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Alumni Day of Action 2020

Alumni Day of Action goes online

Published on: 3 August 2020

An environmentally-focussed day of events has been announced for Newcastle University’s first-ever digital Alumni Day of Action and Convocation.

Taking place on Saturday, 10 October 2020, Alumni Day of Action and Convocation will be packed with a range of online activities for the University’s 220,000 graduates around the world.

Themed ‘One Planet – Climate Change and Environmental Resilience’, the programme includes digital talks, live lectures and a panel Q&A. The focus of this year’s event builds on Newcastle University’s commitment to climate change action by joining a number of organisations in the UK and all over the world in 2019 to declare a climate emergency.

Lauren Huntington, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations, Newcastle University, said: “For 2020 and beyond, we are introducing a new concept for our annual Alumni Reunion Weekend – the Newcastle University Alumni Day of Action.

“The aim of the event is to bring our alumni community together in support of vital challenges facing our global community. Over the next five years, the event will focus on other key societal themes including: Ageing and Health, Data, Culture and Creative Arts, and Cities and Place. In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has shown the positive impact of less travel, and the freedom to accelerate innovation. We would like to continue this positive trajectory and bring together the Newcastle University community to help further this critical global issue.”

Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, added: “I’d like to welcome our graduates to our Alumni Day of Action and I hope they are excited about the new format and feel that it enables a truly global and inclusive conversation.

“Our focus is the climate emergency and I’m really proud of the work that Newcastle University is doing to address climate action, though our research, teaching, student activism and the amazing work of our sustainability team. I am delighted that the Alumni Day of Action will enable our graduates to hear about this work.

“Of course there is a lot more to do. Behind Covid-19 sits the huge global challenge of climate action and part of our recovery will be to bring the two together and to make positive change.”

Alumni Day of Action welcome with Professor Julie Sanders
What is the Alumni Day of Action? - Sophie McDermott, Chair of Convocation

A day of positive climate action.

Alumni Day of Action starts with The Big Newcastle Quiz, which will put alumni knowledge of Newcastle and the University to the test.

Also taking place on the day is the NCL Professional Network: Early Careers in Sustainability Brunch, a live panel event with Q&A to reignite the spark of our NCL Professional Network event series.

It is followed by “20 Poems for the Planet”, an alumni poetry recital, hosted by Linda France, Climate Writer in Residence at Newcastle University and New Writing North.  

Former students can join Chair of Convocation, Sophie McDermott for the 63rd Meeting of Convocation. Convocation is a statutory body that gives graduates the opportunity to input into the University’s challenges and successes.

Professor David W Graham will deliver a lecture at 3.30pm, entitled ‘Fighting the next pandemic: Water quality, antimicrobial resistance and global health’. This lecture will discuss links between water quality and resistant infectious disease – which could potentially lead to the next pandemic.

Following the lecture, Sophie McDermott will moderate a panel discussion, entitled: Addressing climate change: what’s the way forward? Panellists include: Professor Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems, Newcastle University, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Transport; Dr Katharine Rietig, Lecturer in International Politics, Newcastle University; Madeleine Rawlins, Principal Consultant, Mott MacDonald  and Dr Marcus Richards, Executive Advisor, Boston Consulting Group.

Graduates will have a chance to warm up for Alumni Day of Action with a programme of pre-event activities, including the four campus challenge, recycle competition, and many others. Find out how you can get involved at:


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