Reporter 416, 9 March 1998


Reaping the rewards with a hands-on approach

Geography student Mathew Heywood is helping to develop a visitors’ environment centre at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm as part of his degree through the University’s student project scheme.

The farm’s EpiCentre, due to open in June, is incorporating environmental design elements such as a turf roof and composting toilets. The farm approached the University for help and Mathew’s background in environmental sciences made him the ideal candidate.

“The chance to get involved in the new centre was challenging and I haven’t been disappointed,” says Mathew. “My role has been to develop a plan for displays that would interpret the centre to the visitor, including exhibitions, mulitmedia and the workings of the building itself.”

Third year Geography students can carry out a workplace co-operative project as one module; it has been on offer for four years and the number of students participating has grown from eight to more than 20.

Dr Pauline Kneale, Mathew’s supervisor, said: “It’s good experience for the students. It gives them an insight into how things work outside the world of academia.” The projects are examined to ensure they are academically credible just like any other module.

The farm is delighted with Mathew’s work. Director Sue Reddington said: “He has the skills of enthusiasm, determination and flexibility essential in our work.”

Mathew is one of 35 students from a variety of departments who have taken part in the City and Regional Initiative on Student Projects (CRISP) scheme which provides local companies and organisations with a single access point to departments whose students can undertake outside projects as part of their courses.

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