An Invite to our Virtual Conference!

Dear all

Firstly, I hope this email finds you safe and well.

As Chair of the UK Town and Gown Association (UKTGA), I am writing to let you know that myself and the UKTGA Steering Group have taken to decision to postpone our November 2020 Conference. This will now be held November 8th – 10th 2021 and will still be hosted at the University of Birmingham. Despite this being a difficult decision, we felt it was the right approach under the circumstances.

In the interim, we recognise the importance of continued collaboration. I therefore wanted to take the opportunity to invite you to participate in an online discussion to consider the current issues and challenges being faced during CV-19, as well as identifying opportunities for new ways of working that are emerging to manage town gown issues in this current environment.

The virtual forum will take place on Wednesday 20th May between 2-4pm GMT.

Here’s a short message from me, explaining in more detail:

https://youtu.be/9xHf_ddbQ1Y

 If you are interested in taking part, please email Poppy on poppy.humphrey@manchester.ac.uk by close of play Monday 11th May 2020.

We hope that you can join us.

 

Best wishes and stay safe

 

Cooper Healey

UKTGA Chair


The Impact of COVID19 on University towns and cities

Our good friend and exceptional colleague Steven Gavazzi has wrote about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on American Colleges' cities and towns.

 

Until recently, college towns were thought to have a distinct economic advantage over municipalities that did not host an institution of higher learning. Colleges and universities were touted as “anchor institutions,” a term indicating their long-term investment in the communities they served. With the COVID-19 pandemic, however, these same towns now face very real economic peril. Students have been sent back to their homes to reduce the spread of the virus. Gone with them is the purchasing power they had poured into the local economy.

So far, significant government attention has been paid to the current fiscal difficulties faced by our nation’s colleges and universities. Most importantly, this includes $14 billion in aid from Congress to institutions of higher learning (half of which must be used for emergency student financial aid) embedded in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act (an acronym that stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security). While state and local governments also stand to benefit from CARES Act money through a $150 billion fund, there is nothing in the congressional action that addresses the specialized needs of college towns.

Chief among the unique aspects of the college town is the back and forth movement of students and how those population swings impact the local economy. When students arrive on campus in the fall, businesses thrive. Apartments are rented, back to school supplies are purchased, etc. Once students settle in, they frequent coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and various entertainment venues surrounding campus. Home football games and other large social events hosted by universities add to the mix. Food and beverages are bought in copious quantities by participants in the revelry. Hotel rooms fill, collegiate merchandise is snapped up, and gas tanks are filled, among other purchases made by these weekend visitors.

When the academic year is over in the spring, students graduate or go back to their hometowns for the summer. Sports seasons are completed, and other campus events wind down. Hence, the college town population contracts for several months, and the economy slows to a trickle of its former self. In a normal year, this downturn is relatively brief, and it can be anticipated by local businesses. Now, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy to an almost immediate and complete standstill, and many months earlier than had been anticipated.

Alarm bells are beginning to ring among various individuals and organizations familiar with the plight of college towns. For example, a recent webinar on this topic was organized by the International Town-Gown Association with the title “College Towns in Crisis.” Attended by campus and community representatives from across the country – including mayors, city managers, town council members, and university staff members – it proved to be an interesting conversation, to say the least.


UKTGA Conference Update

From us all here at UKTGA we hope that all our friends, followers and colleagues are keeping safe under the current effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It is under these circumstances that we have seen no other safe and logical decision other to postpone our UKTGA 2020 Conference until next year.

UKTGA 2021 will now take place November 8th – 10th 2021 and will still be held at the University of Birmingham.

We would like the thank the University of Birmingham for extending their hospitality until next year, where we will be back bigger and better than ever.

Your UKTGA Steering Group are busy working behind the scenes to consider new learning opportunities in these challenging times to support all our members. We will provide updates in due course.

In the meantime, please feel free to utilise our UKTGA Jisc network to meet likeminded individuals and share ideas and best practice on any issue relating to town gown relations. If you haven’t already signed up, please contact poppy.humphrey@manchester.ac.uk

 

With very best wishes,

The UK Town & Gown Association.


