(Press Release) written by Luke McRoy-Jones
On Wednesday 18th September, the Optometry programme welcomed returning students back, along with a new intake, with our annual ‘Big Optometry Event’. The prize giving event awards the highest achievers from the past academic year, with those who achieved the highest and most improved marks celebrated. Those who have made a contribution to the programme are also thanked and the event provides a platform to look forward to the new academic year.
Awards were donated by a range of industry sponsors and included ophthalmoscope sets, Volk lenses, vouchers and various other pieces of ophthalmic equipment. Namely, sponsors included Specsavers, Keeler, Heine, FODO, Vision Express, Norville, Alcon, Thea and Louis Stone. Overall, over £4,000 of prizes are given away, giving students vital equipment for the start of their career.
The event concluded with pizza and refreshments, with the event being sponsored by Vivid Optical. Luke Elias, Managing Director of Vivid Optical outlined how Vivid Optical were keen to support optometrists at all stages of their career. ‘‘Vivid Optical are delighted to have an ongoing relationship with Plymouth Optometry Society and the University of Plymouth. As the leading optical recruitment consultancy in the UK, Vivid Optical are keen to support all optometrists, including students, and for the second year running, it was a pleasure to support this great event’ he said.
The Optometry Programme at University of Plymouth has around 200 students and took its first intake in 2011. The programme was the first in the South West and has grown over the past few years, in line with investment in facilities and resources. Plymouth Optometry Society has an excellent working relationship with the team at the university and worked with them to organise this event. Dr Stephanie Mroczkowska, Optometry Programme Lead said ‘We are very proud of all of our student’s achievements and our Big Optometry Event is a lovely way to celebrate the successes of last academic year and to look forward to the year ahead. Our student optometry society (OpSoc) continues to grow from strength to strength and the support we get from the sponsors is fantastic. We couldn’t put on events like this without them; it really is one big team effort’
On the weekend 22nd-24th March 2019, Plymouth OpSoc hosted Cardiff OpSoc and Glasgow Caledonian OpSoc for a weekend of sport and socialising, in Opfest: The Return.
Sponsored by Specsavers, Keeler and Boots Opticians, the event set to bring back the classic weekend, after a three year absence.
Opfest, up until recently, was a highlight of the social calendar for all optometry societies in the United Kingdom. Traditionally held annually at a different host city each year, the weekend brought together the universities for sports and socialising! As such, many graduates have fond memories of Opfest weekends up and down the country,
Plymouth OpSoc were named the overall winners from the day, closely followed by Cardiff OpSoc.
It is hoped that the return of the weekend in 2019 will allow the event to develop and grow once again, with more universities involved.
Plymouth OpSoc President, Luke McRoy-Jones said “Plymouth OpSoc were delighted to be able to host Opfest in its returning year. As a society, we were very keen to see the weekend return, as many students currently studying haven’t had the opportunity to attend an Opfest weekend. While on a small scale, we hope that this weekend becomes a permanent fixture once again”.
With over 60 people coming down to Plymouth, the interuniversity event brought together students and received positive feedback.
Samantha McCrory, President of Glasgow Caledonian OpSoc, and Daniel Burns, President of Cardiff OpSoc, were both heavily involved in the organisation and attended the event.
“GCU had an absolutely fantastic weekend bringing back Opfest! What a way to take a break from all of our busy timetables. One of the most memorable times we’ve had at university” said Samantha McCrory.
“This year’s Opfest was a great success for not only bringing the universities back together but continuing the real sense of community within our vocation. We all got the same buzz this year that I had back in 2016 at the last Opfest hosted in Cardiff. I feel proud of the three universities involved in organising what was a brilliant weekend and hopefully this can be the revival of a wonderful annual event.” said Daniel Burns.
We are pleased to announce the release of our official aftermovie.
Thank you very much to Louis Goldman Photography.
Plymouth’s biggest ever Eyeball (end of year ball) took place on Friday 15th March at the New Continental Hotel, Plymouth. The annual event, which celebrates the achievements of students and staff alike, was attended by 190 people, made up of students, academic staff, support staff and guests.
On arrival, attendees enjoyed live music, a magician, casino tables and a photobooth. A three course meal was then served before the Plymouth OpSoc Awards, sponsored by the Association of Optometrists, the raffle and the committee presentation.
The raffle, which had over £4,000 worth of raffle prizes, raised over £950 for the society’s chosen charity, Fight for Sight. Combined with cake sales and a pub quiz, this takes the total charity fundraising for 2018-2019 to just under £1,200.
