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Life Online email

Art and Design puts on show Page 7

april 2013

Enactus team reaches national final

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University Campus Milton Keynes is born! Page 5

Students sparkle at Luton Sports Awards Page 10



John Bercow MP to present guest lecture T

HE second in a series of Vice Chancellor’s Public Policy Lectures takes place on Thursday, 9 May in the G101 lecture theatre, Luton Campus Centre at 5pm-7pm. The event, chaired by Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell, will feature special guest the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons. Mr Bercow will talk on ‘Parliamentary Reform’. John Bercow was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in 2009, and in the last three years he has significantly changed the way Parliament works. He has helped to secure enhanced scrutiny of policy

and decision making, greater transparency, more opportunities for Backbench MPs and Select Committees, a focus on diversity and inclusion in Parliament, and measures to instil a culture in which the Legislature “and not just the Executive” sets the agenda. But there is still work to do. In his lecture, Mr Bercow will explain what has been achieved so far, and what still needs to be done. l The ticket-only, free lecture is open to all students and staff. If you would like a ticket please email or phone 01582 489701.

Thousands turn out for Higher Education Fair


HE Petit Gym at the University’s Bedford campus was transformed into a bustling exhibition hall last month as thousands of prospective students arrived for the annual Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Higher Education (HE) Fair. More than 3,000 people attended over two days to find out about what options to take next. The event featured stalls from 80 institutions, with workshops on student life and finances, as well as taster lectures. Jenai Henry, from Sharnbrook Upper School in Bedford, who wants to study fashion buying, was one of the many enthusiastic young people enjoying the day.

CommuniCations team ContaCts

Rose Taylor Head of Communications & Events Kevin Cunningham Communications Officer

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Simon Wesson Communications Assistant Caroline Jacobi Communications Administrator

Photographers James Linsell-Clark David Stubbs

“For me it has been great,” said the 16-year-old. “When you search online it’s hard to get a feel of what exactly is on offer. It’s been really nice to actually speak to people about subjects. Everyone has been really helpful in handing me their prospectus to read and explaining in a bit more detail.” Pete Smillie, Head of Student Recruitment at the University, was delighted with the event and the “brilliant turnout, despite the cold weather”. “There was a great atmosphere among the prospective students coming to us to find out more about the courses on offer. And our seminar sessions were well attended and well received,” he said.

Do you have a news story? Please contact the Comms team.



the university is leading innovative research into how plants adapt to harsh climates. Caroline Jacobi reports

Desert plant’s genome sequenced T

HE genetic map of the desert broomrape has been sequenced by the University’s researchers. The sequencing of Cistanche deserticola was carried out with partners from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the study looks at how the parasitic plant survives in the arid deserts of Inner Mongolia and its relationship with the host plant it lives off. From studying the plant’s complete chloroplast genome, the research discovered that one gene has been acquired by horizontal gene transfer (the parasite extracted the gene from the host plan through its roots), a rare occurrence in nature. It means the parasite not only gets water and minerals from its host but also useful genetic information from a plant which is adapted to a desert environment – helping the parasite adapt to the harsh climate.

The genetic information can be passed down to the next generation, improving the chances of the species’ survival. Professor James Crabbe, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science, who worked on the research said: “This is an exciting area of research, looking into how plants cope with the changing environment. It is also important because the desert broomrape is one of the few parasitic

Students join million+ anniversary celebrations at The House


eVeN lucky students were invited to celebrate the 21st anniversary of post-92 universities at the houses of Parliament. The students, who joined their counterparts from other universities across the country for a reception celebrating the success and development of former polytechnic universities, were also given a private tour of the houses of Parliament by Baroness howells, the Chancellor of the University, and attended a session at the house of Lords. MSc Finance and Business Management student, Yasir abbasi said: “The trip was an interesting opportunity for networking with people. getting to talk to local Luton North MP Kelvin hopkins and Baroness howells was exciting and informative.”

