Monthly Archives: April 2024

Sustainability Working Group sat on bench smiling with their Climate Action Award

Kent Stars: Climate Champions

This month’s Kent Stars are the Sustainability Working Group (SWG), who were recently awarded the Climate Action Award for their sustainability initiatives. These include climate café events, the plant-based loyalty card on campus and the Kent BioBlitz event. Hear from the Sustainability Working Group: 

“We are the Sustainability Working Group. We are a group working with staff and students across the university to make the University of Kent more sustainable through several projects and initiatives across 5 subgroups. We were formed in 2019, and our first achievement was to lead the School of Anthropology and Conservation to become the first academic school to declare a climate and ecological emergency! We have members from all over the university. Still, most subgroup leads come from the School of Anthropology and Conservation, with a mixture of students from Environmental Social Sciences, Wildlife Conservation and Human Geography.”   

Tell us about winning the Canterbury Climate Action Award.

“The Canterbury Climate Action Award is awarded to exceptional climate action initiatives in Canterbury, so winning in our category was an amazing recognition of all the work the SWG has done and continues to do. The reason for winning was due to the successful projects that have been initiated by SWG, notably the climate cafes, plant-based loyalty cards, and the University of Kent BioBlitz event Curious to see what BioBlitz is all about? Check out this video from our 2023 event.

Plant based loyalty cards

Our group entered the further/higher education category, and we were up against some amazing projects, so it was an honour to be chosen for the award. Chancellor Mel Dawkins presented the award to our student lead, Beccy, at the 2023 award ceremony as part of the Climate Action Festival. The festival and the awards ceremony are hosted by the Canterbury Climate Action Partnership (CCAP), a community interest company working closely with Canterbury councils and councillors from the different political parties to bring together like-minded interest groups to mobilise action towards a more sustainable future in Canterbury.  

The activities throughout the festival included family activities to promote sustainability, sustainable stalls, discussion roundtables with sustainability experts and inspirational talks. The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover closed the ceremony with an incredibly motivating speech. The whole event was an amazing opportunity to network and hear about the incredible work being done for climate action in Canterbury. The CCAP even expressed interest in attending one of our Climate Cafes as they would like to take and develop this initiative to host them for Canterbury residents! 

Sustainability Working Group receiving their Climate Action Award

Winning the award has been very motivational for the group. Some of the projects we work on can be tough to implement within such a large establishment like a university, which can sometimes be disheartening. However, recognising our work shows that we are working towards a sustainable future and will continue motivating us!” 

What advice would you give to other students?  

“There is so much support and passion out there for sustainable initiatives, so if you want to implement something within your school or want to join the fight for a more sustainable university, then you can make a difference by getting the ball rolling. If you need support, please reach out to us on Instagram, and we may be able to help with advice or contacts!  

It can be a scary time, with high experiences of anxiety about the state of the environment. Just know that you are not alone in this feeling – in fact we host climate cafes specifically to bring people together so we can support each other through these complex emotions. We can’t single-handedly solve the world’s sustainability problems, but we certainly can have an impact.” 

Sustainability Working Group stood smiling with their Climate Action Award

What are your plans for the next year?  

“We have excitingly just become a society! Therefore, our main plans for the next year are to establish the society, gain members and host fun, sustainability-based socials for the rest of the academic year!  

Alongside this, we continue to progress in the projects from the subgroups. For example, our greenspaces subgroup will map the habitats on campus for the Sustainability team to use as their Biodiversity Action Plan strategy for 2025. Our wellbeing subgroup continues its monthly climate cafes where students can come together in a safe space to talk about feelings of eco-anxiety. We hope to see some of you as members soon!” 

Do you know an inspirational student or student group? Let us know. 

Learn more about the Kent Stars campaign. 

 

Upcoming Moodle Outage on 25 April

Moodle will be undergoing scheduled maintenance on Thursday 25 April from 07:00 – 17:00, and will be unavailable during this time. Although inconvenient, this maintenance is essential to ensure a high-quality virtual learning environment and cannot be rescheduled. Therefore, we kindly request you to download any materials you might need for that day in advance from your Moodle modules.

