On Friday 1 October, The University of East London (UEL) kicked off autumn and the start of a new academic year with a fireworks event at the Stratford campus. With the weather being kind, local traders were on hand to serve up tasty outdoor street food as the University welcomed people from the local community to join in the fun.
Close to 1,000 people took part, including students, staff, friends and family. Many were residents from the Newham and east London area looking to enjoy the change of seasons.
With a large proportion of UEL students coming from east London, the University is keen to support and connect with the community. One example is UEL working closely with Newham Council to support the roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations and testing across the borough, using the University's multi-million pound SportsDock facility used as a vaccination clinic for the local community.
UEL hosted the event to bring 'campus and community' together and acknowledge the stresses and strains of the past 18 months. It was timed to mark the end of the first week of teaching for staff and students and a look forward to the coming academic year as a new and hopefully more optimistic chapter.
Michelle Morgan, dean of students at UEL, welcomed guests at the start of the evening's fiery entertainment. She said, "This fireworks festival is for you, our students, staff, families and the local community. You have worked so hard to get here and shown incredible resilience and determination. We are so proud of you and you should be so proud of yourselves. We know starting university is a new challenge in your life and we are excited to welcome you into our university community.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown many challenges our way, but we are back. We are here. And what better way than to start with a bang - quite literally!"
It was the first time the University had hosted such an event and there were plenty of smiles as everyone was wowed at the spectacle of the season's first big fireworks extravaganza.