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Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Reflections of a Commonwealth Professional Fellow

Sampson Atiemo

When I arrived in Northampton on the 2nd of February 2014 to take up this fellowship, I was full of uncertainties and anxieties. I did not know the calibre of staff I will be meeting, what will be their attitude towards me and what I intend to do here. At the time of applying for this fellowship I contacted Prof. Margaret Bates (Centre for Sustainable Wastes) because she was the only academic I knew in the UK then. My first day in the University on the 3rd February gave me a clear idea of what expect from staff and students of the University; A WARM WELCOME!

From office to office I see broad smiles on the faces of people. Everybody wants to say Hi and ask about Ghana and the kind of research I was here to conduct. Thanks Dr. Waleed Montasser for conducting me round the University (both Avenue and Park campuses). My first meeting with Margaret to plan the itinerary for my visit was another exciting task. From page to page in the diary we pencilled all the visits, meetings and conferences to be attended. On my return to St. John’s Hall of Residence I wondered whether all these could be achieved within a space of three months!

The purpose of my fellowship was to study Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management in the UK and see which aspects and what practical solutions can be implemented within the Ghana context. With these objectives in mind, my visits were so carefully planned by Margaret and other Colleagues at the Centre to the extent that nothing was left behind. Starting with our visit to the Environment Agency in Solihull, the EnvironCom (Grantham), presentation at the S&T meeting of CIWM and travels to Leeds, Preston, Cardiff, Swansea, Coventry, Shrewsbury, Cambridge, Bletchley Park, Foxton Locks, Oxford or London etc. it was all fun as well as eye opening.

Through this fellowship, I have been to places and attended meetings I would only dream about. Sitting in such a high level meeting as Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) at British Parliament Committees sitting room is more than any fellow can ask for. After the meeting at the British Parliament and thanks to Barry Sheerman (MP) we went through the member’s only section the Westminster hall and lobby of the House of Lords and House of Commons at a time the Queen was celebrating Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey, I said myself, I can go back to Ghana now!

Capping it up with a visit to the Buckingham Palace made it even more wonderful. The fellowship in the University has made me meet top echelons of the wastes sector in UK and built a vast network that would remain indelible throughout my professional career and beyond.

Thanks to the University! Thanks to the Centre for Sustainable Wastes Management. To Margaret and her team, I say thank you. I would still select the University of Northampton even if I know one thousand more academics in the UK!!

From Left: Robert Reinhart, Sampson Atiemo, Barry Sheerman and Margaret Bates