The student voice: One postgraduate’s role in the future of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc
One University of Northampton student has seen his passion for urban and rural development get an extra lift after joining a panel to discuss the future of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is an area in central England formed of five counties, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.
Plans for the Arc aim to boost the economies of towns in the area – including Northampton – and forge links between the local universities.
Universities in the Arc region are collaborating to boost the region’s contribution to the national economy. As part of this, postgraduate students from these universities have come together for workshops to discuss the Arc’s future.
University of Northampton’s representative was MSc Business Analytics student Udoka Okonta. He explains why he jumped at the chance to add his views and learn from the experience: “I was always interested in development economics and how people want to improve things around them. When I was told in class about the student panel, I thought that the project matched a lot of my personal interests and what I’ve been learning on the course. I also wanted to and make my – and the University’s – voice heard, so I instantly put my hand up to join!”
As part of their discussions, the panel covered a wide range of considerations that Arc planners need to keep in mind. These included what the environment will be like, the work opportunities that will be available and how people will get around and live in the Arc.
Udoka continues: “Taking part in the panel I found there is so much to consider. You need to understand lots of different, sometimes conflicting, points of view – and there can be many! – and to ensure you brings together in a constructive way while never losing sight of the bigger picture.
“Of course, we talk a lot about this during lectures, but to take that learning into a real-world activity such as the Arc brought the theory to life. Taking part in the student panel was a unique opportunity and something I am very glad to have taken part in.”
The student panel’s discussions and findings will feature in a webinar on Wednesday 27 April with members of the panel discussing their views.