DMU Square Mile’s IT classes for schoolgirls

By Matthew Chandler

amina-pictureDMU Square Mile, a project encouraging public engagement at De Montfort University, has been running after school clubs for girls aged nine to 11 to help them improve their computer skills.

Working in partnership with TechFuture Girls, who provide the resources for these activities,  and Hewlett Packard,  the programmes’s sponsor, DMU Square Mile send volunteers into local schools to encourage groups of ten to 20 girls into the world of IT.

Pictured using the TechFuture Girls website is Amina Lunat, the coding co-ordinator at DMU Square Mile, who spearheads this particular campaign.

She said: “A lot of schools have given feedback that the girls feel a lot more engaged in these clubs than computer lessons, where they can feel overpowered by the boys in their class at times.

“They love the fact they learn new skills and words; they all loved to find out what a ‘hacker’ was, for example.”

Using the TechFuture Girls website, the girls learn about things like cyber security; i.e. learning how to stop the aforementioned ‘hackers’, how to build a social app and design a 2D room.

Another aim of the campaign to suggest possible future career paths for the girls, such as a web or software developer, a graphics designer or a security engineer.

This is just one of a number of successful programmes set up by DMU Square Mile; other recent projects include volunteering in local communities in New York, LGBT support training with local schoolchildren and offering free classes on dementia awareness and training to all De Montfort staff and students.

 

 

 

 

Unsung heroes of DMU development finishing off work on campus

by Tyler Arthur

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With the Vijay Patel building and the new Student Union both now open to the students, the De Montfort University campus has finally reached the end of its redevelopment process.

It is easy to forget that there is still work going on around the campus. In the shadow of the VP building, the unsung heroes of the ongoing process, tasked with remodelling the roads in the area, the construction company Danaher & Walsh, are still hard at work.

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After starting work back in 2016, D&W employees have been working their way down the main stretch of the university campus, along Mill Lane and branching off onto some of the adjacent roads.

Their work started by the Clephan Building, opposite Subway, and they are now all the way down to the De Montfort Surgery.

The construction had to be deliberately stretched over an extended timetable, to try and reduce the impact on students and avoid any negative influence on the university’s everyday running.

Instead of turning Mill Lane and The Gateway into a construction site – thus blocking off half of the campus from the other – the decision was made, in conjunction with DMU, to break the work up into more sizeable sections.

The work itself is on the footpath/road system which students use to access and navigate the campus and many of its buildings, and so the work was specifically planned to make sure that there was no building or route which was inaccessible, even amidst constant work.

A first year Journalism student at DMU, Lucy Billington-Groom, 19, said: “Although I was delayed by a couple of minutes, it could be a lot worse, with the amount of work they’ve been doing.”

Nigel Pierce, 60, a construction site agent of Danaher & Walsh, said that the process of planning such an intricate relationship between the roadworks and the university term times was very difficult.

“It’s like an ongoing battle,” he said, “There’s the logistics of [students] as well as us getting the job done.thumbnail_image-2

“Everybody still needs access to all of the buildings in the university, but at the end of the day we need to get on with our job.”

Due to the importance of accessibility, Nigel and the rest of the workers have had to work on the roads/footpaths in very small sections, where they can only fence off small areas, to do it as quickly as possible, and then move down.

The biggest problem which the project has faced comes from the lack of room they have inside their fenced off areas.

They are unable to store the materials they need (or the materials they don’t need anymore) on site, due to the reduced size of their workspace.

There has had to be a huge network formed, through which there are people working on the campus, people preparing and delivering resources to the scene, as well as removing the waste and excess from the site again.

This cyclical process is much less efficient than the usual system of working constantly, however the more staggered approach suits this particular task that D&W have been trusted with.

“Liaising [with the university], and envisaging, and then finally planning this job… It’s a long process, and it is hard work, but that’s what I love about it – problem solving,” Nigel added.

The work is almost done now, along with the rest of DMU’s £136 million campus development, and students will get to experience the majority of 2017 with hopefully unlimited freedom to wander the newly remodelled, and modernised campus.

Leicester poets aid in new program to encourage poetry with locals.

A local library in Leicester is housing a new program with the help of writers.

16229601_1278092058916047_170471310_oLeicester Central Library, on Bishop Street, has begun a new program to encourage poetry to the public.

The program, named “Write on” included frequent sessions focusing on poetry r
eadings on the third Wednesday of every month.

