First ever Universities Week is a huge success

Around 200 children from schools in Bath & North East Somerset and Wiltshire tackled rocket science and climate change in two events at the University of Bath during the first ever national Universities Week (14-20 June).

What’s the big idea? was the theme of the week, encouraging people to take a closer look at their local university. Over 100 universities took part nationally to highlight the essential role universities play in sustaining the local society, culture and economy.

On Monday (14 June), pupils with a flair for science from years 9 and 10 in Wiltshire-based schools (South Wilts, George Ward & Abbeyfield) competed against local industry experts to build the best water rocket, including Philip Holme who procures rockets for the Ministry of Defence.

The pupils launch their rockets

The pupils built their rockets from plastic bottles, tennis balls and scraps, with help from the University’s physics department.

On Thursday (17 June) around 150 pupils from schools in Bath & North East Somerset attended a Youth Summit on Climate Change. They’ll spent the day debating the issue and screened short films they made in class to encourage other young people to take action on climate change.

Speakers at the event included Carmel McQuaid, the national Climate Change Manager for Marks & Spencer, and representatives from GENeco/Wessex Water, Oxfam and the Soil Association.

Pupils from the local area get tips on how to make a green film from BBC Eco Man, Justin Rowlatt

Jane Talbot, Education Manager at Resource Futures in Bath said: “The Youth Summit was an opportunity for them to find out more about the global impact of climate change and to explore ways of making their green visions a reality.”

St Gregorys Catholic College in Combe Hay Bath, came first with a fantastic advert called “It’s the small things”. Norton Hill School in Radstock were runners up.

Liz Simmons, Aimhigher and Oureach Events Co-ordinator at the University, said: “It’s been a fantastic week. The youngsters have really thrown themselves into the challenges and proven that there is a lot of talent and enthusiasm for learning out there.

“This was the first Universities UK Week. We can’t wait for the next one. ”

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