We are the culture of the University of Southampton. That means that you are the culture of the University of Southampton.

Culture is not delivered by the Vice-Chancellor or the Dean (yes, they have a role to play in creating the conditions for success), but it is brought to life by the everyday actions and behaviours of every one of us in the organisation.

Now to ask yourself an important question: “How does your behaviour and attitude “contaminate” those around you?” Contamination in this sense can take many forms. You don’t have to be shouting about the difference you are making to anyone who will listen or contributing endlessly to message-boards or engagement committees, perhaps you prefer to leave this to the “talkers”, recognising the valuable contribution that they are making.

If you prefer to go about your business quietly and confidently, remember that you can be contaminating with brilliance by “doing” the good stuff. Be mindful of the example that you are setting.

Back in April, I told you about an initiative that will harness our collective brilliance and demonstrate the culture of the Faculty of Medicine in our communities. The Faculty Volunteering Scheme now has life! I am indebted to the Committee and in particular Dave Johnson (Biomedical Imaging) and Sam Watson (Wessex Institute) who have come on board as scheme administrators. We have a Facebook page, which will be the primary mechanism for communication, a Google Calendar to map events and a policy document (very short and light-touch) to enable the scheme. The policy document includes application forms to request time off to take part in volunteering activities which will need to be signed by your Line Manager and returned to the Volunteering Committee by email (fmedvolunteering@soton.ac.uk.) This address can also be used for general enquiries about the scheme or to offer volunteering opportunities to the Faculty. We really want this to be open and inclusive, so if you have ideas about how we can improve the scheme or comments in general, then please let us know.

Over the next couple of weeks Dave and Sam will be updating the calendar with events that you can take part in and more will be added throughout the year. There are lots available already, so please take a look.

Perhaps the volunteering scheme is one way in which we can begin to take our culture to the community and begin contaminating with our brilliance. At the very least it should be fun, worthwhile and allow the development of new relationships across the Faculty.

The final question I will pose to you is: “What’s stopping you from helping the Faculty of Medicine demonstrate our commitment to the community, take the opportunity to have a break from the everyday and work with your colleagues to make a real difference to people and places that need our help?”

“How we contribute to the culture of the University” by Professor Tim Underwood

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