The sessions do not provide attendees with qualifications, but it does mean that people can come to listen to and learn more about the vibrant world of poetry.

These sessions, whilst hosted by the library, will be led by actual published poets native to Leicester.

The editor of the anthology would also include a comparison of poetry by the editor.

Matthew Vaughn, the development librarian of Leicester Central said that the program was going to be run by local poets.

He said: “The focus of the sessions are the poems in the “Welcome to Leicester” anthology.

“It’s not a course, each of the poets attending wrote a piece for that anthology, and they will be reading their works.”

The sessions could also include future workshops translating poems from foreign countries.

However there are also other events at the library.

On Thursday afternoons, the library hosts a foreign languages session for anyone wishing to learn a new language.

Future sessions of the Write On showcase are on 5th February and the 15th March, and are from 7-9pm to anyone interested.

De Montfort’s campus Cafe proving a hit with vegan and vegetarian students

By Conor de Smith

The Riverside Cafe, De Montfort University’s latest addition to an ever-growing campus, is the perfect place for both vegans and vegetarians, according to its contract director Rebecca Reddan.

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Contract Director at Chartwells, Rebecca Reddan.

The Riverside Cafe, located on the banks of the River Soar, opened to the public earlier in the month and has received plaudits for its modern and unique menu.

With vegetarians making up 2 per cent of the United Kingdom’s population and vegans 1 per cent, according to the NHS, demand for alternative meals have increased in recent years.

With the majority of them teenagers, news that a dining area that provided vegan and vegetarian food would be developed on campus was extremely welcome.

Managed by experienced catering company Chartwells, which oversees all catering and hospitality on campus, the reception has so far been positive by students and members of Leicester’s public alike.

Contract Director at Chartwells, Rebecca Reddan, realises how important food can be for those studying at De Montfort and believes the Riverside is able to provide the nutrition they need to get through the day.

“Food and what we put in our body has a direct impact on our health, well being, mentality and energy levels – so when students are studying hard they need to fuel their bodies,” said the University of Manchester graduate.

“It is really important to us here at Chartwells that we have a variety of offers so the Riverside Cafe gives us another branch of what we do.

“It has a heavy focus on vegan, vegetarian and gluten free dishes. Not solely those dishes, though, so we do not alienate part of the university campus. We have great products that tick a lot of boxes for people.”

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Riverside Cafe has opened its doors to customers.

Young people will now be able to enjoy dishes such as Spicy Korean vegetable broth, butternut and sweet potato Thai orange curry and vegan-based desserts as part of a varied, international menu.

“We have had really positive responses and great feedback from students that are looking for a special diet menu.

“What we are trying to do is build a menu that fits for people and, although it’s early days, we are getting feedback and messages that are really positive from people at DMU.”

Kane Crilley, 18, a law student at DMU and vegan, said: “The options at this cafe are different to any other at DMU.

“The location is really convenient as it is so close to my halls of residence and the law building, meaning I do not have to walk to town. It is a great place to grab something to eat to or from lectures.”

Emily-mae Collins, 18, also a law student at DMU, said: “Despite not being vegan or vegetarian, I would actually choose most of their vegan options over a non-vegan alternative due to the taste.

“I like to have something healthy on the way back from the gym. It has a calming atmosphere to enjoy lunch and/or studying.”

When asked why people might pick the Riverside over the many other options in the area, Miss Reddan urged those in the area to come and enjoy the food and service.

“Come down, sample all of our different dishes,” she said. “It’s a great place to meet friends and relax. It’s a calm environment and it’s also got a great menu that works in terms of your health, well being and your mentality.

“Between great food and great service, we hope that we will be able to look after you very well.”

DMU Campus centre to re-open on Wednesday

By Alex Murray

De Montfort University will open their new campus centre on Wednesday after refurbishment work has been completed.

The re-opening of the centre has been long awaited, as work continues around the De Montfort campus as part of the £136 million pound investment into the site.

It will reopen on Wednesday at 3pm. There will be a speech by the DSU president Dan Winney and DMU Vice Chancellor Dominic Shellard. There will also be performances by a couple of SU societies.

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The new refurbishments see more spaces for students to relax, eat and socialise with friends. The student union took feedback from students into account when deciding how to spend their £3 million grant they were given to transform the site.

Owen Boore, a computer security student, said:  “I’m excited to see it finally open, especially as it seems to have been under construction since I started here.”

Josh Mayo, who studies computer science, said: “The new building looks like a great place to chill and to complete work, I will be using it a lot.”