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hamish williams

campaigns & democracy

Aurora Conference 2018 Update


The Aurora Group is a network of European Universities that excels in producing internationally relevant research. Together, the universities involved are committed to finding solutions to globally relevant problems that include sustainability, digital technology, human life & health, and climate & energy. Not only are we one of the founding members, but we are the only university in England that is part of the group. Twice a year we meet to discuss the four key aims: Diversity and Inclusion, Societal Impact and Relevance of Research, Students, and Innovation of Teaching and Learning. Here’s what I got up to at the latest meeting. 

Monday 28th November 

On the morning of the 28th, I left St. Pancreas to get to Brussels, Belgium, before getting the train to Antwerp where the Aurora Conference was taking place. I attended with Jake Godard who was the other student representative who was elected through Union Council. 

Thursday 29th 

I attended an International Inclusiveness session led by Helena Gillespie which discussed short and long-term mobility and how Aurora plans to support this. There is currently a plan to put in a new bid to Erasmus to gain funding to do research into this, and how we can support students studying nternationally whilst at university. Even though as I was out of the country, I didn’t want to miss Union Council back at UEA, so I joined the council via skype. Make sure to check back next week for an update on what happened at our last council meeting of the year! 

Friday 30th 

On the Friday, we had a plenary session that focused on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and what universities are doing to improve sustainability in their own institutions. As the full-time Campaigns and Democracy Officer, sustainability sits within my remit, so it was great to hear how other universities in Europe are doing their part for the environment. For those interested in what UEA is doing to support a sustainable lifestyle, there will be lots happening in the new year, particularly in February with Go Green Week. 

We then had a final working group session that summarised what would happen going ahead. We looked at student participation, the benefits that students gain from Aurora’s international outlook, and discussed the ways that all of the Aurora institutions put this into practice. 

This is just a snippet of what Aurora does, and what UEA’s involvement is. If you would like to know more about how we are involved and what UEA will be doing going forward to support Aurora’s goals, then please do email me at For now, why not have a think about what you’d like UEA to be doing to improve their sustainability, and stay tuned for what’s to come with our Go Green Week!


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