The University with the Golden Touch; Past and Present Students and Staff from London South Bank University Are All Involved in London 2012, Proving There's More to University Life Than Just Academic Achievement, writesNiki Chesworth

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Byline: Niki Chesworth

N army of volunteers some of whom study or work at London South Bank University's (LSBU) Academy of Sport, a health lecturer providing nursing expertise and even the university's pro vice chancellor are all helping London 2012 to be the greatest show on earth.

Staff and students are among those performing at the opening and closing ceremonies, supporting competitors, officiating and controlling crowds. While the university's Academy of Sport has been playing its role, with volunteers spending hours training and preparing, all parts of the university are getting involved in the Games.

"It is a testament to the calibre of our volunteers that so many have been entrusted to help at the Olympics. Without people like them it wouldn't be possible to host an event of this magnitude," says Andrew Powlesland, director of the Academy of Sport at LSBU. Naomi Bartlett, who works in the Academy of Sport, is an Athlete Support volunteer for the men's Team GB basketball team at the Olympics and Paralympics, helping to ensure that competitors are ready for action.

She says: "I'm very excited about being given this opportunity, as I meet a lot of the athletes and work directly with them. My role involves greeting the athletes as they arrive at the venue, taking them to their changing rooms, and taking them on and off the basketball court."

Angus Robertson, partnership director of Pro-Active Central London which is hosted by and works with LSBU's Academy of Sport to provide sporting opportunities for staff, students and the local community is one of 70,000 Games Makers who are volunteering to help run the Olympics and Paralympics.

Robertson, who will be a team leader working at the Paralympics, says: "It is an honour to be involved with such an incredible event and to make a personal contribution to its staging."

Professor Fintan Culwin, head of the informatics department, is one of the marshals responsible for managing the triathlon, cycle time trial and cycle road race courses. He says: "Anyone competing at Olympic level has committed a great deal of their lives to training hours a day, almost every day, for years. They will be holding nothing back and it is my job as a marshal to make sure that nothing prevents them from having the best possible chance of winning."

Other LSBU volunteers include informatics postgraduate Carol de Burca, a Games Maker for road cycling, Nikoletta Nicolaou, a drama and performance graduate at LSBU who is a dancer in the closing ceremony and Sally Beckwith, senior lecturer in the department of allied health professions, who is part of the direct athlete support services team at the Paralympics, making sure the needs of Boccia competitors are met when preparing for matches.

Even pro vice chancellor Bev Jullien is part of London 2012. She is working as special event manager during the Olympics at Team GB House, the official home of the Olympics. Actively overseeing the smooth running of five hospitality areas at Team GB House, Jullien is working nine-hour shifts to make sure that corporate guests are engaging at a senior level with influential figures in the British Olympic Association. …

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