EVERYTHING HAPPENED. LITERALLY. I’m pushing my luck with the word count this month and I’ve split this into a two-parter, so let’s get started. Are you strapped in? Good…
Space Conferences, ft. snow
We’ll start with the Second Annual Loughborough Space Conference, held in West Park on Wednesday 21st February. This was a big day for many reasons; it was the first conference I’d hosted, it was the biggest (and most expensive) event the society had ever run, and to top it off, the last formal event of my 18-month tenure as Chair of the Space Society. Needless to say, I was bricking it.
This event took a huge effort from the committee to organise and run, but thankfully the evening was an incredible success (Shout-out to vice chair Erin for being instrumental to the whole show). We welcomed five incredible speakers (from Copenhagen Suborbitals, Loughborough Uni Physics Dept., Airbus Defence & Space, Reaction Engines and BrainFly), two of which we flew in from Europe, and over 200 guests – a whopping 50% increase over last year’s event. We also took over the University’s Snapchat for the day!
Fun story; I actually met the 5th speaker, Jelle Gheldof, in a Slovenian pub back in 2016, and we chatted about space over a Laško. A year or so later, Jelle made his way on to the ESA team behind BrainFly and having seen his escapades on Facebook, I invited him over to speak. I like to think of this as an important life lesson about
beer networking; you never know what incredible person you’re going to meet next, so get chatting!
The following weekend, a small contingent from the space society travelled down to Surrey for the UKSEDS 30th Annual National Student Space Conference. It was a fantastic weekend of industry-leading speakers and workshops; at least it would’ve been if the #BeastFromTheEast didn’t have other plans… I was travelling down separately by train and getting past London that weekend was nigh-on impossible due to the snow. However, after a solid 12 hours of travelling and a brief unplanned stop-off at my mates in Lewisham (trains don’t run at 2 in the morning, who knew?), I finally made it.
Despite a couple of cancellations, the conference went smoothly, and I got to meet Dr Suzie Imber (winner of the BBC 2 show Astronauts: Do you Have What it Takes?). The best news came right at the end of the weekend though; Loughborough Space Society was named UKSEDS Branch of the Year!
#LboroSpaceWalkOnWater (Content warning: nostalgia incoming)
It’s a bit surreal to think that, a mere 18 months ago, the Space Society existed only as an idea. The journey since has had its highs and lows, but I couldn’t be more proud of the society, and more thankful to my committee, our members, and LSU Societies, for making it what it is today. The society has run over 40 events, managed a turnover in excess of £12,000, and welcomed over 150 members across two years. In addition, it currently holds the title of Best New Society in the UK, 2nd Best Society in the UK, and UKSEDS Branch of the Year.
By the time you read this, I will have stepped down as Chair and handed over to the very capable Max Rigby. I never in a million years believed we would be this successful, and I’m incredibly humbled by the whole experience. If you have ever considered starting a society, I can promise you’re in for one hell of a ride, so GO FOR IT.
(Nostalgia over, you can stop scrolling now!) Speaking of the #BeastFromTheEast, we had several chilly days on campus and the Uni Fountain froze over again. I’m not one to complain though, it looked rather pretty at sunset so I managed a quick snap on my way to Ambassador training in Hazlerigg the other week…
Murder at the Kelso
I’d like to take this opportunity to simultaneously shoutout LSU Stage Soc for hosting an awesome show and encourage you to attend one of their events in future. The other Tuesday, they held a secret-cinema-meets-Cluedo murder mystery at the Kelso in town. It’s 1923, in a cocktail party in London, and suddenly the host (George Sinclair) is MURDERED. You must chat with the other partygoers to extract information and work out who the killer is when everyone has a motive… I became Henry Hart, a 47yr old Jazz Club owner and business competitor to George; and bumped into fellow blogger Anastasia (or should I say Aileen Love, 25yr old Jazz Singer and love interest to the deceased) – compulsory blogger photo attached! The night went south when I (wrongly) accused the vicar of murder and ended up in a fight with Winston Churchill & Albert Einstein (No historical figures were harmed during the night and much fun was had by all).
That’s all for this time, but keep an eye out for Part Deux, where we’ll explore the world of human testing, (butterfly catching) Lacrosse, and the life of a mechanical engineer…