close up of bike chain on campus

Keeping your bike safe on campus this Summer

As the weather finally changes for the better, you might be thinking of ditching the car, getting into the fresh air and cycling onto campus this summer.

A bike is a great way to get around the University, however it’s worth remembering that warmer weather tends to lead to an increase in bike thefts across the country and, in Leeds, it’s no different.

Before you bring your bike onto campus, make sure you’ve followed these simple steps from Security Services to keep your property safe.

Buy D-locks and lock your bike properly

If you have a bike already, you likely have a bike lock. Sadly, not all locks are made equal, and it only takes seconds to cut through some – especially wire, chain or poor-quality versions.

Discounted D-locks and lights are sold at the Bike Hub and the Security office. You can find the Security office at 175 Woodhouse Lane, about two minutes’ walk from Laidlaw Library. The Bike Hub is located on the lower level between the EC Stoner and Roger Stevens buildings.

Make sure you lock through the frame of the bike and quick release wheels, and always lock your bike to something solid and secure, ideally a bike rack, and never just around the bike itself. Ideally, use more than one D-lock or another type of lock – this really does help to slow down thieves and give staff from Security Services more time to intercept them

Make sure you try to lock your bike in a busy, well-lit area so anyone trying to interfere with it will be spotted. Our campus has plenty of bike racks – there’s one in front of every building. Here’s a handy map of where bike racks are located around campus.

We generally recommend buying a sold secure tested lock, and if your bike is more expensive, it’s generally a good idea to buy a higher quality of lock.

Register your bike on BikeRegister

To give yourself peace of mind, make sure you register your bike on the BikeRegister national database.

Once you’ve registered, Security Services will mark it with a National Cycle Database kit free of charge, so that it can be easily identified if lost or stolen.

BikeRegister drop-ins take place at the Security office, on Monday to Friday, from 10am to 2pm, where the Security team can help you to register and mark your bike.

You can also book an appointment in advance.

Other tips to follow

• Make sure you’ve got your bike insured, either as specific cycle insurance or as a listed item under home/contents insurance.
• Write your postcode and house number on the frame of your bike with an ultraviolet pen.
• Always try and lock your bike in a busy, well-lit area so anyone trying to interfere with it will be spotted. Here’s a handy map of where bike racks are located around campus.
• Don’t leave removable items such as lights, saddle bags or panniers on your bike when you leave it.

What to do if you see something suspicious

If you notice anything suspicious on campus or University property including Halls of Residences, then contact Security Services or report it on the SafeZone app.

And if you witness a crime, or are unlucky enough to be a victim of crime, report it both to the police and the University’s Security Services.

Happy cycling this summer!

Find out more about Security Services.

Contact the Bike Hub for more information,

geothermal drilling site

Major milestone reached as geothermal work picks up pace

A collaborative project between Estates and the Sustainability Service is a step closer to discovering if geothermal energy underground campus can be used to heat buildings after reaching a major milestone.

The geothermal drilling stage of the project has now been completed at locations across campus and has provided experts with promising early results.

Testing of open and closed-loop boreholes has shown indications of excellent geothermal capacity and of possible optimal groundwater yield, which are both indicators of thepotential for geothermal energy underground.

If successful, the project could provide a clean, sustainable source of heat that reduces our reliance on both fossil fuels and electricity.

Drilling is continuing to take place on pilot wells on campus, which are helping to understand the ground model for geothermal drilling works.

Work will continue until the end of July, however the space required for operations will continue to be reduced over time.

Manhole chambers for closed-loop boreholes have now been installed at the Mechanical Engineering Building, Henry Price Residences and the Maurice Keyworth Building and returned to the University.

The project, which is part of the University’s Net Zero Delivery Plan, is bringing together experts from the Facilities Directorate and the academic community alongside specialists from ANTS Drilling and engineering firm Buro Happold.

David Oldroyd, Interim Director of Development at the University of Leeds, said: “This is an exciting collaborative project, with partners from both inside and outside of the University working closely together to make positive progress

“This work has the potential to save money, provide a more sustainable way of heating campus in line with the University’s Net Zero goals and set an example for future energy innovation.”

Find out more by visiting our project page and the Sustainability Services’s website.

