Leicester on Tour, from Beijing to Bristol

Posted by tac22 at Dec 18, 2017 11:25 AM |
The University’s Chinese alumni population is blooming, and with around 2,000 new students joining the University each year, the numbers are only going to increase.

University representatives visited Beijing last week to meet with alumni and explore partnership opportunities. This included an alumni reception on 10 December, attended by more than 60 alumni at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing, where they learned more about how the University is working with its alumni community through the establishment of alumni chapters and other types of networking. They also received an update from the Group Director of Philantrophy, Alumni and Community Engagement for the University Bill Friar about University developments and the forthcoming centenary plans.

While Bill Friar was catching up with alumni in Beijing, other members of the Alumni Relations team headed to Bristol to host another Leicester on Tour event. Around 20 alumni gathered at The Cosy Club, located in Bristol's city centre, with drinks and nibbles to complement the evening.

FeiFei and Yix
Feifei Hang and Yixaun Zhu
FeiFei Hang (MSc, Advanced Software Engineering, 2011) and Yixuan Zhu (MSc, Management, 2011) met whilst studying at the University of Leicester and are now married. At the reception in Beijing, they told us about their fond memories of their time as students at the University. “In June 2013 we got married, and two years later, our son was born, We decided to name him Lester to memorise our time at the University together and all of the wonderful memories we have of the city.”

Programme Director for Arts Museum and Gallery Studies Janet Marstine who attended the alumni event in Beijing highlights the strong museum studies alumni network there. “Our School of Museum Studies alumni across China are already very close and maintain strong ties for friendship and mutual career support.” she said “11 Museum Studies graduates attended the event, with one extremely devoted alumna taking a night train with her mother to meet us! They all really appreciate the recognition and backing of their efforts from the University’s Office of Philanthropy, Alumni and Community Engagement”

They also enjoyed meeting alumni from other departments and have begun to strategise how they will collaborate to organise other events and form an official alumni chapter. In the fast-paced and highly competitive professional world in China, this official chapter will serve an important role of providing a network for relationship building and for maintaining ties to the University which, in the words of one Museum Studies graduate, ‘gave me the spirit to find my own professional voice’.”

The evening enabled alumni to share nostalgic stories about their time at the University, with lots of them using the reception to network with their fellow Leicester graduates.The event offered a great opportunity for us to find out about what our alumni have been doing since their graduation, and to encourage them to stay in touch and develop their relationship further with the University.

The event ended enthusiastically, with alumni setting up a group on social platform WeChat. Attendees were keen to join the group to help them to stay connected with each other and to find out about University news and ways in which they can stay involved with the Alumni Relations team.

In Bristol, Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Relations Chris Shaw welcomed guests, updating them about University plans for 2018, and sharing with them how they might support students at the University through mentoring or ambassadorial roles. Chris also explained how a chapter might operate in Bristol, reaching out to the 800 or so alumni in the area. Many guests expressed their interest and were delighted that the event was held for them, some even asking when we were returning, before we had even said goodbye!

Charlie and Linda Hardwick, who met whilst studying at the University in 1992, were eager to check the registration list, to see if they recognised any names, or anyone from their graduation year. There were indeed two names they recognised, and they waited with a drink in hand to greet their friends from their university days. Leicester on Tour events offer a great platform for these kind of reunions.

In 2018, the Alumni Relations team will be taking ‘Leicester on Tour’ throughout the UK and internationally with the aim of engaging with as many alumni as possible. For details on dates and locations, please visit our events pages.

If you are interested in joining an existing chapter or setting up a new one, please contact the Alumni Relations team.

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