year, I will be conducting research in sub-Saharan Africa to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors for dementia and delirium with a view to improving disease management and quality of care.’

Advancing Medical Research
Charlotte from Newcastle:

‘I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour at the age of 13. After late diagnosis, I underwent
surgery, craniospinal radiotherapy and chemotherapy over a period of 18 months. After such intensive treatment, I have a number of incurable and severe side effects including short-term memory issues, chronic fatigue and hormone problems.

‘The work the University is doing will ensure there are fewer long-term effects of cancer on young children. With new research, childhood cancer sufferers will be able to live the way they want to
and not the way they need to. With the continued help from these donations, the future of childhood cancer looks more bright and promising.’

Student Projects
Ed, a PhD Civil Engineering and Geosciences student, with his project partner Lynsay, received support from the Student Initiative Fund:

‘The fund provided vital seed funding for the formation of Cinema Politica Newcastle, a local documentary screening group. Due to high start-up costs, this may not have otherwise been possible. By linking into the international Cinema Politica network, we have brought to Newcastle an engaging series of documentaries, few of which have been screened in the UK.

‘We have worked collaboratively with local groups, national and international organisations, with our speakers ranging from academics to activists. Documentaries in the last year have included topics such as fair trade coffee, fossil fuel divestment, feminism, and media censorship.’


published on: 17 August 2015