Image credit: Ben Craven

Image of Fareeda Al Wakeel, Susan Preston, Bethan Corner and Vicky Zhuo holding their green plaques together

Green plaque scheme celebrates students making a difference to campus spaces

A new initiative that celebrates University of Leeds students who have made a difference to campus spaces and university life has been launched.

New green plaques have been unveiled at an event at the Postgraduate Research Lounge and will later be installed at the sites of four campus projects developed following student suggestions and feedback.

Each plaque details the contributions individual students have made towards getting each project off the ground, whether through activism, campaigning or by working with Leeds University Union.

The scheme has been developed by Leeds University Union and the Estates team to recognise the contributions students are making to the future development of campus.

Student-led projects being celebrated include the accessible lift in the Parkinson building, the Postgraduate Research Lounge, the Women in STEM Conference and the common lounge for commuter students.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation & Development said:

“Our campus is only relevant because of all the amazing things our students and staff undertake here at Leeds. Celebrating the successes through the Green Plaques is so exciting as it makes both people and place relevant.

“As we reshape the campus through Campus re-imagined we want to keep learning from all our University communities to make sure we are achieving our aim of creating amazing spaces on campus that are sustainable, inclusive, and innovative.”

Among the students being recognised is Fareeda Al Wakeel, who studies Medical Engineering at the University. Fareeda initiated the Women in STEM Conference, which celebrates women working in STEM related disciplines.

fareeda posing with her lecturer for a picture

She said:

“This plaque is a symbol of me being heard and appreciated. This started off as a really small idea. I wondered to myself, ‘why aren’t there more female lecturers on my course teaching me any engineering related module’?

“That created a very nice case for me to go ahead and do something about it. Receiving something like this pushes me to do even better.”

The plaques will be installed later this year.

Catch up on the latest Campus Development news.

sofa and chairs at Maurice Keyworth foyer

Interior design team give campus a new year transformation

Interior designers at the University of Leeds have given several buildings on campus a new year’s makeover as part of efforts to provide students and staff with more flexible spaces to work, meet and study.

Spaces in the Refectory, Cavendish Road and the Maurice Keyworth Building are among those that have been re-designed by the team. Find out more about the work below:

Postgraduate Research Lounge

postgraduate lounge main space with desks and chairs

Located on the first floor of the Refectory Building, the Postgraduate Research Lounge is a new dedicated study and meeting space for postgraduate research students. Interior designers have completed a full redecoration of the space, providing a brighter and more versatile area for students. The team worked closely with Leeds University Union throughout the design process to make sure that the space met the needs of students.

Cavendish Road

cavendish road working space with desks, chairs and a sofa

Students from the School of English can now use their own dedicated study and collaborative space at Cavendish Road. The redecorated space on the top floor of the building has been kitted out with new furniture and has been designed to allow students to feel comfortable studying independently or collaboratively.

Leeds University Union ground floor

image of area in SU building with TV and co-working space

A new area next to the Leeds University Union helpdesk provides students with additional space to meet and work together. The space includes new charging ports, furniture, and a monitor for collaborative working.

Maurice Keyworth Building

sofa and chairs at Maurice Keyworth foyer

New furniture has been added to the foyer of the Maurice Keyworth Building as part of an ongoing trial, providing a more colourful and welcoming space for students, staff and visitors to meet.

Keep up to date with the latest development projects at the University of Leeds.

tulips in front of wavy bacon

Campus blooms into colourful spring landscape

For the University’s staff and students, there are a few sure signs that spring has well and truly arrived – lighter evenings, warmer days and, of course, the sight of campus springing into life.

Over the past few weeks, scores of flowers and plants across campus have bloomed, transforming the space into a colourful and scenic environment to work, study and meet in.

However, these aesthetic changes are not something left to chance.

For the University’s Grounds & Gardens team, the start of spring is the culmination of months of hard work.

The team logged a combined total of 700 working hours every week during winter to make sure that campus remained in the best condition possible.

They have planted over 14,000 bulbs and over 11,000 bedding plants and replaced over 200 shrubs and trees as part of their preparations for the start of spring.

Their hard work has enabled biodiversity to flourish. Wildflower turf has led to amazing all-year-round colour and pollination, native hedgerows have been planted for our campus birds, and ‘no mow’ areas have been protected. This has all allowed our very urban campus to become a haven for wildlife.

