The Leeds student experience is even more special thanks to the support of our alumni. Here are some ways Leeds alumni have had an impact by giving time, expertise or funding.
Over the past year, more than 1,200 alumni have volunteered their time to support the University’s mission.
Alumni volunteers represent Leeds at recruitment fairs around the world, playing an important role in inspiring prospective students to come to Leeds. For the past three years, Andrew Kasanga (MSc Environmental Engineering and Project Management 2016) has volunteered at the British Council Study UK Fair in Ghana: “I know from my own time in Leeds that the University has superb opportunities for its students,” said Andrew. “I am delighted to share my experiences with potential students.”
Individual mentoring helps students develop attributes that will be critical to their future career. Our Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme helps build students’ leadership, networking and communication skills. Through one-to-one meetings – held online during the Covid-19 pandemic – mentors help students to recognise their strengths and address their weaknesses as they prepare for their working lives.
Established professionals are also helping recent graduates by sharing contacts and creating personal development opportunities, such as Insight Days, which give small groups of students the opportunity to visit an alum’s workplace to gain first-hand experience of what working there would be like. In addition, workshops enable recent graduates to meet alumni from their chosen field of employment and develop their network with others in the sector.
For more about our volunteering programmes click here.
A poem written by Cultural Fellow Zaffar Kunial on his first day in the University has been published in the cricketing almanack Wisden. Recalling the deeds of legends such as Grace, Bradman and Richards, Oval Time is one of several of Zaffar’s works that celebrate his passion for the game.
Cultural Fellowships, funded by our donors, enable talented artists from a range of disciplines to develop their craft at Leeds. During his Fellowship, Zaffar has also created a series of poems about the Brontë sisters, works about the Yorkshire countryside and a poem inspired by self-isolation.
Read Oval Time here.
Over the past ten years, your gifts have provided scholarships for more than 1,400 students to study for their undergraduate degrees at Leeds. This incredible generosity is changing lives for students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in Britain.
To read about their stories, click here.
Launched last spring, our 2020 Student Support Fund is helping students who were hit financially by the Covid-19 pandemic. From those who were left desperately short of funds when their term-time employment ended to others who were stranded abroad, hundreds of students have benefited from grants to address the crisis in their lives.
This was possible thanks to the incredible generosity of almost 500 alumni and other supporters, whose gifts helped us to reach our target of £150,000 in a matter of weeks.
For more about the Student Support Fund click here.
Almost a decade after graduating, Myles Harman is back at university studying for a Masters degree in classics with the support of a Footsteps Fund scholarship.
It fulfils a long-held ambition: “Although I never stopped being interested in history and classics, I thought that the financial barriers and tuition fees would preclude me from going any further,” said Myles, who hopes to progress to a PhD. “For years I gave up on the idea of academia, but now I am getting to do what I love.”
Renowned antique dealer John Victor Bedford bequeathed his collection of rare books, manuscripts and objects to the University. Now a financial gift from his Trustees is enabling us to make the most of this remarkable archive. The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History is a unique collection covering all aspects of the English home – interiors, furnishings, drapery, lighting, plasterwork, architecture and gardens – from the 17th century onwards.
A gift from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust is enabling us to remodel and expand the Special Collections area of the Brotherton Library, creating flexible new areas for teaching and research, and allowing more items from our collections to be placed on display.
To learn more about the impact of legacies at the University of Leeds click here.
Each year, the Footsteps Fund supports Leeds societies to enhance their activities and improve their service to students. Among last year’s grants was a gift to the Caving Society to enable more adventurous students to take part in expeditions underground, such as at the spectacular Gaping Gill in the Yorkshire Dales.
The cost of equipment has long been a barrier to new members joining the society. The purchase of safety harnesses, ropes, helmets and oversuits has helped make these experiences accessible to students from all backgrounds.
For more about the Footsteps Fund click here.
Run jointly by our Counselling and Wellbeing and Sport and Physical Activity services, our Lifestyle and Wellbeing Programme offers a range of interventions for students facing issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
Through concentrating on physical wellbeing, self-care, nutrition, exercise and sleep, the programme is proven to enhance mood, reduce isolation and, for many students, improve academic performance.
Support from the Footsteps Fund enabled 81 students to feel the benefit of this innovative programme during the past year.