The event, officially known as ‘The Specsavers Eyeball 2019’, was organised by Plymouth Optometry Society (OpSoc). The society, which represents approximately 200 students studying optometry at University of Plymouth, organises many professional and social events to support its students through their studies, enhancing their student life.
Plymouth OpSoc President, Luke McRoy-Jones, spoke about the growth of the society and the importance of industry sponsors.
“The society has developed and grown immensely over the past couple of years, in line with the increasing student numbers on the optometry course at University of Plymouth. Working with the rest of the committee, it’s been my pleasure to oversee the organisation of Plymouth’s biggest ever Eyeball. 190 attendees is 40 more than last year’s event and around double from two years ago. However, we couldn’t have done this without our amazing industry sponsors, who we work with closely as a society. It’s obvious that these companies are keen to invest in and support the next generation of optometrists. Myself and our students are very grateful for their support” he said.
The event was sponsored by Specsavers (Platinum Sponsor), Boots Opticians (Gold Sponsor), Vivid Optical, Capitol Student Accommodation managed by Host and Prospect Health. The raffle was sponsored by Keeler, Heine, Coopervision, Louis Stone Optical, OutoftheBox Optics, the Centre for Eyecare Excellence, Topcon, Opticlar, Iconic Opticians Plymouth, Optom Academy and OutsideClinic.
Rachel McClelland, Ophthalmic Director at Specsavers Launceston, attended the event on behalf of the event’s platinum sponsor, Specsavers. She said “Specsavers is delighted to have sponsored the Eyeball 2019 and it was my absolute pleasure to attend. The Eyeball was a fantastic event and a real credit to the organisers.
Social events like these are so important for students as they facilitate an environment within which they can network. The event was attended by academic staff, professional colleagues and industry representatives, enabling the students to make new contacts and develop their professional relationships.
Specsavers is dedicated to providing the highest standard of eyecare and this starts with investment in optometry students and their development. We have supported numerous students through their university placements and through their pre-registration periods. It seems only logical to invest in them, in order that the next generation of optometrists are striving for clinical excellence and patient centred care.”
Katie Berriman, Area Manager for Boots Opticians, the event’s Gold Sponsor was also in attendance and commended the evening.
The event comes just one week before Plymouth hosts ‘Opfest: The Return’ which will see Cardiff OpSoc and Glasgow Caledonian OpSoc travel to Plymouth for an interuniversity sporting weekend.
Feedback from students has been very positive. For many who attended, being able to learn about the domiciliary sector, which they may not have otherwise considered, has provided them with a wider outlook on potential career pathways after university. Charlotte Acton, a second year optometry student said ‘It was really interesting to see the different opportunities that are available to optometrists other than working in multiples and independents. I really enjoyed learning about the different way optometrists in the domiciliary sector work and how they have to adapt to each patient they visit. It was also really useful to see the network of support out there for optometrists at OutsideClinic. It definitely seems like something I would be interested in later on in my career as an optometrist.’
OutsideClinic, which has around 140 optometrists (including locum support) nationally, currently offers the ‘Super Optometrist’ role which qualified practitioners can do on a flexible basis, locally to their home. For them, this trip provided an opportunity to increase awareness of such roles. Recruitment Manager for OutsideClinic, James Gilbert said ‘This was a great opportunity for the students to get an in-depth tour of OutsideClinic, including the opportunity to view equipment and sit down with our Optometrists to ask questions and explore what it is like to be a home visiting Optometrist.’
Our President Luke McRoy-Jones has won the Student of the Year award at the prestigious AOP Awards.
From January 2019, please see your Student Representatives for the College of Optometrists and the Association of Optometrists.
Their job is to represent our student body to these organisations so please contact them if you have any feedback.
Thank you to everyone who came to our OpSoc Christmas Meal on Thursday 13th December at Wildwood Plymouth!
Thanks to our cake sales, OpSoc raised £150 for Fight for Sight (our chosen charity for 2018-2019) during Term 1. Thank you everyone for your donations!
You can find out more about our charity events by visiting our Charity page here
On Wednesday 24th October, our students were invited to our 'Pathways in Optometry' Evening on Main Campus. A yearly event, we invite speakers in from across the optical industry (high street, hospital, academia, industry), to speak to students about the different career pathways they could embark on, as an Optometry graduate.
This year, the event was kindly sponsored by Specsavers Graduate Team.
The evening came at an appropriate time, with second year students currently applying for their pre-registration positions.
