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Burch Students Travel to the University of Hull

July 14, 2023 Train station

Today’s day started out a little rough but ended up finishing very strong. We had to be at the train station by 7 am, as we were supposed to take a train straight to Hull. Suffice to say, it did not end up working out like that. Our train ended up being delayed for over an hour, and when it finally came, we found that it would only be able to take us halfway to Hull. The train company thankfully rented us taxis when we reached this midway destination and we were able to make it to Hull around 11:45 am.

After dropping our bags off at the Holiday Inn Express, we were finally ready to make our way to the University of Hull, where were greeted by Stephanie Gleeson, Hull’s study abroad administrator. She showed us our lunch options and gave us the location where we were to meet later that day. We were then allowed to explore the campus on our own and discover all that the University had to offer. Four other students and I chose to partake in a debate that was being hosted in one of the classrooms within the Business building. We met the Director of the Centre for British Politics, Dr. Matt Beech, who also happened to be the “judge” in the mock debate that we were a part of. Within this debate, we were split into two groups: one proposing the dismantlement of the British monarchy, and the other defending it. I was placed on the proposing side with another one of my classmates, alongside three University of Hull students. Both sides brought up good points; for example, I argued against the high costs that the British Monarchy imposes on public funds, and they countered with the thought that although they do spend outrageous amounts of money, they do bring money back into the economy through tourism. Ultimately, both sides put up good arguments, with Dr. Beech eventually siding with the defending side.

Director of the Centre for British Politics, Dr. Matt Beech at the University of Hull, UNC Burch Cleantech Europe trip.
Director of the Centre for British Politics,  Matt Beech at the University of Hull, UNC Burch Cleantech Europe trip.

The entire class then met back up at the entrance to the University of Hull, where we were given presentations by Simon Green, Interim Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research, Stephen Hardy, the Dean of Faculty of Business, Law, and Politics, and Dr. Agota Mockute, a National Environmental Research Council member and our ambassador to the Aura Innovation Centre. The first of these presentations, by Simon Green, was mainly an introductory one meant to educate us on the core principles and values of the University, and the different avenues in which it operates. Stephen Hardy was the next speaker and spoke about the importance of policy as a stimulus within the sustainable industry space. He explained the difference between the UK’s political groups, and how the two dominant ones, Labour and Conservative, have begun leeching policies and ideologies from the Green party in order to take advantage of this ever-growing part of the voting populous. Lastly, Dr. Agota Mockute spoke to us about her work with the Aura Innovation Center, a collaboration of research and ideas between the University and industry.

After these presentations, we met in the conference/art gallery within the library for dinner and drinks and had the opportunity to meet with various colleagues from the University of Hull. I myself spoke with Dr. Agota Mockute and a colleague of hers, James Gilbert, about the effects of wave loading on monopile-supported wind turbines and how they affect their total lifetime. We also spoke about the complicated process of the construction of the massive blades required for these wind turbines, where I learned that every blade needs to be reworked after the resin finishes curing as they have not found a way to perfect the process yet.

After networking to our hearts’ content, we made our way back to the bus and headed back to the hotel.

About the Author

This article was written by: James “Cef” Killebrew, Environmental Studies Major, Class of 2025, Connect on Linkedin