Freshers’ Special: Pedalling for Education
Following the success of last year’s ‘Nottingham Life Cycle’ from John O’Groats to Land’s End, twelve members of staff at The University of Nottingham took on the opposite corner-to-corner journey from Cape Wrath, Scotland, to Dover, a ride of over 1,100 miles.
Imaginatively named ‘Life Cycle 2’, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway and his team began this grueling tour at the end of August, finishing fourteen days later on 6th September.
He may have had a year to recover but the Vice-Chancellor, who turned 60 in March, recognised the challenge that lay ahead of him. He said that “last year was an amazing experience. Despite being pushed well beyond our comfort zones, the journey surpassed our expectations.
“The amount we raised was way beyond our initial target, eventually reaching almost £230,000, and the fantastic support we received throughout was outstanding and humbling.”
The purpose of this year’s bike-ride was to raise money for Nottingham Potential, part of ‘Impact: The Nottingham Campaign’. Nottingham Potential’s goal is to raise aspirations, support achievement and improve access to higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, specifically, to provide scholarships and bursaries in order to help them fulfill their academic potential. ‘Life Cycle 2’ is just one part of this continuing commitment to raise awareness and funds for these students, a cause to which the University invests £8million per year.
This particular initiative is one very close to the VC’s heart. He was raised in Shettleston, Glasgow, an area beset with serious social deprivation, and was the first in his family to receive higher education. He therefore knows the significance of widening access to higher education.
“Raising the aspirations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and supporting them financially to achieve their ambitions is something I feel passionately about. We want to ensure that financial concerns do not limit the ambition of those with the ability to achieve academic excellence,” Greenaway said, “I am doing it because education has the power to transform lives.”
On arriving in Dover, the Vice-Chancellor was quick to thank all those who had supported the ride, including his sponsors.
“For me personally, it has been a privilege to spend two weeks on the road with such a special group of people. I have taken enormous pride in that the riders and support team take this on for no other reason than trying to have an impact on educational disadvantage.”
Others also took part in the ride, including Chief Executive of Malaysian Airways and Nottingham alumnus Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Adam Tickell (PVC at the University of Birmingham) and Jack Swannell from Into University.
Greenaway said “for me personally, it has been a privilege to spend two weeks on the road with such a special group of people. I have taken enormous pride in that the riders and support team take this on for no other reason than trying to have an impact on educational disadvantage.”
Over £230,000 has already been raised for Nottingham Potential, most of the way to the target of £250,000.