Andy Triggs Hodge (MSc Water '04) on the Olympic podium (fourth from left) by Gregor Rom [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Bill Parker and fellow Golden Jubilee colleagues from 1966 try out the School's new smart water pump which is helping to improve access to water supplies in African villages.
MSc Biodiversity graduates Ana Rohen (L), Manishka De Mel, and Wendy Miles (R) were part of a 20-strong alumni gathering in Hawaii for the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
Rosalind Tolson (1949) joins this year's Final Honour prize winners and Professor Robert Whittaker at the Herbertson Lunch in September.
Wet, wet, wet were clearly the backing band for SoGE alumni activities in the second half of 2016. The Rio Olympics were the first of the "wet" trio: Alumni Andy Triggs Hodge (MSc Water '04) and Zoe Lee (BA Geog '04) won rowing gold and silver.
Further victory was achieved in August at World Water Week in Stockholm. Fifteen alumni from around the world celebrated the "best poster" award for Teresa Sprague (MSc Water '10).
The wet hat-trick was completed by 20-plus alumni from 1966 who celebrated their golden jubilee with a collective splash on our new smart water pump. Huge thanks to Bill Parker for organising what his fellow alumni called a tour de force. Bill's reply was "I have had the most remarkable feedback - mostly along the lines of the best ever return to Oxford (far better than gaudies); how exciting the current School is; and how we wish we could be doing this course again". Bill is the son of W.L. Parker who taught geography at Christ Church and wrote the biography Mackinder: Geography as an Aid to Statecraft - perhaps a relevant insight for today's world.
Not to be outdone by all this water, we also had alumni gatherings of 20-plus at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii (clearly very hard work) and the Global Climate Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, as well as 70 ECM MSc Alumni, who came back to Oxford for the ECI's 25th Anniversary Celebrations in September.
In the midst of these global gatherings the Herbertson Lunch, part of the University alumni weekend in September, couldn't help but be part of the above water theme. Dr Katrina Charles spoke about the School's £15m REACH project "Improving water security for the poor". It was a very great pleasure to welcome Rosalind Tolson (BA Geog '49) among our 50-plus alumni guests. Rosalind is the daughter of JNL Baker, a School Lecturer from 1927 who was very influential in the creation of the undergraduate degree. He served the School for many years and was also Oxford's Lord Mayor.
Alumni gatherings around the world have gathered pace through 2016 and we are keen for new locations next year. Do get in touch if you would like to meet fellow SoGE members in your corner of the world!
Similiarly if you are visiting Oxford please do get in touch, as ECM MSc alumnus Vaibhav Kaul (2011) did this November, when he came to SoGE to screen his new documentary about faith, resilience and change in the Himalayas, 'Facing the Mountain'.
PS: As we "go to press", congratulations to Professor David Jackman (BA Geog '78) who has been named 'International Standards Setter of the Year' by the British Standards Institution, BSI.
Alumni and current members of SoGE meet at World Water Week in Stockholm, September 2016.