Shortly after posting about the importance of universities to adapt to online educational material, I noticed Leicester just announced their involvement in contributing to FutureLearn, which is another provider of free university level material, so it’ll be interesting to see how that develops.
With the start of the academic year fast approaching, many student-run societies are now planning events for the coming months. This year I’ll be continuing as academic officer for the Interdisciplinary Science Society, so here’s a little about what we do.
The society essentially brings all the years of the degree together (if the name is confusing see here), and anyone interested in more than one science, and has been getting more ambitious year on year, always striving to go beyond the standard drinking social! Over the last year we’ve had everything from games nights, bar crawls and a Christmas meal to laser tag, craft nights and trips to the fun fair.
Outside of socials we also raised money for a local school at Lake Bogoria in Kenya (which you can read more about here), where students can take an optional field course, designed I-science society hoodies, and helped introduce a buddy system, where current students are paired with those just starting to add further support to having a personal tutor. In the last case, one thing that has continually impressed me is how receptive the department has been in supporting the society in helping to introduce a lot of its ideas and publicising events. It really makes a difference when staff are actively backing what you’re trying to achieve.
My particular role in the society is the academic side. Leicester has a lot of interdisciplinary research, so I organise seminars by PhD students on their research both to increase dialogue between undergraduates and post graduates, and to show students the kind of areas where knowing how to talk across disciplines is an advantage. Last year we had talks on ecohydrology, cancer research, and the applications of space science to non-invasive medicine, and several have already (hopefully) been organised for the coming term. It can take quite a lot of time to find speakers, book rooms (trying to find a good time in the timetables of all four years..), advertise the events, buy refreshments (Jaffa Cakes are usually a reliable option) and actually run the events themselves, but it’s a really rewarding experience, and I’ve found PhD students are often very eager to present what they’ve been doing. The talks are free, open to everyone, and we’ve even had cases of people coming all the way from London to see them, which was a surprise!
This year the society’s aiming big, with larger social events including go karting and the first ever I-science ball. So hopefully you’ll soon see blog posts about the resounding success of these!
Any students starting at Leicester this October that want to know more can find us on Facebook, and obviously we’re just one of many societies. A full list of them can be found on the Union’s website. I particularly recommend AstRoSoc, who regularly use the university’s telescopes for observation nights, and do a lot of rocket building! The best time to sign up to all of these is during Freshers’ Fair, which takes place during the first two weeks of arriving at university.