James Wright, Senior Maintenance Manager (Managed Services) at the University of Leeds said: “Our campus looks as good as it does now thanks to the planning, skill and hard work of the Grounds & Gardens team who maintain the space.

“The team’s work is helping us to create amazing spaces and places on campus, and to make everyone who uses our campus feel like they belong.”

As can be seen from the images below, their hard work has certainly paid off.

Follow Campus Developments on Instagram to find out more about what’s happening on campus.

 

cherry blossom outside ziffdaffodils outside Ziffdaffodils outside campustulips at wavy baconpink flower outside ziff

Ali Kteich

Ten minutes with Ali Kteich

Meet Ali Kteich, Senior Fitness Instructor at the University of Leeds. Ali is an ambassador of the Facilities Directorate’s Staff Voice programme, a forum where volunteer representatives from the directorate discuss ideas, questions and concerns raised by their colleagues and work together to find solutions.

Can you describe your job in a few sentences?

I work at the Edge as a Senior Fitness Instructor. I supervise a team of fitness instructors and work daily to improve the service we provide in Sport and Physical Activity.

Can you explain what the FD Staff Voice is from your perspective?

The FD Staff Voice is about coming together as a group to raise issues and improvements into the right channels, and then feeding back the actions that have been taken to improve our working environment to the wider service.

It’s almost like a bridge between the managers and the rest of the service. It’s already helping to enable two-way communication between senior people and the rest of the service.

How did you become involved in the FD Staff Voice?

Joining the FD Staff Voice was recommended to me by a manager, and I felt like it was a way I could make a difference.

I’m part of the service’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion panel, so I felt that I could bring some of my experience from that to Staff Voice to ensure everyone is being treated equally and fairly.

I also wanted to make sure that more staff felt empowered within the FD, and that more attention was given to details that would help to improve the working environment.

What does your role in the FD Staff Voice involve?

We gather the concerns and suggestions that have been raised to us by colleagues and make sure that they’re passed on to the right people and channels.

We also make sure that the right people are available to provide support for colleagues if needed.

What do you find to be beneficial about being a part of the programme?

I believe being a part of the FD Staff Voice is helping to improve my own performance. It’s beneficial for me to be able to feed back concerns and improvements from colleagues in terms of improving my own communication skills.

I work reduced hours due to my disability, so this programme is really helping me to progress on a personal level. It’s helping to meet more people and know more about the campus and how the university operates, which is really important and beneficial for me.

Why is the FD Staff Voice important for colleagues?

It is helping to improve the communication channels we have within our department, and to help facilitate communication and feedback between colleagues and their managers.

It’s also helping to make decisions easier for decision-makers, because they now have that direct channel of feedback from colleagues.

I can feel the willing among senior colleagues to resolve the issues that have been raised. I can see the impact that is being made, which makes it easier for people to tell us what they need.

What is your ambition for FD Staff Voice?

I want to make the workplace better for everybody, by making sure that it’s an enjoyable and comfortable place for people to work.

I want to see this scheme improving year after year. It’s just the first year, so I’m really hopeful that we’ll continue to get that support from managers across the department to make more genuine changes to the service.

Read our 10 minutes with FD Staff Voice champion, Matthew Whiteley and FD Staff Voice ambassador, Carla Tucker.

Geothermal drilling site on campus

Work starts on new geothermal drilling sites

Drilling has started on new locations on campus as part of an Estates-led project to discover whether geothermal energy can be used to heat campus buildings.

The latest round of work is taking place at locations near Henry Price Residences, Leeds University Business School and Storm Jameson.

Work on the site is expected to continue until mid-April and follows the successful completion of a borehole at a first site at the Henry Price Residences in mid-February.

If successful, it could provide a clean, sustainable source of heat that reduces our reliance on both fossil fuels and electricity.

A thirty-foot drilling rig has been on campus since the start of February and has already drilled to depths of over 150 metres as part of the project.

The holes being drilled include water wells, which are looking for underground water at the right temperature to use for geothermal energy and monitoring wells, which are used to check the impact of extracting heat on the surrounding areas.

