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Aberdeen students bring community together with virtual festival

Robert Gordon University campus
Robert Gordon University campus

Robert Gordon University (RGU) students have raised more than £2,000 for two local charities after organising a virtual festival.

The Aberdeen Student Festival is an award-winning multi-arts festival run by third-year students on the events management course at RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business.

With a focus on community, culture and escapism, the festival has had to be run in a digital format for the second year in a row due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

However, during this challenging time for university students, the events cohort came together to adapt their learning to organise a virtual festival and raised £2,637.

The cash was raised for Miscarriage Information Support Services (MISS) and Childline Aberdeen (NSPCC).

Marley Lawrence, one of the third-year events management students planning the festival, said: “Studying events management over the past year and has been a struggle, to say the least, it has left me and many within the industry feeling doubtful about the future which it will hold.

“With every event being cancelled in the past year it has been undoubtedly challenging to gain the practical experience, which is crucial to us as students, but being involved within the Aberdeen Student Festival 2021 has helped us in moving forward out of this troublesome era for events

“The online learning experience has been challenging, however, the resilience and support from my classmates and lecturers have made organising the festival not only beneficial to my learning but an unforgettable experience.”

The festival brought a collective of five new events to varied attendees from the north-east, as well as wider UK.

The RGU events management team

The students brought together an eclectic mix of different concepts representing the local community and culture under the theme of escapism.

The aim was to provide partnership and solutions, responding to the ever-growing need for human contact in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Katherine Jones, lecturer of events management at RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business, said: “The current restrictions, unfortunately, meant we could not run a physical festival this 2021.

“However, as part of their studies, we wanted to challenge the students to run a virtual event allowing them to showcase their skills and take part in an industry engaged assessment as well as host a digital experience in which the wider community could participate in.

“They have done so well in making innovative response and adapting their learning over the past three years of studies.

“We are so proud of their achievements for the festival charities for 2021 as well as the experience they have gained inclusive of new skills in running virtual events, particularly relevant in these changing times.”

MISS will use donations to expand their support service and create their memory boxes, support packs, and next pregnancy packs for those who have suffered a miscarriage.

For Childline, donations will go directly towards their Aberdeen base, answering calls from children in the north-east and beyond.

Linda Hamilton, community fundraising manager at NSPCC, said: “NSPCC Scotland are delighted to have been supported by the Aberdeen Student Festival, this offered a vital chance to highlight the work of NSPCC in the local area and ultimately allow us to be there for more children in Scotland.”

Louise Cormack, MISS secretary, added: “MISS have been so impressed with the programme of events the students have pulled together, their fundraising and activities have been so innovative and enthusiasm of support has been truly appreciated.

“We have been so grateful to have been one of the beneficiaries for this year.”

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