Ma International Journalism student, Michael hann said: “It is not every day you get commoners in the house of Lords but that was certainly the case

Storytelling show is up for award a LeCTUReR’S stand-up storytelling show has been nominated for a culture award. The Price of everything, written and performed by Lecturer in Theatre Dr Daniel Bye, is one of three shows shortlisted for the Performance of the Year category of The Journal Culture awards 2012. The show, which equates the value of everything to glasses of milk, was shown at the University of Bedfordshire Theatre in Bedford earlier this year. Daniel said: “I’m really thrilled by the nomination – it was honestly a total surprise. To be nominated alongside work by major companies like Northern Stage and Ballet Lorent has just completely knocked me over.” The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Durham Cathedral on Monday, 22 april.

“This study links in with our own work here at the University and increases our links with China.” Introducing ‘NEO chloroplast genomes to have been sequenced. “This study links in with our own environmental work here at the University and increases our links with China, which is one of our major partners. We are also developing exciting new collaborative research with China.” l The study can be viewed here: info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal. pone.0058747

thanks to Baroness howells, who gave us an insightful tour around one of Britain’s most iconic buildings. “We were lucky enough to see a Bill being passed and even go into rooms where usually only Lords are allowed. It was a fascinating day and one that will live long in the memory.”

Market’ to Luton and Bedford


he Luton and Bedford campuses have a new caterer – aramark. You may have already spotted the new NeO Market signs at both campuses. earlier this year aramark won the catering contract, which was previously held by Sodexo. aramark’s group Manager Steve essam, said: “We are excited to be launching our services at Bedfordshire. During the easter break the refectories and coffee bars at Luton and Bedford were totally refurbished. “Our passion is to deliver fresh food at the best possible value. We have launched an improved offer, consisting of a grab and go deli, more authentic dishes cooked fresh for customers, additional healthy choices along with meal deals. “We will also be extending our opening times so you can enjoy the catering facilities more often.” at Luton, the Park Square Foyer will continue to serve Costa coffee, as well as at the new Postgraduate Centre – both offering a wider food range.

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“There will be more jobs for new graduates in 2013” The latest high Fliers Research* study suggests that employers plan to hire some 18,306 graduates in 2013 – 2.7 per cent more than last year. The report also warns that graduates without work experience will struggle to get jobs, no matter how good their grades. The rewards of work experience have been highlighted by BSc Robotics graduate animesh Chowdhury who, as a student, was helped by the University’s Careers & Recruitment Service to secure a work placement with Lutonbased electrical engineers and contractors Instalec. animesh said his placement provided the opportunity for industry related experience and to “get myself ahead of the crowd when it comes to starting a career”. he is now co-founder and project manager at Luton based Fourth Monkey, which specialises in web design and website optimisation for small and medium sized businesses. The Careers & Recruitment Service has dedicated recruitment team which places students and graduates with companies across the region. Opportunities range from part-time or full-time employment to placements and internships. help with CVs and applications is also available. Staff are available at both the Luton and Bedford campuses. l You can call into their office on the Ground Floor of the Luton Campus Centre or the Learning Hub at Bedford. Or visit: *

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Bedfordshire’s Enactus team reaches national final a project which has helped pensioners to reduce their shopping bills and college students to find work has propelled a team of undergraduates to the national final of a student enterprise competition.


NTERPRISING and community-minded students competed alongside UK universities to reach the Enactus national final, which will be held later this month. Enactus – formally known as Students In Free Enterprise – is a group of student, academic and business leaders developing community outreach projects to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. At the Enactus regional finals, held last month in London, Bedfordshire’s team which was led by Co-Presidents, second year Advertising and Marketing Communications student Jigna Taylor and Farzana Kossar,

studying second year Accountancy, gave a 17 minute presentation about their Young and Old and Noah Consultancy projects. They faced 30 minutes of ‘Dragons Den’-style questioning from the Enactus board, experts in assessing projects that use business techniques to solve local social needs. The judges were particularly impressed with the way the Bedfordshire team had enabled local pensioners to reduce their shopping bills and helped college students find work, through their Young and Old project run at Luton Central Library, in conjunction with a one-stop advice centre for young people in Luton. Paul Harrison from the Careers

and Recruitment Services said: “The Young and Old project, led by Olu Babarinde, third year Psychology student, is really meeting the needs of older readers at Luton Central Library and helping college students develop their self-confidence in the process.” The judges were equally impressed with the Noah Consultancy project after changes introduced by the team, led by second Year Applied Social Studies student Lucy Evans, led to an 80 per cent monthly increase in sales at the charity’s furniture store. Paul added: “Out of 51 universities entering this year’s competition, Bedfordshire performed exceedingly well to reach the national final. There are 27 student members in Enactus Bedfordshire and we should be proud of them all.” l If you are a student interested in joining Enactus Bedfordshire, email

