A huge UGRE welcome to you! I’m Yosra, student lead of the Undergraduate Research Experience. In this, the first of a series of blog posts all about UGRE, I’ll be filling you in on the last couple of weeks of UGRE mayhem…
For those of you who don’t know, the UGRE is an academic conference about ‘research’ in the Faculty of Arts – with a difference. It is a conference where everyone – all the delegates, all the presenters, all the workshoppers, even all the organisers – are undergraduates. So if you’re reading this wondering what it’s like to attend (or present at) an academic conference, what it’s like to study other subjects in the Faculty, which degree gives you the best general knowledge, or how to get a first, you’ll be pleased to know that we’re making this event with you in mind! You’re very welcome to come: see us on Wednesday 7th March in the Riley Smith Hall.
The event was born last year when, on the 1st April 2011, a handful of us sat in the depths of the Hidden Café delivering hours and hours of excellent research-based presentations, workshops, panels, Q&A sessions, and photography exhibition to a small group of enthusiastic delegates. I say small, and I really mean small – but the important thing was that they stayed, all day, hanging on to every last word with ardent enthusiasm and really relishing the opportunity to celebrate their work. So I have made it my mission to deliver an event which is bigger and better than last year’s.
So, on Wednesday 25th January we held our first UGRE 2012 Team Meeting of the year, and it was fantastic. I was really, really pleased with the team. Everyone is constantly astounding me with their influx of ideas and working really hard, and I couldn’t have hoped to work with a nicer, better group of people. Everything is moving so fast, and it can be a challenge to balance the fast-paced thrill of working on the event with the intricacies of being a final year English student. But ever since that fateful afternoon, we’ve been having weekly meetings (with free tea, coffee and snacks in abundance), scribbling away at ideas and bringing together the various strands of managing the event.
(Just in case you’re wondering – I won’t be writing all the UGRE blog posts. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. Week by week, different members of the team will be taking up this position and keeping everyone updated about the stresses, trials and tribulations of putting together a big, student-led, Faculty-wide university event).
Tomorrow we are meeting again, and I am bringing homemade cake. There are so many exciting ideas to work with at the moment – we have just secured an art exhibition with the Collaborative Arts Soc, we’re recruiting students to be in UGRE’s Faculty heat of University Challenge, and as a group we’re going to start sewing a huge UGRE banner – all completely by hand out of recycled scraps of fabric. So before all that goes underway, goodnight and thanks for reading! I have a busy day ahead tomorrow, and had better restore my energy levels for our next meeting.