Kingston's Vice-Chancellor Julius Weinberg, welcomed our community to take part in Universities Week 2012:
"At Kingston we are proud of being part of a much wider community. We are deeply involved in the locality: from our support of the Rose Theatre, to our academic researchers working with local businesses and organisations; from our volunteering to our schools programme. During Universities Week we celebrate everything universities have to offer to the wider community, both locally and nationally."
Universities Week in 2012 ran from Monday 30 April – Monday 7 May 2012. It was a huge success, with more staff, students and community members involved than ever before. Here's a round-up of just some of the fabulous activities that took place in and around Kingston.
From a saxophone quartet to the Mozart Requiem, via electro-acoustic performances by students and staff, Kingston's Music Department kick-started this year's Universities Week with an extravaganza of more than 22 public events.
Led by Head of Collegiate Music Dr David Osbon, the musical programme kicked off in the Market Square with a live reconstruction of classic musical comedy The Commitments, and continued with a jazz festival featuring Kingston's Big Band alongside a host of big names, including Andy Gibson, the Mariska Barnett Trio and the Julie Dunn Trio; and a mid-week performance of 'The Armed Man' by the University chamber choir.
Alongside all this ran the Music Department's week-long Improvisation and Digital Arts Festival (IDAF) in the Market House, featuring live performances, workshops, seminars and installations by staff, students and professional artists.
Rain didn't quell the community open day at Kingston Hill on Wednesday 2 May, also held as part of Kingston's week-long Universities Week celebrations. The Business School's new atrium showcased an exhibition about bankruptcy and information about Kingston's new law clinics, which are available to give people free legal advice, and the School opened up its Bloomberg trading room for visitors to try their hand at ‘live' trading. The Sustainability Hub guided visitors along the nature trail and introduced them to Kingston's very busy bees and, for those with an interest, a tour was offered of the nursing labs, complete with medical dummies and fully kitted-out mock hospital ward.
...and despite the grey skies on Thursday, celebrations continued when we took over the Market Place in Kingston town centre. Staff and students manned the stalls and decorated gazeboes before local community and passers-by turned up, to help us put on a great show.
Our Capoeira student group performed throughout the afternoon and student cheerleaders proved a crowd pleaser with their aerial acrobatics and feats of flexibility. One happy bystander said: "I was just walking past, but I've been here for about 45 minutes watching the singing." Also on show was Charlie Law, a high-energy, second-year music student and singer songwriter, who performed a number of songs to a smiling audience.
John Hadjikyriacos, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering was back for the second year running, showcasing the people-pleasing robots and hydrogen-fuelled power. His stall was thrumming with visitors throughout the day: some had been enticed by the mechanical robot's impressive contortions; a group from Kingston College came with their tutor; others were interested in finding out more about studying engineering at Kingston. "This is what we do," John said. "It's all about getting students interested in engineering. Even the very little ones come along and get excited. Kids make their choices so young, we need to guide them now towards taking the right subjects."