At the start of each academic year, Professor Evelyn Welch, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, holds the Alumni Briefing, a digital update for alumni around the world to learn more about the opportunities and challenges she sees ahead. For those of you unable to watch this year’s Alumni Briefing live, we recorded the event to share with you. Click the video below to watch!
This year, the discussion was chaired by Alumni Association Chair, Jonathan Phillips (BSc 1994), with Professor Welch and Adam Michael, Union Affairs Officer at Bristol’s Students’ Union in conversation.
The discussion centred around University priorities, including an update from the Vice-Chancellor about the exciting developments in Temple Quarter:
‘I had the privilege of launching Strategy 2030, the University’s new strategy that will take us to a really ambitious place by 2030. Allied with that, and absolutely dependent on the delivery of that strategy, is the new campus in Temple Quarter.
‘As you come into Temple Meads you can see our new building, which will house our new Business School, engineering, and innovation sites.’
The trio also discussed the University’s new developments in innovation, with one particularly exciting announcement from this autumn:
‘The University of Bristol has been chosen as the site for the nation’s first supercomputer for AI’, said Professor Welch. ‘It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for us. We have to deliver it at speed, but we can, because of our expertise. I think this is a real opportunity, not just for us in research terms, but also in terms of industry engagement and entrepreneurship.’
Both speakers discussed the impact of the current cost-of-living crisis on students and detailed the work the University is doing to support them. Professor Welch explained that the student hardship fund is stretched, but Bristol is working with a group of universities to revisit the Government’s maintenance loan programme. Adam added that the SU has worked to triple the Activity Hardship Fund and address other areas of concern, explaining:
‘We’re working closely with colleagues from the University on a number of efforts, some of which have already been accomplished, such as cheaper food options on campus. With other efforts like the Housing Guarantor Scheme, we’re making a lot of progress, and we’re working hard to get where we want to be.’
Bristol’s alumni community
Professor Welch and Adam each spoke about the importance of Bristol’s strong alumni community. Adam explained the impact on students:
‘Bristol’s alumni do a lot to support current students and continue to look for other ways that they can help, whether it be helping them with career and industry experience, grant funding or mentoring current students. Bristol Connects, which is the online platform for students and alumni, continues to grow and become a very helpful resource for current students.’
Click here to watch the 2023 Alumni Briefing recording, and click here to see other events in the alumni events programme.