Community Events and Local Initiatives
The University of Sheffield is committed to working with the city and undertakes a series of community events and initiatives to develop good links with local communities.
A number of initiatives are run through the External Relations team and through faculty/ departmental pro-bono work. These include:
- In October 2009, the University of Sheffield ran ‘Student Week’ as part of the ‘Dream Bigger Dreams’ campaign. The week consisted of 27 fun-filled activities, each aiming to inspire the young people of Sheffield to discover and understand. Each session was run by student groups or societies and included music from Sing Soc and the University of Sheffield student orchestra, outreach programmes such as Professor Fluffy, experiments with the physics department, language taster sessions, a penalty shoot out with Sheffield Wednesday and a keepy-uppy competition with Sheffield United. Over 43,000 people attended ‘Student Week’ and the activities received excellent press coverage in relation to the positive contributions made by students to the city.
- The Department of Mechanical Engineering worked closely with the Sheffield Children’s Hospital when two engineering graduates designed a special walking frame for children with brittle bones. The students designed the frame after meeting staff at the hospital and hearing about the difficulties faced by children with brittle bone disease.
- The School of Architecture annually undertakes ‘Live Projects’, a six week group project where postgraduate students work with external clients such as local authorities, charities and community groups on socially engaged design projects. Much of the work, which is mainly in Sheffield, has had a lasting effect, especially for clients with whom we have developed ongoing relationships such as Ecclesall Woods Sawmill, Sheffield Homes and Sharrow Community Forum. Case studies of past ‘live projects’ are available on the school’s website.
- Law Students from the University of Sheffield are helping their local community and gaining valuable work experience by offering free legal advice to local people. The FreeLAW project is a partnership between the University, the local legal profession, and the local Advice Centres. FreeLAW will help Sheffield residents, who would otherwise have problems affording professional legal advice, by providing drop-in advice sessions across Sheffield. Students conduct interviews with clients, and together with volunteer practitioners, they assess the clients' problems and needs and give advice. The students are supervised by professional lawyers, including staff from the University's School of Law, meaning that clients receive top quality advice.