The University of Aberdeen regularly ranks amongst the top ten UK universities for student experience – and no wonder. With 16,500 students representing 120 nationalities, and with more 150 clubs and societies, Aberdeen students have an almost limitless array of choices for social, philanthropic, sporting, creative or career-focussed activities. Funding from the Development Trust ensures that these clubs, groups, teams and societies have the resources they need to thrive. Thanks to generous donations by alumni, parents and friends, every year the Development Trust gives approaching £100,000 to the Student Experience Fund and to student clubs and societies through AUSA.
Student groups apply by form via the University website, and funds are distributed by the University Disbursement Committee on an annual basis. Applicants must:
- enhance the student experience focussing on extra-curricular activities and services
- demonstrate financial need and the difference receiving funding will make
- ideally impact on the wider student community
Here you can read of the impact you made in 2014/2015:
- Dance Society
"Thank you very much for your generous contribution to the Aberdeen University Dance Society! We used our grant to pay for the venue for our show, which took place at the Aberdeen Arts Centre and Theatre on March 29th, and thanks to the hard work and PR of our committee and team we had a sold out show. We had never before used the Arts Centre for our annual showcase and it offered a nice change and was a fantastic set up for a dance show. The show ran smoothly and was entirely run and put together by students, which they organised on top of Uni work and working part time jobs. We featured dance styles we had never previously offered such as Bhangra and Broadway and even brought in a group of kids from the Bennachie Leisure Centre, who are taught jazz by a dance society tutor. Using the Arts Centre allowed us to advertise our show to a much larger audience and come the night of the show we had a queue out the door of people waiting to buy tickets.
We advertised what a University dance society is capable of doing to the Aberdeen community, which will help us to grow and continue serving both the University dance community as well as people in the Aberdeen community looking to continuing dancing after University. The show is also an experience for people who may never get another chance to perform on a stage. We hope to continue providing an experience like this for the incoming dancers and are looking forward to next years’ showcase!"
- Juliana Dragat, President
- University Sport
'Come and Try Commonwealth Sports' Event
"In 2014 University Sport recognised that two big things were about to happen in Scotland; Glasgow 2014’s XX Commonwealth Games (GCG 2014), and the opening of the new addition to our facilities, Aberdeen Aquatics Centre. These two major events gave us an ideal platform on which to base our new physical activity promotion. Our main aim was to offer another level of sport to encourage as many people as possible to make the most of our state-of-the-art facilities. We offered:
- 3x5 weeks free Beginners Swimming Lessons, 288 individual sessions (previous sessions offered early 2014)
- 8 weeks free coached Swim Training Sessions for improvers, 128 individual sessions
- 8 weeks free coached Netball sessions, 160 individual sessions
- 8 weeks free coached Table Tennis sessions, 144 individual sessions
Using GCG 2014 as a catalyst for our programme we chose to promote Commonwealth Sports, and applied to use the Commonwealth Legacy Branding as a way of inspiring people to take part. We targeted a wide variety of students and staff with a friendly ‘come and try’ message, giving the opportunity for people to come and learn new skills in a non-competitive environment. Successfully all the sessions were fully booked, with bookings made from several departments of the University including; academic and non-academic staff, first year students, mature students, as well as overseas and ERASMUS students.
As a highlight of our campaign the opening of the new Aquatics Centre combined with GCG 2014 has brought about a massive boost to the Sport of Swimming in Scotland and the North East itself. The free swimming lessons – aimed at beginners - were an excellent way to help reinforce that the new facility is not just for our elite users, but for anyone interested in swimming or water sports at any level, and memorably those who took part were some of the very first to use the new swimming pool before it was opened fully to the public.
With the success of the programme we were also shortlisted and attained two awards. One of which was the Bronze Sporting Contribution Award from Universities and Colleges Scotland, and more recently we came succeeded in the Excellence in Student Sport Experience Award from College and University Business Officers (CUBO) after having been shortlisted with some of the best sporting universities in the UK – Loughborough, Bath and Worcester.
On behalf of our students and staff here at the University of Aberdeen, I would sincerely like to thank you for the sponsorship you provided for our Come and Try Commonwealth Sports programme. Thanks to your generous sponsorship, we were able to deliver a professional programme of physical activity opportunities, to a wide variety of students and staff. Helping to maintain our community’s wellbeing is a big part of our strategy, and our participants were very grateful.The sports on offer through our Come and Try activities were a big hit, with 62 people being coached for 8weeks. Feedback from each session was extremely positive, and many participants have already spoken to us about how they will continue to train and play once there coaching is complete. You have helped us create a fun and friendly programme of activities, which has inspired people who did not already take part in physical activity to become active.
This project would not have been a success without the generous support you have provided us throughout. We deeply appreciate the willingness with which you have and continue to sponsor our efforts to make our community a healthier, happier place to study."
- Gillian Kerr, University Sport
- Granite City TV
New High Quality Equipment
"Granite City TV is the student television at Aberdeen University Student's Association. We aim to provide our members with the skills to create good quality video content, and the opportunities to use those skills.
With our initial funding from the University (Student Life) we had the more expensive items, such as cameras and a PC for editing on. What we lacked however was some less expensive but still crucial items, such as tripods, headphones, good quality microphones, an external audio recorder (the full list of equipment was detailed in our initial request). Whereas previously we had very limited capabilities and were unable to produce good quality content, this is now possible. An example of a good quality video we produced recently was one detailing the RAG campaign. Equipment from the development trust was invaluable in creating this.
