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Community update from Vice-Chancellor Stuart Croft (24 July)

"Welcome to another one of our community updates.

It has been over 125 days since I did the first one of these videos and that was on the 20th of march, when I did a video, sitting in the office, speaking into a phone to say that we were going down the process of the lockdown. And if you remember, that was several days before Boris did his speech to say that we all had to go down that lockdown. 125 plus days. It's a long time and, partly because of that, I think this ought to be our last community update - at least for a little while.

Things have changed quite a lot and I've certainly noticed that the amount of correspondence from you coming in has declined really quite a lot, especially in the last last couple of weeks. That first video got 24 000 views. Quite, quite amazing and, in the first few months of our community update videos, there was more than 6 000 people watching what we were doing which is fantastic. And, since then, it's declined down and we're somewhere over a thousand now which is great - thank you all so much - who are still watching but you can see the way in which the engagement has just sort of fallen away somewhat and that's probably natural and normal. Normal is probably the wrong word to use because we're certainly not back to life as normal - not even a new normal - but there's a kind of regularity I think for most people, about life at the moment, and I think that regularity is something - Well Groundhog Day, I think some of you have referred it to me as Groundhog Day - but that regularity is now how we're operating our lives. I think the other thing, of course, is that, you know, here we are getting towards the end of July and people are taking - quite rightly - Annual Leave. I think, for quite a lot of people, staycation. Certainly, for us it's going to be a staycation this year and I know a few of you have said you are off, mainly to look to try and get cottages around the coast. I think the coast is going to get quite a bit of traffic over the course of the next few weeks but you know we're entering that period of summer holiday, so again probably time for us just to pull back on these community updates for a period of time. We'll look at it again in the autumn and we'll see what you want and what kind of stories and what kind of information is going on the autumn and see whether there's something to pick up.

Now, I know quite a lot of you are focused, very much, on the autumn. On this September period and what will it be like? How will we work? Well, we are going to do another one of our Extended Leaders fora on Monday and we'll be recording that and putting that up for people later on in the week so that you can see where the plans are at the moment. Please bear with us. I know everybody wants certainty but certainty is so difficult to get at the moment. The Government is changing policy quite a lot. It's quite difficult to see into the immediate future, in terms of where Government might go, and we, as you know are operating on the basis of focusing on health and safety for everyone as much as we can, while getting things back face to face as much as we safely can. So please do look out for that.

Now, I did mention staycations and I think quite a few people will be doing staycations this year. If you do anything interesting on staycation, even though we might not be doing these community updates for a period of time, just, just let me know. And, the reason I say that is, you know, a few people have said to me "well, you know, I'm gonna use two weeks. I'm gonna do 'that project'. 'That project' that I've wanted to do for some time." And 'that project', sometimes it's in the house, in the garden. Sometimes it's with neighbours, sometimes it's in the community. So, if there are things like that going on, still please let me know. We're still making good progress on our online lockdown project, our time capsule, and we hope to get some information by video out for you quite soon. There's quite a lot of complexity to to how we're going to put this together - not for you, but for us and for the team - so please, do look out for that over the next period of time. And, if over this summer period you are doing a project as part of that staycation, let me know. We'll add that to, add that to our lockdown time capsule project material as well.

Now, I did the most terrible thing, you know. In the last community update. At least, for a section of our community defined by age. The same sort of generation as me because you know I did. I talked about Blue Peter and I forgot the name of John Noakes' dog, Shep! -because lots of you told me it was, Shep! - and Gary kindly sent me in a picture of a Blue Peter album from 19... with Shep on the front. My only, only excuse for this terrible mistake, on my part, is I preferred Magpie to Blue Peter. Now, one other thing that's happened this week, that I thought I might just mention is, a man called Alan Goodman has passed away. Alan Goodman was an architect - 93 as he passed away over the course of the last week - and he was the University of Warwick's first architect. He, for 10 years from 1963, designed the buildings across the campus. The master plan and the design. And, in the obituary, one of the things it said he did is that he designed one building to look something like Kenilworth Castle, with an outside staircase. Sorry, not Kenilworth Castle, Warwick Castle, of course - with an outside staircase and I have no idea which of these buildings it really is. So, if you've got any idea or any knowledge of that origin, do again please, please let me know.

One of the things I'm going to be doing in my staycation, is working on my steps. I'm past one and a half million steps, everybody, since lockdown started. One and a half million steps and still going and, I know everybody says this, but, honestly, I do feel better for it. I do feel better for that exercise and it has shown me how little exercise I was getting in pre-normal life and how important it is, actually, to take some of the changes that we have made in this period of time and keep them for the future. Thanks everybody for watching and for engaging in these community updates. They've been great fun to do. We are going to pause them, as I say, at this period of time, see what happens over the course of the of the summer and then into the early part of the next term and, if there's interest, if you want to pick them up again, I'll be only too happy to do so. But, thank you all so much for watching.

Hopefully everyone's going to get at least some form of break over the course of the next month or so and I hope you have a lovely, wonderful summer break, ready to come back for the new academic year.

Best wishes to you all."

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Croft.