RGU’s Top Moments of 2021

2021 may still not have been the year we quite expected, but with restrictions being lifted earlier in the year we could once again see staff and students on campus, and adjust to pandemic life out with Zoom calls.

Before we say goodbye to 2021 and head into 2022, we wanted to reflect on some of the top moments our RGU community have had this year. Even though it has been another tough year, there are plenty of special events and milestones worth recognising!

In no particular order, let’s celebrate RGU’s top moments of 2021.

1. Welcoming our new Chancellor – Evelyn Glennie

A huge welcome to our new Chancellor, Dame Evelyn Glennie who joined RGU earlier this year after Sir Ian Wood stepped down following 16 years in the role. A previous Honorary Graduate, Dame Evelyn was officially welcomed in September at the Installation Ceremony held on campus, and will play a crucial ambassadorial role, helping to raise RGU’s profile regionally, nationally and internationally.

2. Top modern university of UK* and Scotland

We were thrilled to be listed as Top Modern University of the UK* and Scotland in the National Student Survey 2021 AND Top Modern University in Scotland in the Complete University Guide 2022. If that wasn’t good enough, we also retained our position among top 10 in UK* and Scotland for overall student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2021). We can’t stop smiling!

*excluding colleges, small, specialist and private providers. Based on HESA listings

3. RGU pledges commitment to climate action

This year saw RGU join the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges, pledging our commitment to reducing emissions in the drive towards Net Zero.

Our Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve Olivier stated “We understand that without urgent interventions, the pace of climate change will continue to accelerate. This is why we have a strategic commitment to reduce our environmental impact.”

Find out more about our net zero ambitions on the RGU website.

4. On-campus Open Days

With our last on-campus Open Days being in autumn 2019, we were ecstatic to be able to host events on campus once again. This autumn we hosted 3 Open Days and were so happy to see prospective students back on our riverside campus. Our campus and buildings were once again buzzing with people coming to speak to course leaders, students, support services and much more. We have missed you so much!

5. RGU awarded £1.7 million to support regional recovery

Awarded from the Scottish Government as part of the Economic Recovery and Skills fund for the north east of Scotland, RGU is using this funding to deliver initiatives focused on entrepreneurship, health, social care, and upskilling those that are most disadvantaged or affected by the impact of energy transition on the region or the pandemic, either individually or because of the sector they work in.

To date this has included a suite of fully funded health and social care short courses, and a Regional Startup Accelerator programme which will support early-stage entrepreneurs – with ambitious and innovative business ideas – living in the North East of Scotland.

6. RGU’s rainbow staircase

In honour of Pride Month and to showcase RGU’s dedication to inclusivity, an exciting new project launched together with RGU Union’s LGBTQIA+ Network, RGU’s Rainbow Network and student Equality Champions.

Our rainbow staircase which leads from the side of Sir Ian Wood Building down towards the River Dee is painted in the Progressive Pride Flag colours and is an exciting permanent addition to our campus!

Find out what our staff and students had to say about the project and what this collaboration meant to them.

7. Aberdeen Business School’s success

It has been a good year, no… GREAT year for our Aberdeen Business School! 2021 saw Aberdeen Business School join the prestigious Small Business Charter accreditation in recognition of its business support, entrepreneurship education and engagement within the local economy. There are only 3 business schools in Scotland with this accreditation.

But that is not all, we have also become the first university in Scotland to offer a project management degree that is recognised as a route to chartered status. Well done Aberdeen Business School!

8. International Women’s Day

This year we celebrated International Women’s Day by taking part in the #choosetochallenge conversation where we focused on Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Students Lena (Applied Biomedical Science), Martina (Electronic and Electrical Engineering), Simona (Computer Science), Nadia (Biomedical Science) and Vishakha (PhD Architecture and Built Environment) tell us why it is important to have female representation in STEM subjects and share their aspirations for the future. If you are a woman in STEM or interested in getting involved in STEM this is well worth a watch.

9. RGU awarded UNICEF UK baby friendly initiative gold award

Another first, not just for RGU, but for a university! Yes, that is right, RGU is the first university in Scotland to be awarded this accolade as a mark of sustained quality in student midwifery and health visiting programmes, ensuring students are prepared for practice. An amazing achievement from our colleagues in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practice. Find out more on the RGU website.

10. In-person winter graduation ceremonies

For the first time in two years, we have had our first set of graduations in person. We were delighted to see our students graduate this winter at the Music Hall in Aberdeen. Congratulations to our latest RGU graduates, it was so great to be reunited and to be able to share this moment with you.

*We promise we have not forgotten about our 2020 graduates. For those students who were unable to graduate in person due to the pandemic, our intention remains to offer a ceremonial event to recognise their academic achievements alongside their peers and family. Students will be sent more information when it becomes available.*

11. Celebrating our creative students

Regardless of the pandemic, our students are still keen to showcase their hard work. For many this has meant contributing to virtual exhibitions such as the Gray’s Digital Degree Show and The Scott Sutherland School Digital Exhibition.

This winter however, our Postgraduate students from Gray’s School of Art put on the first in-person exhibition focusing on themes such as the environment and the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope that 2022 will bring back many more in-person exhibitions and that this is just the start!

12. RGU is the first university in the UK to provide Schwartz Rounds for all students

Schwartz Rounds provides a structured forum to regularly come together to discuss the emotional and social aspects of work and study. Originally focused on healthcare, a Round runs as a reflective space for people to share their own experiences around a central title, and feel supported through discussions about the challenges and rewards intrinsic to their discipline.

Damilola Adesanya, Student President (Education & Welfare), takes us through the concept and origins of Schwartz Rounds and how they can help support the wellbeing of our students.

13. RGU’s social media content

We may be biased but RGU has some of the best creative content out on their social media channels. The relaxation of rules this year has allowed the social team at RGU to meet up on campus and get those creative juices flowing. Here are some of our favourite reels and videos from 2021.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and tag us in your RGU content @robertgordonuni

Bus etiquette – how many of these are you guilty of?

It wouldn’t be Halloween without our beloved pumpkin head, who seems to have made a friend!

The festive spirit is high at RGU, just take a look at how our School of Computing and School of Engineering are lending their expertise with these festive challenges!

14. Dissertation hand-in photos

A favourite that made our 2020 highlights too, this year we saw the return of our students being back on campus to hand in their dissertations, but for some it wasn’t quite possible. We LOVE the creativity our students have put into devising the perfect dissertation hand-in. Which is your favourite?

15. Being back together

It might sound a bit cheesy, but how could we not end RGU’s top moments of 2021 without mentioning the best thing of all, being back together. Ok so it might not be how we know it pre-pandemic, but this year gave a lot of staff and students the opportunity to see each other face to face.

Gratitude is how we are ending 2021, thankful for being able to share some of those highlights in person again. We all know that we can’t predict what will happen tomorrow, let alone next week, but let’s celebrate the RGU community and look forward to more in-person interactions in 2022!

RGU wishes you all the best for 2022!