The NSBO Network

The Nordic Association for Student Housing was established in 1975 and is a co-operation between Nordic student housing companies. The main purpose of NSBO is sharing knowledge about student housing in the Nordic countries. It’s a meeting place for inspiration of planning, construction and maintenance of student housing and serving the students living in them. Members include Universities, University Students Unions and private providers.

The NSBO hosted a webinar on 3rd April, which brought together representatives from the UK, USA, Netherlands, Lithuania, Finland and Norway, to share knowledge and exchange best practice on the current CV-19 situation within the student housing context.

The webinar was an opportunity to share best global practices, horizon scanning and feeling connected amongst the Covid-19 outbreak before breaking into breakout sessions to discuss issues more intimately.

The NSBO network is open for anyone with an interest in student housing from a Nordic perspective. As part of the network you receive our newsletter twice a year, new reports and invitations to our events. The conferences and meeting places organized by NSBO creates personal contacts between colleagues from the different countries and companies. These contacts have often led to further meetings, study visits, new knowledge and experiences.

What was apparent from discussions, and the pre webinar survey completed, was that there were shared issues and concerns emanating from each of the different countries represented. These included vacancies, financial implications, practical ways to locate students to ensure ongoing support, and the rise in mental health related issues.

The UKTGA will continue to work with colleagues from the NSBO as well as other organisations, to ensure that we continue to provide you with up-to-date information within a national and global context on town gown relations.

The NSBO network is open for anyone with an interest in student housing from a Nordic perspective. As part of the network you receive our newsletter twice a year, new reports and invitations to our events. The conferences and meeting places organized by NSBO creates personal contacts between colleagues from the different countries and companies. These contacts have often led to further meetings, study visits, new knowledge and experiences.

Network benefits

  • Invitation to all their events
  • Contact access to student housing operators all over the Nordic countries
  • NSBO Newsletter (twice a year)
  • Reports and statistics

 

Join the NSBO network here:

Join the NBSO network by register your contact information below. If you have any questions, regarding the network or the Nordic student housing market, don’t hesitate to contact.

REGISTER HERE 


Town & Gown: Issues, Trends, Collaborations and Ideas for Today’s College Town

Enjoy and follow this Flipboard® online magazine, “Town & Gown: Issues, Trends, Collaborations and Ideas for Today’s College Town” – a roundup of news and information from across the US, UK and elsewhere that is for and about college towns (https://flipboard.com/@marcwhitt/town-gown-issues-trends-collaborations-ideas-for-today-s-college-town-57sepl4ay).  This free resource is edited by Marc Whitt (marc.whitt@uky.edu), Director of Media & Strategic Relations at the University of Kentucky’s Office of Public Relations and Strategic Communications. Marc also serves as a part-time instructor in UK’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communication and is a former member of the International Town & Gown Association Board of Directors. His first book, PR Lessons Learned Along the Way: Strategies, Tips & Advice for the Higher Ed and Nonprofit Public Relations Professional (Cherrymoon Media), is set for release in June 2020. Marc invites you to connect with him on Twitter (@marcwhitt) or LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/marcwhitt).


Exeter's Glass Caddy Scheme

Exeter University's Student Community Wardens have been delivering the termly 'Glass Caddy Scheme' for over five years and, due to increasing demand, we are pleased that we are now trialling the scheme as a monthly service.

The Glass Caddy Scheme simply involves collecting glass from multiple student properties who do not have access to a vehicle, and delivering the glass to the closest bottle bank. This scheme was initially developed with our Students' Guild in response to the fact that Exeter does not provide doorstep glass collections. Glass was sometimes being placed in grey waste and many students without cars struggled to transport the glass to glass banks.

The service is strictly offered to students without access to a vehicle. They also use the scheme to highlight the benefits of not taking a car to the city.

Using one collection vehicle to collate multiple glass donations into one glass bank 'visit', also reduces Exeter's carbon footprint.

The surge in demand for the service has led to a monthly trial of the scheme.

