Oliver Smith is currently finishing a part time MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy alongside setting up his own business venture, EcoVigour Ltd
My earliest hazy memories of Cardiff University were coming to stay with undergraduate friends who were living in Cathays and of course enjoying the many social aspects of Cardiff University life! In contrast to this, when I came to the University myself in 2005, I remember the architecture and ambiance of the University surroundings including Cathays Park, the Portland Stone buildings and the tree lined avenues. I also remember the warm and friendly welcome that I received from the staff at the School of City and Regional Planning who have continued to be very supportive throughout my studies.
During my time at Cardiff I have combined my studies with an 18 month part time studentship at the former Welsh Development Agency and additional contract consultancy work. It has been very rewarding to be able to transfer up to date academic thinking and the latest case examples between both parties. It was also during this time that I began to formulate my business ideas that led to the establishment of EcoVigour Ltd in 2007 (www.ecovigour.com).
EcoVigour provides practical ecological contracting services. Our aims include enhancing environmental capital and harmonising the relationship between planning, development and ecological processes. Dr Andrew Flynn was particularly encouraging and helpful during discussions of my ideas and Fiona Neeson, acting as a mentor for the knowledge to enterprise scheme, provided expert business advice and guidance throughout my market investigations, business start up and establishment.
What makes Cardiff different from so many other universities is that it combines top class teaching and research facilities with being at the heart of a young and vibrant capital city which is steeped in tradition. Its small capital city buzz and close proximity to some of Wales most beautiful landscapes and fresh air activity areas make Cardiff University an outstanding destination for those looking for the best personal and academic development. I think the University is integral to the continuing success of Wales and as a gateway for many foreign students into the country, provides an excellent welcome and introduction to Welsh University life.
I would like to congratulate everyone who has worked hard and played a part in University life throughout Cardiff’s 125 year history, and to wish future students, staff, lecturers and associates every success in their relationships with the University.