One of our members has also been producing a short film, "Shadows" which a thriller/drama in which the main character copes with loss, and the struggle to deal with the event. This film is not viewable online at the moment, as it has been entered into the BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica short film festival and due to festival rules cannot be online before the festival in November. It's important that we encourage creativity, and projects like this are a really good way to get people trained up on the equipment, and for anyone with an interest in acting it is a good way to hone their skills. Over the next year we aim to be open to other short film projects such as this, and we want to empower people with ideas with the resources and a team to make them happen.
We have been able to produce a live lounge series with some local Aberdeenshire based artists:
In short, Granite City TV is beginning to create some really high quality content, and over the next year we aim to be at a point where regular production of content is fast and easy (not always the case when we are juggling this with uni life) and the addition of new members will help to ease this. We would not have been able to get to this point without the funding from the development trust, which we are incredibly thankful for. This equipment that this funding has bought will help to ensure that Granite City TV is running for years, and improving the student experience at the University of Aberdeen, and hopefully in the future even affecting Aberdeen residents who are not affiliated with the University."
- Sean Robertson, Station Manager
- Archaeology Society
"The Archaeology Society went to Newcastle from 24th to the 27th of April. We took a group of 12 students down to visit various sites by hiring a minibus. We visited Jedburgh Abbey and Dunfermline Abbey on the way. Jedburgh Abbey is 12th Century in date and was home to an Augustinian Order. The Protestant rebellions led to the demise of this Abbey. Dunfermline Abbey, dating to 11th Century, is the resting place of St Margaret and Robert the Bruce, and also Queen Anne of Denmark was a resident in the Monastic Quarters. Dunfermline was built by King David I of Scotland.
During the days in Newcastle the students were taken to the castle, which was an impressive sight and had some interesting characters and stories. It was well renovated and gave the students a chance to experience historic architecture. Bede’s World, a visitor attraction with the life and story of the Venerable Bede, The Father of English History, who resided at St Paul’s Chapel; another site that was visited. Corbrige Roman Fort was among the most popular attractions of the trip for the students and it enhanced their appreciation of Hadrian’s Wall, which is a well-known English archaeological site. These sites provided the students with a variety of English history that they may not have been accessible without the trip.
During the journey back to Aberdeen the group had the pleasure of visiting Tynemouth Castle and Priory, and Lindisfarne. Lindisfarne is the first known site of Viking Raids in 793. This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to understand the context for the dynamic interactions that took place throughout English history.
The trip was well received and the students had a fantastic time! While also getting the chance to enhance their knowledge of the field of British Archaeology. The trip also provided the chance to strengthen and create friendships within the society that will benefit them throughout University life."
- Leonie Redgate
- University Chaplaincy Centre
'Around the World in Many Faiths' Event
"This project was conceived with the aim of bringing ‘all faiths and none’ together in an attitude of mutual respect and dialogue. In our current climate we are deeply proud of the loving, mutually respectful community of communities which has built up on our University Campus. ‘Around the world in many faiths’ is a fantastic opportunity for each faith (or non-faith) community to reserve an ‘area’ in Butchart, gathered around a delicious curry and chat about their beliefs in an atmosphere of dialogue and community. It is an important event, not only for the many students who come in and learn more about these beliefs from people who practise them, but for the communities themselves as they are given a chance to share and learn from one another. It is also a chance for us and the Students’ Association (with whom we run the event) to celebrate and encourage the various faith communities who give us so much throughout the year. In a University for which diversity, internationalisation and commitment to the global and local community are core values, such an event is not only important but necessary.
Last year was a success, but this year was a greater success. I felt that in the areas of publicity, contacting faith communities and representatives, having had a year to build up roots and relationships gave the whole event a deeper feeling of community and mutual co-operation. Small mistakes from last year had been rectified, and the publicity was smoother, the attendance higher and the quality and range of contributions greater. Faith Representatives travelled from as far afield as Glasgow to attend the event, and there was a great amount of earnest discussion, laughter and friendly fun between the faith groups. People came to speak to the faith groups and share our curry from all over the campus and the city, with some visitors from the local council, local newspapers and third sector charity groups, all of whom seemed to enjoy themselves. We are in discussions about extending this even further next year.
It is a common belief we hold in the chaplaincy that the best friendships are made and discussions held around the table. An event like this can become formal and meaningless if real time is not spent in discussion, care and community with one another. Thus the vegetarian curry which was provided served as a talking point and gathering place for communities to leave their tables and talk with one another. It aided the discussion and drew it much deeper. It really made the event into the warm friendly and open one which it was.
In our current climate, where war is constantly fought in the name of religion, it was so beautiful for those ‘of all faiths and none’ to be able to come together and celebrate one another in an atmosphere of mutual dialogue and respect at the ‘Around the World in Many Faiths’ event which you made possible. The event was a resounding success, with people from the local community and the University community joining together to share food, friendship and meaningful discussion around the issues of the various faiths represented on campus.
I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and generosity in contributing to this important event. You are more than welcome to come along next year, it promises to be bigger and better with new initiatives and ideas popping up in relation to this already successful event."
- Deborah Joy Allan, Interfaith Co-ordinator