Lecture Recordings Access: Although Moodle will be unavailable, you can still access all your lecture recordings directly via Kent Player. We encourage you to use this resource to catch up on or review past lectures.

Service is expected to resume fully by 17:00 on 25 April. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes. Please contact IT & Library Support for support and advice regarding this Moodle outage.

Contact IT & Library Support

 

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Are you a Masters student? Have your say

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is an opportunity for Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students to provide feedback on their academic experiences at Kent.

What is it?

PTES is a national survey coordinated by Advance HE, the national body for improving teaching and learning in universities.

It is an opportunity for Masters students to let us know about their experiences so far. PTES is the only national survey of Masters-level students, so it helps build an understanding of experiences across the country too.

When is it?

PTES 2024 will open from Monday 4 March 2024, and you will have until Tuesday 30 April 2024 to complete the survey.

Please check your University of Kent email for your own survey link.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. However, we do recommend you take the time to consider your answers and reflect on your whole experience at Kent.

Why should I take part?

This is your chance to tell us your thoughts about your course and experience. The results from the PTES will help us make changes that will improve what we do in the future and to keep doing the things that are important to taught students. It will also help us compare how we are doing against other institutions and what themes are trending nationally.

Top tips to help you complete your survey 

  • Check your Kent email for your own survey link
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to complete the survey
  • You can save your survey and return to it at a later time. Make sure you complete the survey before 23:59 on Tuesday 30 April
  • If you are unsure about the meaning of a specific question, save your questionnaire and seek help
  • If a question does not apply to you, then please leave blank or mark as ‘Not applicable’
  • Where the term “course” or “programme” is used in the questionnaire, this refers to your whole programme of study at Kent
  • All answers are anonymous, therefore please do not identify yourself or other individuals (including staff)

 

More information about the PTES is available on the Advance HE website.

uni student? 10 £1,000 cash prizes to be won

Springtime savings: win £1,000 in this new student prize draw

We’re delighted to announce that our partner, Santander Universities has launched their latest student prize draw. Open to all UK uni students, you have a chance to win 1 of 10 lots of £1,000.

We’ve now promoted many prize draws and grants delivered in collaboration with Santander Universities. Many of our students have benefitted greatly from these. Here’s one story from Kent student and Santander Scholar Abi.

You can enter in minutes by following these 3 easy steps:
1) Register for Santander Open Academy – a free online learning platform (if you haven’t already)
2) Tap on the verification link in your confirmation email
3) Log on and choose ‘Get Started’ to complete your entry into the Santander Universities £10k Cash Prize Draw.

Entries close at 23:00 on 25 April 2024.

All UK university students can enter, including undergraduates, postgraduates, part-time and full-time students. You also don’t need to bank with Santander to get involved. So be sure to share with your friends, coursemates and anyone else who could benefit from this opportunity.

Enter by 23:00 on 25 April 2024 for your chance to win!

Enter Now

Binoculars and map

BioBlitz 2024, 18 May

Join us as we race against the clock on campus to document as many species as possible and attempt to beat last years record.

BioBlitz is an interactive, participatory, one-day event bringing together families, school groups, and local community members to engage in nature-based learning with University of Kent students, scientists, and local wildlife experts (e.g. Kent Wildlife Trust; Butterfly Conservation; Kent Moth Group). Hosted by the School of Anthropology and Conservation’s Sustainability Working Group and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), the aim of the event is to record as many species of wildlife as possible on campus.

But BioBlitz is more than just a scientific survey; it’s a celebration of life in all its forms. As we race against the clock to uncover and document as many species as possible within the University of Kent campus, we’ll be uncovering the secrets of our natural world and gaining invaluable insights into the intricate web of life.

Whether you’re a seasoned nature enthusiast or simply curious about the wonders of the outdoors, there’s something for everyone at BioBlitz 2024. From thrilling nature detective trails to enchanting pond dipping adventures, and engaging species surveys, there’s no shortage of excitement and learning opportunities. During BioBlitz 2023, we recorded 322 species on campus, so that is the target to beat this year. Come join us this year to help us record 323 species!

