Enhancing the Student Experience
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Posted May 10th, 2017 by Jasmine Lui
Last month professionals from university estates, facilities, and architecture and contractor backgrounds gathered for the annual Higher Education Estates (HEE) forum in Northamptonshire. Featuring a packed schedule of seminars, business meetings and networking events, Associate Andy Newman reflects on his experience as a delegate.
As a first time attendee at the HEE forum this year, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was given some idea of the format from my colleague Gary, who had attended a similar event, the Physical Activity Facilities (PAF) Forum, but apart from a list of other attendees and their companies, I didn’t have much idea of what I was getting myself into.
What I found was a large, well-organised event with a huge selection of companies in attendance. The itinerary of events included some great presentations from other firms, including one from David Morley Architects on the importance of keeping active and how this can be integrated into both the internal and external spaces we generate. Getting the chance to listen to other industry experts speak and share ideas was invaluable and it certainly provided a lot of food for thought.
Although the forum is predominately focussed on higher education, I found myself having lots of interesting conversations with attendees about one of LK2’s specialisms - sport and leisure and how these sectors often intertwine with education and even retail. One of the key things I took away from these networking opportunities wasn’t just a list of important contacts, but the reassurance that every architecture firm – no matter what size or profile – comes up against the same issues and it was great to be able to get together with like-minded people and troubleshoot problems.
Overall I feel that my experience at the forum was very positive. My advice to anyone attending would be to think carefully about the message you want to take with you and how you will present this. With meeting a vast amount of people in a small space of time, I found the three things that I remembered people by was the product or service they offered, their personality and their presentation. Do try to relax and don’t feel pressured into being or selling something you’re not. People like authenticity, and don’t want to do business with people that seem disingenuous. It’s important to have a shared vision and morals and through events like the HEE forum, professionals in our industry can collaborate in a positive environment.
I look forward to the next event and taking what I’ve learned from the HEE forum forward.