The project, which is part of the University’s Net Zero Delivery Plan, is bringing together experts from the Facilities Directorate and the academic community alongside specialists from ANTS Drilling and engineering firm Buro Happold.

David Oldroyd, Interim Director of Development at the University of Leeds, said: “This is an exciting collaborative project, with partners from both inside and outside of the University working closely together to make positive progress.

“This work has the potential to save money, provide a more sustainable way of heating campus in line with the University’s Net Zero goals and set an example for future energy innovation.”

Pip Hunsworth, Associate Director at Buro Happold said: “I never expected when doing my undergraduate and MSc at the University of Leeds that I would be involved in a project on campus like this.

“A key part of our work involves collaborating with the academic teams to ensure the data that is obtained can be used as part of the university’s future works associated with their net zero ambitions. It’s exciting.”

Tom Beeson, Senior Engineering Geologist at Buro Happold said: “I’m very happy to be given the opportunity to be working on a renewable energy scheme in my local area. With the challenge of climate change at the forefront of Civil Engineering, we must find innovative solutions to decarbonise.”

Find out more by visiting our project page and the Sustainability team’s website.

Image credit: Ben Craven

Carla Tucker from the Sustainability Service

Ten minutes with Carla Tucker

Meet Carla Tucker, Sustainability Project Co-ordinator. Carla is one of the Facilities Directorate’s Staff Voice Ambassadors.

The FD Staff Voice is a forum where volunteer representatives from the directorate discuss ideas, questions and concerns raised by their colleagues and work together to find solutions.

Read our interview with FD Staff Voice Champion, Matthew Whiteley.

Can you describe your role in a few sentences?

I’m the Sustainability Project Co-ordinator and a member of the Sustainability Service. My role is to manage our certified Environmental Management System (EMS), alongside the Environmental Compliance Officer. It’s a framework that the university uses to minimise risk and maximise opportunities with regards to the potential environmental impact of its activities.

My day-to-day includes building inspections, audits, reviewing EMS documents and providing EMS information to staff and students.

What is the FD Staff Voice?

The FD Staff Voice is almost like an experiment that looks to bring about positive culture change within the FD. It’s a group of people working together to make the working experience for everyone in the FD better.

Why is the FD Staff Voice important for colleagues?

It’s self-empowering. Yes, we can’t change everything, but here’s an opportunity where you can have actual input, which could potentially bring about lasting change. I know people can be sceptical when programmes like this start, but it’s something worth doing and having input in. It could make a difference.

I can appreciate that this is a long-term process, and it may take some time before you might see lasting results, but I don’t think people should be discouraged by that. Especially when you’re working in a large organisation with so many different work areas, getting everyone on the same page takes time. But we will get there.

How did you become involved in the FD Staff Voice?

I was already looking to do some volunteering work that would enable me to meet more members of staff from both inside and outside the Directorate, because a part of my role is to promote the EMS.

A manager approached me to ask if I’d be interested in representing the Sustainability Service for the FD Staff Voice programme. I read the description and thought that it sounded interesting. In a previous role, I helped with a social and sports club, so I could see the value of a programme like this and what it can create in the future.

What is beneficial about being involved in the programme?

As I said, a part of my role involves promoting the EMS, and I’ve been able to meet people from different areas to do that. It’s been useful to find out how other teams and departments function and why things are the way they are. I’ve even met someone who was able to give me advice on an issue I found in an inspection.
For me, just meeting and working with people, you really get to see their personality, which I think is really cool.

What would you like to achieve on the programme?

It’s still a new thing, so I haven’t been able to think too much about specific ambitions, but one thing I’d like to do is to work with the rest of the group to formalise processes to help the FD Staff Voice become a sustainable programme.

Even if it allows people to engage with people they don’t usually interact with, it definitely adds value.

Find out more about the FD Staff Voice.

Rosa Quintana with the Grounds & Gardens team.

New exhibition celebrating work of Grounds & Gardens team opens

A photography exhibition created by a Facilities Directorate colleague that celebrates the work of the University’s Grounds & Gardens team has opened.

‘Behind the greens’, which is the work of Cleaning Services team member Rosa Quintana, will be on display in the Refectory foyer until Thursday 14th March.