Volunteering Fair showcases opportunities to eager students


TUDeNTS found out about volunteering options last month, when charities and companies from across the county visited the University. The Campus Centre in Luton hosted the annual Volunteering Fair, where 30 organisations, including guide Dogs UK Charity for the Blind and Partially Sighted, girl guides and Tropical FM, set up stalls to show the opportunities available. andrea Thorogood, Volunteering Manager at Beds

SU, said: “Students seemed really enthusiastic about volunteering and lots signed up with organisations.” The Fair followed up what had been a successful workshop day at the Bedford Campus. BeeZee Bodies, UpRising, autism Bedfordshire and The alzheimer’s Society each delivered presentations, where students were encouraged to take part in activities to discover more about what life is like with autism or alzheimer’s.

Danita goodwin, Community Projects Officer, Beds SU said after learning about the charities and what they offer, three students signed up straight away to volunteer for The alzheimer’s Society. “a lot of the students said they really enjoyed it, they felt like they learnt a lot from the personal time that they were able to have with the organisations,” she added. l To register for volunteering and to see vacancies, visit



University Campus Milton Keynes is born! M

ILTON Keynes now has its own university – UCMK. Some 120 students are expected to start courses this September at the new campus which is the result of a unique partnership between the University of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Council. The University’s home will be at Saxon Court, in Avebury Boulevard, with the focus on courses in engineering and technology, to meet the needs of the local economy. A range of full and part-time foundation courses, undergraduate degrees, pre-master’s courses and post-graduate degrees (including doctorates) will also be available.

UCMK was formally launched at the Civic Centre in Milton Keynes by Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell, Councillor Andrew Geary, Leader of Milton Keynes Council and interim Dean of the new campus Professor David Barrett. Mr Rammell said: “This is an exciting new chapter. We will have a physical presence from September to meet demand in the local area and deliver courses for which there is a tangible demand. “We will be providing graduates who meet the engineering and technology needs of businesses, and offering continuing professional development courses.” Councillor Geary said: “This is a step in

the right direction. It has been a long-term ambition to offer face-to-face teaching at degree level for our growing communities (a population of 250,000, predicted to rise to 300,000 in 15 years) without their having to travel. “Attracting international students is also an interesting opportunity. It means our own students can learn from them and it will help to put Milton Keynes on the global map.”

MK student honoured at awards ceremony ONE of the first students who will study at the University’s new campus, University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK), was presented with an award at the Civic Reception and Awards Evening in Milton Keynes. Charlie Ray received the award ‘in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Civic Community’. Professor David Barrett, Interim Dean of UCMK, read the citation before the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Catriona Morris JP, presented the Award. Charlie is currently studying a Foundation Degree in Journalism at Milton Keynes College and will move to UCMK in September to ‘top up’ his degree.

Last chance to take part in NSS Left to right – Councillor Andrew Geary, Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell and Professor David Barrett

Prove your IT Skills to future employers Sign up to get your european Computer Driving Licence CALLING all final year students! Will you have some spare time between now and graduation day? If so, why not get your European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) now? The ECDL can help you prepare for the workplace and provides a real edge in the jobs market: the qualification is internationally recognised and valued by major employers across the world. Undertaking an ECDL is very flexible – you work at your own pace and take the tests

when you’re ready. There are no workshops to attend but support is always available should you need it. The tests are available throughout the academic year, including all non-term breaks. The University offers ECDL and the ECDL Advanced qualifications for word processing, spreadsheets, databases and presentations. l For more information visit or contact Linda Martin or Rosa Ramos on 01582 489258.