We are pleased to see that this recycling trend also coincides with a significant spike in student donations of unwanted goods to charities like The British Heart Foundation for their 'Give It Don't Bin It' campaign. Increased awareness of the recycle/reuse message has been very positive and we hope to build on this success with other projects.


JAM at Queen’s awarded Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation funding to “unlock hidden talent"

Queen’s Junior Music Academy (JAM) has been successful in the latest round of funding by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, one of Britain’s leading charities supporting the arts and music.

The Foundation has awarded £14,760 to JAM at Queen’s to fund bursaries over the next three years for a new Strings programme. Additional funding has been provided by the Music for All programme to purchase new string instruments.

A total of £225,405 has been given to arts and heritage projects in Northern Ireland, Scotland and throughout England, aimed at breaking down barriers to participation in the arts. The Foundation has prioritised projects that engage young people and individuals from hard-to-reach and minority backgrounds.

 

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was set up by Lord Lloyd Webber in 1992 to promote the arts, culture and heritage for the public benefit; since inception Andrew has been the principal provider of funding for all its charitable activities.

Since 2011, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has given £20.5 million in grants and performing arts scholarships, positively affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the UK and beyond. In 2018 alone, it provided financial backing and sustainability to 111 projects, totalling over £3.1 million.

To read the full article, click here.


Poppy Humphrey: the secrets of off-campus living

Poppy Humphrey was appointed off-campus student affairs officer at Manchester Student Homes, a jointly funded department of the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013. She is currently the only internationally-recognised off-campus practitioner in the UK.

At our 2018 biannual Conference held in Belfast, student communications specialists Campuslife proposed an initiative where a member of their team went back to live with a group of students in halls to find out what students really wanted from their accommodation providers. In this instance, it just made perfect sense for our off campus student affairs officer to submerse herself in living with students in an off campus environment!

And thus born was ‘The Secret Life of Students’ a series of short YouTube films designed to educate students about what to expect about life off campus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRAW_KMToLQ&feature=emb_title

To read the full article featured on University Business, click here.


Exeter Boosts BHF Donations

A recent Impact Report from the British Heart Foundation has confirmed that University of Exeter Students have contributed significantly to charitable donations for the 2019 period.

Not only did students contribute to a record surge in charity shop donations, but the total value of bags donated in the 2019 period was £54,600, compared to £4788 the previous year.

BHF have calculated that these donations are equivalent to 31.2 Tons of items being diverted from the waste stream – this equates to 317,522 kgs of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions

This significant increase is very encouraging and demonstrates a growing environmental awareness from students seeking to re-purpose re-usable items.

“A lot of additional work was carried out by the University’s Community Liaison Team to ensure that Students departing the city in the Summer had access to donation bags and drop-off points. Work has already begun on planning for this year’s scheme and we hope to see a further increase in donations”

Rory Cunningham, Community Liaison Manager

 

For more information regarding the British heart Foundations campaigns, visit their website: https://www.bhf.org.uk/ 


Queen's and City Council Launch Belfast Climate Commission

Queen’s University Belfast and Belfast City Council have launched the Belfast Climate Commission, to drive action on the climate crisis.

The Commission will play a key role in place-based climate action necessary to achieve the UK Government’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.

Co-chaired by Queen’s University and Belfast City Council, the Commission is one of three city-based climate commissions across the UK (Belfast, Edinburgh and Leeds), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council for the Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN). Working alongside existing city structures and programmes, the Commission has been established to translate climate policy into action ‘on the ground’ to bring about transformative change.

The Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) was introduced at an event recently held at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. The network will establish Commissions in Belfast and Edinburgh, and will extend the Leeds Climate Commission, which was the first to be established in 2017. The Commissions will help the local delivery of the UK’s climate change objectives by supporting action in cities through a partnership made up of the private, public and civic sectors.

For a more in-depth analysis of the Climate Commission, please refer to Belfast City Council website or Queen's University website.

For more information on the PCAN network, please visit: https://www.cccep.ac.uk/place-based-climate-action-network-p-can/

For further information about the Belfast Energy Transition and Climate Resilience Commission, please contact Professor John Barry at j.barry@qub.ac.uk and follow @PCANcities on Twitter.