Rosa, who has a professional background in photography, shadowed the team throughout the year to capture 24 striking images of colleagues working through sun, rain and snow to keep campus in top condition.

Rosa’s latest exhibition

It is the second time that Rosa has exhibited her work at the University after her 2022 exhibition ‘Unobtrusive Impact’, which focused on the vital efforts of the University’s Cleaning Services team in keeping the University safe during the pandemic.

She said:

“Gardeners make our walks around the university more pleasant. Everyone likes green areas around us. We enjoy them, we take advantage of the peace and beauty that they generate.

“We rarely stop to think who is behind it all, making possible the colours of every season. Who plants, who feeds, who takes care of and looks after the plants and trees around us?

“These people who do everything from looking after the green areas, keeping the campus clean and even the bins empty. These almost hidden people enrich our experience so subtly.”

Recognising the hard work of the team

Rob Wadsworth, Director of Campus Innovation at the University of Leeds, said:

“Rosa’s exhibition celebrates the important and often tireless work of our Grounds and Gardens team, who make sure that our campus looks its best all-year round.

“This work is an example of what our teams within our Facilities Directorate can achieve when we collaborate and shines a light on the role our directorate plays in ensuring that students and staff are in an environment where they can flourish, succeed and make a difference.”

Find out more about Rosa’s work by visiting her portfolio website.

You can share your favourite photos of the exhibition by tagging @UoLCampusDevelopment on Instagram.

Image of Matthew Whiteley

Ten minutes with Matthew Whiteley

Meet Matthew Whiteley, Residence Service Supervisor at the University of Leeds. Matthew is one of the Facilities Directorate’s Staff Voice Champions.

The FD Staff Voice is a forum where volunteer representatives from the directorate discuss ideas, questions and concerns raised by their colleagues and work together to find solutions.

This is the first in a series of interviews with FD Staff Voice volunteers.

Can you describe your job in a few sentences?

My job is to provide a great service for the students living in our accommodation. We do everything, from maintenance and admin support to welfare. A large part of the job that I do specifically is to organise the accessible equipment for the whole department.

It’s a job that you can make whatever you want out of it – if you prefer more admin, behind-the-desk work, you can do that. Alternatively, if you want to be more practical and hands-on, there’s definitely scope to do that. I think I sit very much in the middle. I like to specialise in everything I can.

Can you explain what the FD Staff Voice is from your perspective?

Staff Voice is a platform for members of the Facilities Directorate to meet and discuss how we can improve the working environment, our connections across the FD and how we can work more closely together. It’s about discussion, it’s about being open-minded and it’s about looking to the future.

How did you become involved in the FD Staff Voice?

My senior management team promoted it when it was first established last summer, and I was encouraged to apply as it would be good for my development.
I was pleased that this initiative was largely marketed at grades two to five as I know some of those colleagues can find it harder to suggest and effect change in their departments.

What does your role in the FD Staff Voice involve?

It’s about taking feedback from colleagues, about discussing ideas and listening to issues and how we can turn that into positive change for the department. It is also about feeding back to my colleagues so they see that their ideas can really make a difference to our working environment.

What do you find to be beneficial about being a part of the programme?

It’s helping colleagues and helps to make a difference and lasting change, and it’s also really good to make connections, both across my wider department and across the FD.
I’ve met so many people from areas that I thought would have nothing to do with my job, and yet, when you meet them and talk to them, you realise that we’re working towards the same goal.

What would you like to achieve as part of the group?

My ambition is to use the platform to be a voice: quite literally what it says on the tin. I want to take feedback from colleagues and to be able to take that to a higher level.
We have a meeting coming up soon to discuss how we can implement changes based on the staff survey that was completed last year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how those changes can positively impact our day-to-day lives at work.

Why is the FD Staff Voice important to colleagues?

It’s about giving people a voice.

It’s already in the consciousness of the department. People are already open to discussing ideas, so we can take that forward as Staff Voice develops, because it is a new thing and is evolving.

There’s a lot of work going on in the background, behind-the-scenes for Staff Voice. It is new, it is still evolving and it’s still developing. Where we’re at now with Staff Voice is not where we’re going to be forever. It will become a much bigger part of the day-to-day experience of working in the FD.

Find out more about the FD Staff Voice.