Where are they now? David Sculthorpe
David Sculthrope (2012, BA History) talks to the Development and Alumni Relations Team about his University experience and what he has been doing since graduation.
What attracted you to study at the University of Sheffield?
I already knew friends who studied in Sheffield and they always said how much they loved it so I decided to visit for the University for an open day. After that visit I was hooked, Sheffield became my first choice and I didn’t even look at any other cities. I loved the Students’ Union which compared to others I’d been in was incredible not only all the facilities but the staff and the atmosphere too. I also looked forward to staying in the student villages which at that time were brand new, the idea of having thousands of other students all together seemed amazing as this social aspect was always a huge draw for me.
What is your fondest university memory?
That’s almost too difficult to say because every time something comes to mind it sparks another memory. Overall what I take away from university are the people that I have met. I made great friends on my course, in my block and through sports and societies. It really showed me that the people you meet at university will be people you keep in touch with for life. Some of my fondest memories do include being on a campaign team in the Union elections, running the Sheffield Half Marathon and joining a charity expedition to climb Kilimanjaro. All of these things I am certain that I would not have achieved had I not been in Sheffield.
What bit of advice would you tell your first-year self?
There is nothing that I regret from my time at university but I think one thing I wish I had done in first year is to try some of the more unusual activities and sports on offer. The University really does have fantastic facilities and an overwhelming range of hobbies to pick up. I think it’s quite normal for the average fresher to sign up to anything and everything possible at the activities and sports fairs during Fresher’s Week but a bit harder to follow up on them when you are still adjusting to life at university. It is difficult to try and fit it all in and choose one or two to take up more fully so my advice would be to just get involved with anything that has ever even remotely interested you. It could be the best thing you ever do and define your time in Sheffield.
As an Alumnus of the University yourself, do you think it is important for the University to keep in touch with its former students?
It definitely is very important for the University to keep up its efforts to create a larger Sheffield Alumni community. I think this is even more the case with those who have just graduated as it is important to make sure that they still feel connected and involved even after they have graduated and moved onwards and upwards. This is so essential because ex students like myself are the next in line to offer the support that keeps the great work of the Alumni Fund operating. This fantastic organisation becomes more relevant every year and without the support of past students it simply would not be able to function.
What else were you involved in whilst at university?
One of the biggest things that I became involved in was a Charity expedition to Kilimanjaro. Me and a group of 26 other students each raised £2500 for the great Sheffield based Charity called DigDeep. This was a huge undertaking in my busy final year but that made it all the better getting to know my expedition group, organising and running events throughout the year and rounding it all off with the trip of a lifetime to the Roof of Africa. It really was one of the hardest things I have ever undertaken but that made the sense of achievement all the better and definitely topped off my three years with another great group of friends.
Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now.
After coming back from Tanzania after the trip of a lifetime I decided I wanted to do something similar again. I became the leader of a similar charity expedition to Everest Base Camp in Nepal again raising money to continue DigDeep’s fantastic work in East African communities. DigDeep is a very small Charity, so small it only has one UK employee, which means a huge proportion of the money donated reaches those most in need. It provides sustainable water and biogas solutions to thousands living in villages in Kenya. By far its largest way of raising funds for this invaluable work is through student challenges like my Kilimanjaro expedition. This is why after seeing the poverty in the area I was determined to contribute again.
I therefore returned to Sheffield and promoted the trek and sure enough the great students of Sheffield did not disappoint. At this point I have assembled a great group of 12 who will each be raising a massive £2590 each to be part of this experience. This is clearly a huge task in its own right let alone the actual trek to the Base camp which will be physically and mentally gruelling including long arduous days of trekking at extreme altitudes in the remote Khumbu region in Nepal. Throughout the year these students will be doing all sorts of fundraising events such as running the half marathon, sky dives, cake sales, open mike nights and everything else in between. This is one of the great things about these challenges they not only benefit the students doing them and the communities in Africa desperate for clean water but also the Sheffield community and the University itself.
Did your degree help you with what you are doing now?
Yes my degree has helped me so much. A lot has been said about the value of arts subjects, my course even had a module called the ‘Uses of History’ in which we examined what benefits History degrees could bring to society. I have found that so many of the skills I learnt during my study have been transferable to what I am doing now. From public speaking, to attending and holding interviews and managing my time and my group, the skills that I gained have been invaluable. I definitely rely on them every day.
What’s the next step?
Well the first thing I want to do is successfully get my group to meet their fundraising targets and get them to Everest Base Camp in September. This will be a great achievement and I will be proud to not only have helped raise such a significant amount of money but also to improve the University experience of the students on my trip. After that I really want to work in the outdoor education sector, my goal would be to become a mountain guide helping people access the fun that can be had in the mountains. I also plan to do have many more adventures and summit more mountains in the Andes, Alps and Himalaya.
If you want to learn more about the work of DigDeep visit their website : www.digdeep.org.uk
Also if you would like to personally help my group meet their targets and directly improve the living standards of thousands of people you can donate online here:
This site is completely safe and secure; it only takes a few minutes and will make a huge difference!!!