Back in 1907 when William Herd-Griggs wrote ‘Good old Sussex by the Sea!’ the University of Sussex didn’t even exist. Over half a century later in 1961 the glorious University of Sussex was amongst a project of constructing Campus Universities which included Warwick, East Anglia, Kent and York.
The purpose of these universities was to build bubbles of academia which students could thrive in. These were to be without the distractions of the busy city bustle. They were built with the intention of allowing students to flourish free from the worries of the outside world. These ‘bubbles’ were to be villages of intellectualism detached from the cities they were aligned to. However, as time went on these universities came to develop a bond of interconnectedness with their neighbours. These universities now enjoy strong connections with the city of Norwich and the University of East Anglia both heavily reliant upon each other whilst Kent’s two campuses have really fostered strong networks with the local communities both at its Maidstone and Canterbury campuses. Sussex too has now become synonymous with the city of Brighton. University students studying at Sussex are proud of their inherent sense of ‘Brightonian’ whilst Brightonians are in turn proud of their city’s second university (of course there is the excellent University of Brighton).
The University of Sussex has pushed on in the twenty-first century building itself as a well respected and reputable institute of learning. After a four year spell spent outside the ‘Complete University Rankings’ top twenty(www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/sussex/performance) Sussex has returned to the sub-twenty club for 2017. The university has particularly excelled in recent years in American Studies where it places second for 2017 as well as top ten finishes in Anatomy & Physiology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Marketing.
The university has now become about a lot more than simply competing in league tables and despite its impressive performance the institute places great importance upon its ties with the local community. The university has successfully put together the ‘Role Models’ scheme which is a peer-led mentoring project between the University’s Student Union and BACA (Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, Falmer) where student reps are able to deliver PSHEE lessons and other valuable education to deprived pupils at the Academy. The university offers a whole range of other volunteering schemes which typically encompasses both students and locals of the Brighton and Hove area.
The University has also been a constant source of income to the local economy with just under 15,000 undergraduates and 3,500 postgraduates utilising the local property market. The university also is believed to generate over 2,000 jobs for locals making the university one of the city’s biggest employers.
The University has obviously brought a number of tangible benefits to the city of Brighton and it’s clear that it is a mutual relationship of prosperity that the city and institute shares. In no sense is the idea of an isolated bubble of snobbery transmitted as was first feared with the university construction. In fact in reality something quite different has occurred. The city and the university now rely heavily upon each other to thrive. The university is now very much part of Brighton’s heritage and Brighton is now well engrained as part of the university’s identity.
Now a days when Herd-Griggs’ chorus of ‘Good old Sussex by the Sea!’ rings around we can now very much say the county chorus encapsulates too the shared legacy the University Sussex has helped us as a region develop.
What do you think of the city’s second university? Are there any negatives to it?