One of our biggest achievements has been the shear amount of money we have raised for charities. Collectively we have raised an incredible £1,200 for WaterAid, Antibiotic Action, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. Staff and students once again came together at Christmas to donate over 100 items to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Food Bank. Students went above and beyond to produce Bake Off-worthy cakes for our bake sales – chemists definitely make the best chefs! We even claimed victory in the EPS University Challenge where teams from across the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences competed in tough general knowledge rounds to claim victory, all while raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
At Christmas we were honoured to host Professor Martyn Poliakoff from the University of Nottingham and famous for his YouTube channel ‘Periodic Videos’. He gave a fascinating talk on his green chemistry research and was inundated with questions from the audience afterwards. The afternoon also entailed performances from lecturers in the School of Chemistry – we had Professor Tuckett’s ‘Desert Island Discs’, Dr. Cotton’s lecture on the ‘Chemistry of Love’ and an explosive performance from Dr. Britton and Dr. Mark ‘Elf’ Read! The evening was in aid of the University-based charity Antibiotic Action, which aims to educate people about the need for discovery, research and development of new treatments for bacterial infections.
All of our careers events have been very highly attended this year. The Royal Society of Chemistry supported us with a networking event about teaching, our Careers Rep helped organise an evening of talks from chemists in industry, and our trip to Unilever was a sell-out! Students were treated to a tour of their Research and Development Laboratories, manufacturing facilities and talks on industry placement and graduate schemes from University of Birmingham students and alumni employed by Unilever.
Finally, the highlight and end to our teaching year: ChemBall!
Our annual black tie Ball was deemed to be the best yet by veteran attendees (thank you, post-grads and staff!) This was the first year it was held in aid of charity and a whopping £560 was raised for Cancer Research. Held at the Birmingham Council House Banqueting Suite in Victoria Square, everyone attending agreed it was a beautiful venue for our most special event of the year. ChemBall is a time to celebrate the end of teaching (and the end of degrees for others) by bringing staff and students together for dinner and dancing.
Another first for this year was a new award for students, nominated by staff for a student they believed had shown innovation throughout the year, particularly on a research project. A record number of responses to the nominations show how tightly-knit this department is – it really is a brilliant place to learn.
We also like to commend the achievements of staff and post-graduate students who make our time at Birmingham so enjoyable.
We are now counting down to the end of term and annual EPS Societies’ Awards. With the tremendous year we’ve had we’re hoping to get on our hands on one of the prestigious Awards on offer. If you are or have been part of ChemSoc, or have enjoyed reading about our activities this year please nominate us!