IF you are a third year student, time is running out to take part in the National Students’ Survey (NSS). All you have to do for a chance to have your of winning win one of 10 iPADs say log on to or one of 30 x £100 cash prizes is spare ten minutes of your www.thestudent time to take part in the survey. Make sure you complete it before the 30 April deadline. All higher education colleges and universities are obliged to take part in the annual NSS. It is your chance to give your opinions on what you like about your university and your course as well as anything you want to see improved.

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Check out talent at Artistic Art and Design Show inspiration O

is all around says Christine


heSe sketches are the work of Christine abii, a third-year graphic design student, who is inspired by “anything she sees”. For Christine, who has been drawing for as long as she can remember, these works are no more than “doodles done on the spur of the moment.” Christine, who remembers sketching from the age of about seven, said: “art has always been my favourite subject. I didn’t really see it as something academic. But my course has helped me see the professional side in terms of putting my work out there.” Since enrolling at the University she says there is limited time for drawing because of course assignments and deadlines. “I can start a drawing and I won’t touch it for two months because the study workload is just too much,” she said. Christine is currently creating her own website, so her work can be viewed in a more professional manner, as well as on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Portraits and drawing in black and white are Christine’s favourite. “I’m a very visual person and have photographic memory,” she said. “I appreciate everything around me from scenery to colours and shapes including people’s faces. So I draw them.” Feedback about her work from family and friends has been very positive, but Christine believes she still has a long way to go. “I have received a lot of really nice comments which encourages me,” she said. “But I know I have a lot of room for improvement and I definitely see myself as an amateur drawer. “I want to become a graphic designer. I like drawing portraits, but it will always be a hobby.”

“ course has helped me see the professional side in terms of putting my work out there.”

N Thursday, 6 June the University will be bustling as hundreds of people come to view the very best art works created by students.

The annual Art and Design Show is entitled ‘My Work’ to “reflect both the student centred nature of the University’s teaching and the personal nature of the work on show”. The exhibition runs from 6pm until 8pm in the Luton Campus Centre and will feature an animation showreel, as well as a fashion show. Colin Davies, Head of Division of Art and Design, said: “2013 is an exciting time in the world of creative arts, from design, to fine art and fashion. The global downturn opens up avenues for creative entrepreneurism and artistic verve. “This year’s show will capture this creative buzz. The range of work will vividly reflect the breadth of imagination and marketing awareness needed by today’s art and design practitioners. “The show reflects the benefits of the large investment the University is putting into the department. The work on show will demonstrate the creative dynamism the use of laser cutters and 3D printers has allowed students to explore.”

l For more information visit

Lord anthony giddens to speak at Sociology Society lecture


he University’s Sociology Society welcomes Lord anthony giddens to the Luton campus on Wednesday, 17 april. Lord giddens will discuss his forthcoming book, ‘Off The edge Of history: The World in the 21st Century’. The book focuses on the character of the world, its dialectical engagement between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’, the surrender of certainty and the ways within which we can live with in a new world of uncertainty with the right balance of optimism and pessimism. Lord giddens is a member of the house of Lords and former Director of the London School of economics. he is the author of 34 books to date and is well-known establishing the foundation around

which third-way politics has grown nationally and internationally. The free lecture takes place in the g101 lecture theatre, Luton Campus Centre, 1-2pm, followed by a drinks reception. all students and staff are invited to attend. Lord Anthony Giddens

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Call for more organ donations from ethnic minority groups A

CAMPAIGN to encourage more families from minority groups to consider organ donation is being backed by a Bedfordshire academic. Donor families, transplant recipients and leaders of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities joined the University’s Professor of Diversity in Public Health, Gurch Randhawa, at the launch of the Community Organ Donation Campaign at the Dallow Learning Community Centre in Luton. People from BAME communities are more susceptible to kidney problems caused by diabetes and high blood pressure but nearly 70 per cent of BAME families in the UK refuse consent to donate organs. “This large shortfall in suitable organs can mean that BAME patients wait much longer for transplants and are more likely to die waiting,” Professor Randhawa said. “This underlines the need for greater engagement with BAME communities to increase awareness and donations and prevent the conditions that lead to organ failure.” Also attending the event was the family of Mandip Mudhar, whose organs were donated after he died in a car accident. Left to right: Ottilie Quince (Bedfordshire graduate and transplant recipient), Professor Gurch Randhawa, and Bobby Mudhar (brother of Mandip)

