What a weekend! Yes, we’ve heard the sceptics who predicted an early death for our student walking society, especially given the fact that MSc students are here at Cranfield only for one year, which makes continuity and succession difficult if not impossible, and PhD students suppose to be too busy with their research to be involved in any extracurricular activities. Yet despite all these gloomy predictions we’ve just completed our very own mini marathon of events over the past weekend – and the sheer enthusiasm and interest from new students affirmed my own belief that it was time well spent.
On Saturday 20 October there was a walk from Cranfield University to the Stewarby Lake, with a lunch stop at the Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park. Unfortunately, the footpath from Cranfield University to Cranfield village was waterlogged and too muddy – but luckily, we had 3 drivers amongst us who transported our group of 15 to Cranfield village and from there we set of walking on the much drier National Route 51 of the National Cycle Network all the way to the Forest Centre. Reverend Gill then welcomed us in St Mary’s Church at Marston Moretaine for an excellent guided tour, tea & cake and more – this was the first time we were able to go up the church tower! -)
On Sunday morning 21 October we’ve had a water-themed walk, at Milton Keynes that was led by Alan, a member of staff from School of Engineering, and his wife Diane. 17 Cranfield University students and staff attended this event, after a short but intense booking period going only the night before via our social media. The walk started along the Grand Union Canal and also the River Ouzel. We stopped for lunch at Willen Lake and then visited the Peace Pagoda and Tree of Life.
On Sunday afternoon 21 October we had the first official meeting with our new student members of which 19 attended. Excellent turnout! Angela from Lodge Farm made us a big cake specially for this occasion. The agenda included:
- 1. Walk plan and budget bid: ideas were jotted on posted notes and then organised per calendar months. Ideas were then discussed and scrutinised, key factors considered, and walk leader and event’s main point of contacts were established for many of the events. The preliminary walk plan created at the meeting (and now being further refined) will form the basis for our budget bid from the fund allocated by the university to CSA.
- 2. Committee members – Sarah is our newly appointed Treasurer, Borja our Transport Co-Ordinator and Jonny our Events Organiser.
- 3. First Aid Training – record number of our members are interested in this training!-)
- 4. T-shirt design competition – is back! Last year, the competition did not materialize alas we now have Lucienne, Boopesh and Neelabha looking into rejuvenating the idea. Watch this space!-)
- 5. Current transport policy – competitive sports get transport funded by sports hall budget. ‘Cranfield University’s Walks’ is not perceived as falling into this category – although we do run a Photo Competition!- this means that our society is being disadvantaged as we have to fund transport from our membership fees only (because CSA funding cannot be used for transport). Transport has been the biggest obstacle we have faced every time we organise an event outside of Cranfield campus – and we are often able to run events only because of the good will of those students who have own cars and are willing to be our drivers and offer a lift to others. We want to challenge this current policy! We strongly believe that financial support for transport must be awarded to student societies at Cranfield University on other merits than just ‘competitiveness’! ‘Cranfield University’s Walks‘ have brought an immense value to the overall student experience at Cranfield University – and also to Cranfield University itself in terms of its image and distinctiveness. Cranfield University might be bit slow to realize this – but we students are well aware! Borja, our newly appointed Transport Co-Ordinator, and Boopesh will be looking into this issue in more detail.