THEY have already proved they have a head for academia.
But staff and students at the University of Huddersfield were also hoping that they had a head for heights – as they plunged 100ft down one of its buildings.
The daring abseil down the side of the university’s Central Services Building aimed to raise £10,000 for charity.
The event was organised by the RAG (Raise and Give) fundraising team to kick off a week of activities on the campus.
Around 80 students, staff and local business figures volunteered to throw themselves down the side of the iconic building in support of four local and national charities.
Among those taking the plunge was the university’s pro vice-chancellor, Prof Andrew Ball.
He said: “It was a great thrill. I’ve done rock climbing before so this was OK.
“I have a bit of a fear of heights but not of buildings as high as this – I think you get to the point when it doesn’t make much of a difference.
“The event has been great fun and there’s been a brilliant atmosphere.
“There has been so much support but I think there will be a few voices of disappointment that I used a rope!”
Jim Yip, dean of the School of Computing and Engineering, said: “This was my first time doing anything like this and it was very exciting – definitely something I would recommend to other people.
“It looked like a long way down. People told me not to look down and that the further I leaned back the better and I took their advice!
“But I’m always game for a challenge. I like to support charities and sometimes to do that you’ve got to do something a little bit harder.”
The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Bob Cryan, was forced to pull out of the challenge because of an elbow injury.
But he vowed to take part in the event if it is brought back next year.
He said: “It’s great to see the level of interest in this event – I think it’s a bit of a thrill to be able to be able to look up at that building and say that ‘I abseiled down that for charity’.
“Charities these days are so short of funds with the recession, so it’s fantastic to see the students working together on events like these to support them.
“Events like this create a great buzz around campus as there’s all sorts of things going on and people come along to see what’s happening.”
There are lots of other events being staged this week as part of the RAG week of fundraising activities.
These include a fancy dress competition and lecturers taking a bath in mushy peas.
Final year students Romaine Maret and Louise Taylor have headed the fundraiser, with the target of raising over £10,000 on the abseiling day alone.
This year the event is raising money on behalf of Cancer Research UK, Barnardo’s, the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust and Society for the Blind for Dewsbury, Batley and District.
Students’ Union president Matt Christie, who also donned safety equipment to clamber down the building, said: “RAG are a fantastic organisation, raising money for local and national charities who make a real difference within local communities.
“An awful lot of work has been put into organising this and I’m proud that the Students’ Union is associated with them.
“I’m happy to help them hit their target to show that Huddersfield doesn’t do things by halves.
“The abseil was quite a thrill – the views from the top were fantastic – and hopefully it will come back even bigger and better next year.”