Jamaica is land of opportunity


heRe are plenty of opportunities for the University of Bedfordshire to provide higher education in Jamaica, said the country’s high Commissioner to the UK, during a visit to the University. “Jamaican people are very aspirational, they recognise that to get ahead they have to study,” her excellency aloun Ndombetassamba told staff, Jamaican students and local residents of Jamaican origin living in Luton. Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor ashraf Jawaid who, along with Dean of the Faculty of health and Social Sciences Professor Michael Preston-Shoot, welcomed the high Commissioner, agreed there was “huge potential” for setting up a partnership in Jamaica as the University had done in Oman, Dubai, Singapore and hong Kong. “It will be a win-win, situation for both the country and the students,” he said. Former Jamaican nationals now long-time residents in Luton were among those to greet the high Commissioner, who had spent the day in the town visiting Jamaican organisations. The visit was organised by Jacqueline Smith, the University’s head of The Centre for the Development of Social Care Practice (CDSCP).

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University spending £3.5m on IT projects I

N last month’s Life, we reported that the University is investing some £3.5m in upgrading its Information and Communications Technology (ICT). This month we take a look at what changes you can expect see. Kevin Cunningham reports. Over the past year the University’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) department has been talking to staff and students to identify where ICT improvements are needed most. Wojtek Adamek is Chief Information Officer. He said: “Excellent ICT is vital for the smooth running of the University in so many ways, for students and staff, as we increasingly move towards a 24/7 operation. ICT recognises that continual investment and upgrades in our ICT infrastructure and systems is key to keep the University at the cutting edge of ICT innovation. “There is a real programme of change taking place and students and staff will start to see noticeable improvements throughout this year.” A survey of our wireless across campuses has been carried out and wireless access points are being replaced. The oldest equipment has already been replaced and funding has been allocated to address further capacity.

This work will be completed during the summer, ready for the new academic year. Other improvements being made include: l replacing old student and staff PCs which will have faster log in times once new software distribution system is installed – £700,000 has been earmarked for it; l higher specification PCs for the computing labs; l 24/7 ICT service desk – available from May 2013; l new call routing system giving priority to calls about problems encountered during teaching; l new audio-visual equipment and telephones in teaching rooms will be installed over the next three years – £300,000 is allocated for current year. This has already been completed in the new Postgraduate Centre; l an interactive map of all teaching rooms on the staff website where you can click on a room and see what aV equipment is there and the operating instructions for all equipment – to be rolled out by end of June 2013; l Apps for student smart phones and tablets – project in pipeline to provide students with University app for smartphones and tablets showing: Personalised timetables; Campus maps and directions; Key University data; email access; and System access.



Artists’ impression of the proposed new library at Luton campus (The Business School is in the foreground)

Campus redevelopment plans get underway P

LANS for a brand new state-of-the-art teaching and learning building at Bedford and a sector-leading library at Luton have been announced. This latest chapter of buildings developments, called The Luton and Bedford Campuses Academic and Student Experience Enhancement Project, will see a further Artists’ impression of the proposed new teaching building at the Bedford campus

£160m invested over the next seven years, enhancing the physical condition, appearance and student facilities at the University. This is on top of the £180m invested in new facilities since 2006. At Luton, the University is proposing to build a state-of-the-art library where Fairview House is currently located. The new Library will

connect to the rest of the Luton campus via a bridge link. Meanwhile, at Bedford, the University has ambitions to construct an iconic three storey building comprising teaching, dance studios, informal learning spaces and a student services hub. This development will see the demolition of the current A and B blocks at the Polhill Avenue site. Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell said: “These investments are a fantastic opportunity to further develop the working and learning environment to better support the University’s academic community – staff and students alike – with some of the most advanced facilities in the country. “They also represent the best focus on enhancing our estate and students and staff have been consulted, plus local residents and businesses near the Bedford and Luton campuses.” He added: “The University is very much moving forward to compete and succeed in the challenging Higher Education world we face, but, more importantly, this is a University determined to deliver the best possible student experience.” As Life went to press, both planning applications had been submitted. Subject to planning approvals granted, the latest projects are due to start this summer. l For more information, visit

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University students are best sportswomen – it’s official! T Photos courtesy of Peter Ryan, Photographer.

