Monday, 7 October 2013

Everyone's a winner

So, it's October already and the start of a new term; the freshers look even younger and I feel even older! 

As we hand the bedrooms back to the accommodation offices, we're reflecting on another crazy summer and how sometimes, let's be honest, it is a challenge to connect the academic community with the world of 'external events'.

We're not bad at advocating the benefits of academic venues to clients, but I do wonder if we are guilty of not communicating the genuine benefits, financial and otherwise of these events to our internal audiences, Fellows, students, researchers etc. 

Richard Partington, Senior Tutor, Churchill College comments:

"Conferences are fundamental to Cambridge's academic well-being. Teaching and student support cost significantly more to run than is available to us through student fees. So I say to our students, 'Every conference guest you see is paying for your education.' Plus it is interesting for us to interact with the outside world in our own environment."

In addition to the financial contribution this business makes to the primary academic and research focus of the University, these events keep our venues alive out of term, allowing for permanent staffing; they mean that staff receive training in hospitality and customer service, (now also demanded by paying students); the audio visual equipment is usually the latest available and catering is of an extraordinary standard; plus the invaluable recognition that individuals, departments and the wider University can gain from hosting events.

The Cambridge Amabassador Programme supports academics who are interested in hosting events in their particular subject area and this brings unprecedented rewards

Alongside the fact that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of having staged a successful event, it can help to elevate personal profiles in the spheres of professional peers; it can gain international recognition for research or a department; it can highlight individuals or departments as leaders in a particular field and can create opportunities for collaboration between departments and Cambridge-based businesses.

As well as a financial boost for the venues, international events particularly, provide a great boost the wider Cambridge economy.


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