Bioblitz Saturday 18 May 8:00-20:00

Meet us at the Coyler-Fergusson Hall, on the University of Kent in Canterbury on Saturday 18 May where you can connect with like-minded individuals, explore interactive stalls hosted by our esteemed partnership organizations, and deepen your understanding of conservation efforts.

Curious to see what BioBlitz is all about? Check out this video from our 2023 event.

Follow Kent Bio Blitz on Instagram and Twitter.

Register and be part of an unforgettable experience that celebrates the beauty and diversity of life in our part of this planet. 

Update on Kent’s Vice-Chancellor

This morning our Vice-Chancellor and President Prof Karen Cox has announced she will be stepping down after seven years in the role. Karen will be with us until the end of May with a recruitment process underway to find and appoint Kent’s next Vice-Chancellor. In the meantime, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Performance, Prof Georgina Randsley de Moura, will serve as Acting Vice-Chancellor. 

What will happen next 

The University’s Council and Senate oversee recruitment and appointment of the Vice-Chancellor. They will be working with the University’s HR team to identify potential candidates to be our next VC ahead of a full interview process. This is expected to continue into the summer. 

What does this mean for you 

 

Our Executive Group will continue to handle the day-to-day running of the University until the new appointment is made, with Georgina responsible for any formal decisions that would normally be taken by the Vice-Chancellor. This means in practice there will be no change to your usual studies or activity at the University and the remainder of the year will carry on as normal. 

“It’s been an absolute privilege to serve as Kent’s Vice-Chancellor and so much of what makes the role special is down to you, our students. Hearing about your remarkable achievements has always been the highlight of the role, along with having the honour of seeing so many Kent students graduate and go on to make the world a better place. I look forward to continuing to celebrate your successes as Kent begins its next chapter under new leadership, with a continued focus on ensuring we shape everything we do around the needs of our students.” 

Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President

Worldfest pizza making

WorldFest cookery workshops a delicious success

This year’s WorldFest celebrations were a delicious success, thanks in part to a series of free student cookery workshops.

These workshops offered students the chance to learn new skills, celebrate cultural diversity, and of course, have some fun!

Led by Kent’s experienced Chef de Cuisine, Ben Elsbury, and Darwin chef, Nick Constantinou, the workshops covered the art of pizza making and the ever-popular Japanese dish, katsu curry. Due to high demand, a second katsu curry workshop was added to the schedule!

Students from all corners of the world, including Asia and Africa, came together in Darwin Kitchen, a real-working kitchen on campus. Here, they learned the secrets of fresh pizza dough, panko breadcrumbs, and the perfect rice accompaniment to katsu curry.

Making pizza dough

But the benefits went beyond just the food. As Ben Elsbury himself says, “It’s key for young adults to learn essential cooking skills… But overall, I really do enjoy spending time with the students, it’s always an enlightening and entertaining experience.”

The sentiment was echoed by a student attendee who praised the personalised attention and friendly atmosphere. They commented, “It was very personalised… Everything ran smoothly… Thank you to WorldFest for providing us with events that help us connect and bond with people in a fun way!”

Making pizza topping

Emma Marku, the brain behind the initiative and Global Opportunities Manager for GEO Internationalisation, highlighted the significance of food in uniting communities. “WorldFest provides an opportunity to celebrate our culturally diverse communities here on campus… Cooking together provides the opportunity to ask questions and appreciate how one dish can be cooked differently by different cultural communities. Ahead of the katsu curry workshops, our Japanese Language Tutor also provided a talk on the relationship between food and culture. Students have requested that we repeat the experience with Nigerian or Somalian cuisine. That would be something great to do!”

WorldFest is the University of Kent’s annual celebration of cultural diversity. This year, celebrations took place from 4 – 15 March 2024. WorldFest aims to showcase the cultural diversity, talents, and knowledge of Kent’s students and staff. The festival continues to serve as a platform for creating lasting memories through engaging activities like these cookery classes.