HE University’s first-year Sports Therapy course now boasts Luton’s number one and two sportswomen among its students. At the Luton Sports Awards, UK number two canoeist Mallory Franklin picked up the Sportswoman of the Year award, while her coursemate, Paralympic dressage star Mari

Mallory Franklin picks up her award


heN the main lights are switched off at the alexander Sports hall in Bedford, it’s normally a sign that activities have finished for the day – but sometimes it’s the signal for the fun and games to begin. For it was the ‘glow in the Dark Volleyball’ evening, hosted by the University’s male and female teams, launched at the start of term by the Students’ Union. The tournament was aimed at raising the profile of the sport within the University and to encourage more students to sign up, while funds were also being collected for this year’s Raise and give (Rag) charities. The format was simple; the normal lights were switched off, the UV lights on, while the courts – and indeed the players and balls – were covered in fluorescent colours. Second-year Sport and Physical education student and Captain of the women’s team Laura Woodruff organised the event and said she was really pleased with how it went. “I think the glow in the dark theme worked really well. We had four teams of six people turn up and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. hopefully we’ll be able to hold this event again next year but on an even bigger scale.” Search ‘University of Bedfordshire Volleyball Team’ on Facebook to join the team of 20 members.

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Durward-Akhurst, came second. Mallory, 18, received her honour at a ceremony at the Vauxhall Recreation Centre, where a host of the town’s top sportsmen and women were recognised for performing at the highest level. They were presented their awards by 400m relay Olympic Silver medallist Mark Richardson, as well as by the sponsor of the individual awards. Mallory, who comes from Windsor, Berkshire, and lives in Luton, said she couldn’t believe her award. “Canoeing isn’t that high profile a sport, so it’s nice for it to be highlighted in this way and for me to be recognised too,” she said. “It’s very hard to explain how it feels to win, but it’s really, really good and caps a very good year.” Borehamwood based Mari, 19, who lives in Luton, said her award was recognition of her hard work.

“It’s really hard to explain how it feels to win, but it’s really, really good and caps a very good year.” Mallory Franklin

“I’m really pleased. I was happy just to be nominated, it was a real surprise. I’m hoping to go a step further next time!” The University sponsored the Young Sportswoman of the Year award, which was presented to athletics star Sabrina Bakare, by Julia Lines, Assistant Director of Sport at the University.

Mari Durward-Akhurst receives her award

Turning off the lights brings volleyball out of the shadows


Bulls triumph at cup finals


he University’s sports teams, The Bulls, have two trophies to add to their cabinet following four British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Midlands Conference Cup finals. The busy period started off with the Bedford Thirds football team being crowned champions after a last gasp winner in a 2-1 victory over the University of Nottingham. The victory was sweeter for the Thirds as they beat the Seconds to reach the final, with just 10 men after four minutes following a red card for a two-footed tackle. The Thirds nevertheless took the lead from Bulls player Matthew Bristo. Nottingham equalised in the second half but it was Bedford who stole the spoils against the run of play. Bristo, again the hero, scoring in the dying seconds. The victory on Tuesday 12 March was followed the next night by two more finals. Unfortunately, despite a valiant fight-back from the Women’s Firsts Football team they were edged out by the University of Worcester 3-5. The Firsts, who are still leading their league, were two goals behind early on but soon levelled. a goal-frenzy first half ended 3-3, but Worcester finished the job in the second half. The Women’s Netball First Team also suffered a similar fate, missing out on a league/cup double when they lost 32-27 away to the University of Warwick. The last final saw Bedford Men’s First Rugby Team secure their third cup win in as many seasons. a huge crowd saw the 13-5 victory against the University of Birmingham at the temporarily floodlit Polhill fields (superbly set up by the Students’ Union after the game had to be relocated a short notice). Despite being down 0-5 at half time, the team were dominant throughout, surging in the second half to add a try and a penalty, before JJ Smith crossed the line for the Bulls’ second, and final, try.