Our first speaker, Dr. David Adams from the REI at Derriford talked to students about his career and his work in hopsital optometry. He gave students an insight into his role on a daily basis and students found the case studies particularly interesting.
Next, Optometry Lecturer, Dr. Daniela Oehring spoke about opportunities for students in academia. Speaking about her journey into academia and the roles she's held, students were interested to hear about the various roles in optometry which led her to research and teaching.
Finally, Specsavers Optometrist and Store Director, Michael Todd spoke about high street optometry and the changing face of primary care optometry. Speaking about new advancements such as investment in EOS schemes and ocular imaging equipment, Mike informed students that you can 'have your cake and eat it too.' He also provided students with an overview of his route into becoming a Store Director with Specsavers and the pathways within Specsavers.
The talks were then followed with a Q&A session, with students asking many questions and a networking opportunity over many large pizzas from Papa John's.
Wednesday 10th October saw staff and students gather at Tenpin Bowling for OpSoc's Big Bowling Event. Following our 1st years meet and greet bowling back in September, the event provided students to integrate across all three years of the programme and socialise with fellow students.
Students were also able to take advantage of some student drinks prices at the bar!
We hope to see you at our next social!
Three names from University of Plymouth have been shortlisted as finalists in the Association of Optometrists’ Awards 2019. The prestigious awards, which will be presented at the ceremony in London in January, will now be decided by public vote. The public vote will close on 12th December!
You can vote for our candidates, under their respective categories here: https://www.mi-vote.com/aopawards19/
You can also find our candidates’ supporting statements here!
Our society’s President, Luke McRoy-Jones, has been shortlisted for the Student of the Year Award. Read more about Luke on the Specsavers website here.
Recent graduate, Melissa Nelson, has also been shortlisted for the Student of the Year Award.
And finally, our programme leader Dr. Stephanie Mroczkowska has been shortlisted for the Lecturer of the Year Award. Read more about Dr. Mroczkowska on the University of Plymouth here.
When voting, remember to enter your name and submit, before scrolling down to the relevant category. Happy voting!
On Friday 28th September, the university held its 'Nancy Astor Sports Festival'. Our social secretaries Ellie and Mandeep organised a fun visually impaired obstacle course for our students.
Students from across all three years were invited and many students turned up to battle it out and attempt to get the lowest time on our leaderboard! Up for grabs was a £20 Amazon voucher.
We also collected for our chosen charity Fight for Sight.
The afternoon concluded with a couple of drinks at the students union, allowing students to socialise.
A big thank you to everyone who participated and well done to Caroline Mansfield (1st year) for winning!
On Wednesday 19th September, staff and students from across all three years of the programme gathered at the Roland Levinsky Building for our ‘Big Optometry Awards’. An annual event in the department’s calendar, Plymouth OpSoc worked alongside the academic team to run this event.
The main purpose of the event is to award the highest achievers in the last academic year and commend those who have made contributions to the programme (through taking on additional responsibilities). We had some very valuable awards up for grabs, sponsored by the university's award sponsors.
We also took a moment to thank our previous OpSoc committee and presented them with a gift.
Thanks to our event sponsor Vivid Optical, students were then able to enjoy a networking opportunity with complimentary prosecco and OpSoc’s BIGGEST EVER pizza order. This was a big hit and as such, this event achieved its biggest turn out yet!
We hope everyone enjoyed and we look forward to planning next year's event.
Below is just a couple of photographs from the event, taken by two student photographers from the university's photography society.
On 28th March 2018, 150 staff and students gathered at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth to celebrate the 2017-2018 academic year.
Starting at 7:30pm, attendees first sat in front of the big tank for some lovely food and complimentary wine. Awards then followed (with some lucky students winning opthalmoscopes and optical equipment), along with the official handover for our OpSoc committee. The party then moved upstairs, allowing OpSoc's finest dancers to show off their skills on the dancefloor!
We would like to thank our platinum sponsor, Specsavers for this event, as well as our other sponsors (as seen below).
On 7th February, students and staff gathered at the main university campus for our annual charity sports day. Events included the visually impaired race and the blind orienteering.
The afternoon concluded with a massive game of dodgeball and the raffle, which along with ticket sales, raised money for our 2017-2018 chosen charity, RNIB.
Thank you to Hoya Lens UK for donating the raffle prizes (Amazon vouchers) and RNIB for your support in the delivery of this event. Also a big thank you to the staff and students who attended for a fun day of fundraising!