Cardiff Met Brand Ambassador Richard Parks has launched his latest expedition to the South Pole at the University, while showcasing the various ways Cardiff Met has contributed to the Team Quest project.
Team Quest is an expedition which will see Richard ski solo, unsupported and unassisted from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and in doing so, provide applied learning opportunities for both young people and business leaders and inspire them to have the courage to think beyond boundaries.
As part of Team Quest, students and staff from across the University – which is one of four title partners alongside JLL, Techniquest and Sony UK TEC – have been working with Richard on a range of projects across all five schools over the past year. Student-led projects have included the design of a polar sled and canopy, the preparation of a dehydrated Christmas Dinner and the development of a wellbeing app for primary school children. Richard will also be accompanied on his trip to Antarctica by Cardiff School of Technologies' robot NAO, which Cardiff Met students have programmed to collect data throughout the journey.
The University held a farewell reception and Q&A session with Richard at Cardiff School of Art and Design, to celebrate Cardiff Met's collaboration with Team Quest and to wish Richard all the very best from the staff and students.
Richard first made history in 2011 with his 737 Challenge, becoming the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents and stand on all three poles (North Pole, South Pole and summit of Mt Everest) in the same calendar year, completing the project in under seven months - A feat recognised by Guinness World Records. Richard became the first Welshman to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 2014 whilst setting a new British record completing the 1150km/715m journey from Hercules Inlet on the geographical coastline of Antarctica to the South Pole in 29 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes, taking 9 days off the previous record and becoming only one of two people to break the 30-day barrier.
At last night's event, he told how his Team Quest venture is anchored in Wales and powered by expertise from across Great Britain and is the celebration of the courage and creativity of a team of people who are motivated by human progress.
Richard worked closely with staff and students across Cardiff Met in the twelve months leading up to his expedition. Daily training sessions were based at Cardiff School of Sport & Health Sciences on Cyncoed campus and Sports Broadcast postgraduate students were fully involved in documenting Richard's preparatory journey. Food rations for Richard's expedition were meticulously prepared at the University's ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre. Students and staff at the Centre used expertise in Advanced Food Product Development to devise a food plan which will support Richard's nutritional requirements – supporting the need to consume in excess of 6,000 calories each day against a challenge of keeping the weight of supplies as low as possible. The unsupported goal of the expedition requires Richard to pull all his food and equipment in his polar sled.
Cardiff School of Art and Design students developed sled and canopy designs, prototypes and a final canopy product, which will accompany Richard to the South Pole. This will be Richard's third solo South Pole expedition and using his extensive experience and working with the staff, he set a design challenge to the students to develop a concept to counter the ferocious Antarctic winds, improve functionality whilst wearing large polar gloves and minimise the sound of fabric flapping.
In collaboration with students from Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy, Richard will create an inspirational STEM education hub as part of Techniquest's Science Capitol project following the expedition, to offer schools, young children and adults the opportunity to experience Antarctica. An exciting new Antarctica exhibition will open in 2019 at Techniquest's Cardiff Bay Science Capital Centre.
Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the School of Sport and Health Sciences, Leigh Robinson said: "Richard is an inspiring individual and we are delighted to have established a working partnership which affords our students such a wide range of applied learning opportunities around the Team Quest expedition and longer term beyond this.
"Every School across Cardiff Metropolitan University has worked with Richard to support his ambitious endeavour by offering specialist expertise. The project has pulled together 'One Cardiff Met' by linking Richard with the specialised knowledge and skills that lie within each of our Schools.
"Richard will be pushing himself to the limits both mentally and physically and I know that our staff and students will be following his journey closely and willing him to succeed on this unique expedition, of which so many of them have made a significant contribution."
Richard commented: "From the first conversation about Team Quest and this expedition, Cardiff Met had the vision to see the unique learning opportunities for students. The staff and students have embraced the challenge in such an inspirational way, with excellence, ambition and a can-do attitude - embodying an adventure mindset. It's been so much fun and I'm proud to join the Cardiff Met family."
To read this story in Welsh, click here.