l Match reports can be found on


Bedford banquet wins the Great Sabb Cook-Off


HEY fight for the student voice, but can they stand the heat in the kitchen? That was the question being asked by the Beds SU before its Bedford-based Sabbatical Officers began battle against Luton in the ‘Great Sabb Cook-Off’. And the answer? Well, according to the judges, yes! The teams, consisting of Daniel Login and Katie Ross (pictured below) for Luton, both claiming they couldn’t cook, and Kristian Browne and Rabiaa Rahman-Quereshi for Bedford, were

asked to make a two-course meal, which included Fairtrade bananas (provided courtesy of Sainsbury’s), wine, rice and pineapple. The Luton team created a dish with almost every vegetarian component thrown in and a ‘banoffee mess’. Their meal could not match the Bedford banquet however, which featured a homemade curry and a banoffee pie, which the judges and audience loved. The event, at Fitzroy Court, rounded off Fairtrade Fortnight festivities at the University, which was also celebrating Fairtrade University Status reaccreditation. The two weeks included a series of fun events held across both campuses including wine and cheese tasting evenings, a Malawian-themed Hunger Lunch, and promotions and information displays at both SU bars at Bedford and Luton.

BEAMS shining brightly


TeaM of technology students has set up a group to enhance knowledge and provide opportunities for like-minded individuals to share ideas. The Bedfordshire enterprise and Mainframe Society (BeaMS) will specialise in learning about the technologies of large scale computer systems, through lectures by industry experts who will speak about the basic principles and latest trends in the field. They also hope to make links with local organisations who can help them learn more. Daniel hulatt, BeaMS president said: “The society gives members a chance to explore the diverse options that exist in the computing market and provides a unique opportunity for people interested in Mainframe technology to get involved in something completely new.” The first guest lecture ‘an introduction to mainframe technologies’ was given last month by Richard Suggitt, who has also agreed to become the first honorary president of BeaMS. Richard is a Senior engineer at Data Innovation Processing in Borehamwood, herts and has more than 30 years experience in the field. During his lecture Richard talked of how large scale systems underpin the activities of modern life; from credit card payments to healthcare, driving licences to banking. The session explored hardware specifications, high volume data processing and some of the mechanisms for fault

tolerance and security for which the platform is well-known. Future events being planned include lectures on computer forensics on the mainframe and a visit to IBM sites and hosting the IBM user group conference for professionals new to the industry. Dr herb Daly, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Technology, said: “It’s really great that our students are engaging with industry in this way. Since we became members of the IBM academic Initiative we have begun to create links with companies and other universities who use these kinds of high specification systems. We look forward to developing our reputation in this area.” The BEAMS team with Richard Suggitt

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Mainradys Mann with fiance Matt Jane and son Niall

Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell at graduation

Making up for minus-degree weather with plus-degree graduations


WAS hard to convince the graduands from the University’s partner college in Oman that the biting cold, rain and snow that accompanied their visit to the UK is not customary spring weather here. But the students, who had travelled 4,000 miles from Majan University College, where temperatures at this time of the year are between 25°C and 35°C, were determined to enjoy their graduation. Naema Al Juma said she was “very happy to be here”, despite the weather. Among the hundreds of other graduands who received their degrees and doctorates was nursing student Mainradys Mann, for whom pregnancy and a difficult birth were all part of the learning curve during her course. The 27-year-old, who was accompanied by fiancé Matt Jane and son Niall, gave birth midway through her course. She received her Operating

Ebenezer Dede-Bamfo

Theatre Practitioner certificate on the second day of graduations at St Mary’s Church, in Luton. For Ebenezer Dede-Bamfo, the challenge of qualifying as a Mental Health nurse was nowhere near as daunting as two tours of duty in Afghanistan. The 35-year-old was attached to 13 Air Assault from 2005, but chose to take a break in 2009 to study nursing at the University. “It has been a brilliant time,” he said. “There was so much support available for us students.” Having witnessed first-hand the depression and post-traumatic stress that troops who return from tours of duty can suffer, he now plans to go back to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst to train as a mental health nursing officer, so he can help fellow soldiers.

Students from Majan University College

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Life April 2013  

Life, the newspaper for staff and students at the University of Bedfordshire