Student showing their WorldFest creations

two students laughing in front of laptop

New for 2024/25: an easier way to log your attendance

Starting in September 2024, all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students (excluding KMMS students) can enjoy the new attendance system – Presto Student.

What is Presto Student?

✨ Presto Student is the new system you will use to log your attendance at class from September 2024.

📱 Presto Student makes it easier for you to self-register attendance or absence on any device using single sign on (SSO).

📅 Like Moodle, it uses a 6-digit or QR code and provides an easy-to-navigate timetable and dashboard to view your attendance for the term.

👉🏽 It’s all about providing the right support and intervention to students who need it, ensuring that everyone has a chance to succeed.

📣 Throughout the 2024/ 25 academic year, more functionality will be added to make sure Kent students have the best possible experience.

❔ If you have any questions or feedback on Presto Student, you can email attendance@kent.ac.uk

Events roundup: 2-7 April

It’s the last week of the undergraduate Spring term! Find out what’s on this week including events to help you prepare for exams, an open lecture about the American election and the Neuro-Insurgence Open Mic Night.

Tuesday 2 April: Coffee with a Security Officer, CVs and Cover Letters (Medway) and learn more about a Master’s in Business

Come and chat with one of our friendly Campus Security Officers to talk all things security at Kent, from the SafeZone app, Campus Security’s role, advice and more. A cup of coffee or tea is on us while we chat – supplied by the Gulbenkian Café team, free of charge!

Find out the essentials of CVs and Cover Letters including trends, hints and tips at this workshop in Pilkington building.

Are you an undergraduate considering staying on for a Master’s and moving into Business? You don’t need to be a current Business student or have a degree in these areas to study some of our Master’s programmes. Come along to Nexus between 12:00-16:00 to find out more.

Wednesday 3 April: Exam preparation and American election open lecture

Even if you have good essay writing skills, it can be a challenge to keep on point, maintain clarity and finish the task under timed conditions. Join an essay writing in exams workshop at Canterbury or Medway on Wednesday afternoon to learn useful tactics for writing efficiently and effectively in in-course tests and exams. There’s also an exam room experience event in the Sports Centre so you explore your own stress response and learn techniques with how to deal with them.

On Wednesday evening, you can join a open lecture on the forthcoming American election: “Does President Biden have any Aces he can play or will he be Trumped in the end?” in Keynes lecture theatre 1.

Thursday 4 April: Workshops for non essay-based exams and Neuro-Insurance Open Mic Night

Find out how to take Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Short Answer Questions (SAQs) at these workshops for non-essay based exams in Canterbury, Medway and online.

Join the Accessibility Network and the Stand-Up Comedy Society for an evening of spoken word and comedy at the Neuro-Insurgence Open Mic Night. Hosted by local comedian Adam Dorr and with a variety of acts, the event promises a night of laughter, connection and solidarity amongst neurodivergent students and allies.

Friday 5 April: LGBTQIA+ Coffee Morning and Kent Community Oasis Garden volunteering

On Friday you can join the LGBTQIA+ Student Voices Coffee Morning, which is celebrating International Asexuality Day over hot drinks and sweet treats. LGBTQIA+ Student Voices is a student-led project aiming to understand and improve experiences for LGBTQIA+ people at Kent.

Consider volunteering at the Kent Community Oasis Garden near Park Wood on Friday between 10:00-14:00. It’s a collection of students, staff and community members working to create a sustainability hub centred around growing food. Everyone is welcome at Kent Community Oasis Garden, whether you’re an expert gardener, a complete beginner, or just coming along for a chat.

Opportunities and reminders

  • There will be some changes to service and facility opening times over the Spring vacation.
  • The Hub offer a range of free classes with Medway Move. Current activities include Social Badminton, Tai Chi, Strong Nation, Yoga and more.
  • The Transport Team have created a Campus Travel Updates page to help you plan your journey with information about planned travel disruptions that they have been made aware of.