Visioning the future

Innovative lineup as CUBO announces its Winter Conference 2019

CUBO has announced a dynamic lineup for its Winter Conference 2019 (20–21 November 2019). The two-day event hosted by Edinburgh First, the award-winning conferencing division that sits within the University of Edinburgh in Scotland’s stunning, historic capital city.

A ‘must’ for commercial professionals, and with the theme ‘visioning the future’, the CUBO Winter Conference will explore the challenges ahead for senior commercial and campus services professionals, against a backdrop of Brexit, economic and funding uncertainty, and demographic and climate change.

Speakers will include Mark Fawcett (founder of We Are Futures, originally the National Schools Partnership), respected author Neil Gaught, Helenor Gilmour, director of insights at Beano for Brands (Beano Studios), as well as an accommodation panel, moderated by the University of Birmingham.

Fawcett will talk about the changing priorities and attitudes among young people with a particular focus on emerging adults (16–24). His talk will also draw out seven principles to build more meaningful engagement with young people with a particular focus on careers, skills and education.

Gaught will inspire the audience with discussion around how a single organising idea can change business for good and draw on case studies and experience, with reference to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. His no-nonsense approach sets aside the ideals to confront the realities of business reform.

Gilmour will present findings on Generation Alpha further to the publishing of the recent research – the Gen Alpha white paper – which is attracting media attention and looking at changing consumer attitudes.

The accommodation panel will generate a lively debate around how existing provision will meet the needs of future students and the options available for new-build projects

The accommodation panel will generate a lively debate on how existing provision will meet the needs of future students and the options available for new-build projects.

The panel will comprise universities and private providers who are familiar with the issues bubbling around student accommodation, including alcohol, green communities, the findings (and learnings) from Grenfell and the benefits of twin versus single rooms and exclusive LGBTQ+ accommodation. It will question whether the new properties being built today will remain fit for purpose in 30 years’ time and look at universities still trying to sell accommodation that was built in the 1960s. The panel will question how important residence is to life and what it means in different accommodation.

The conference is also packed with first-class networking opportunities affording commercial professionals the opportunity to share and learn best practice, alongside an informal dinner and charity competition.

CUBO CEO Jan Capper reinforces the challenges universities are currently facing and cites the increasing importance of commercial services within campus revenue streams and in improving the student experience as primary motivators for the conference theme.

She says: “This year’s Winter Conference will enable delegates to gain strategic insights and explore the key issues that are impacting on our profession today and tomorrow.

“They include sustainability, youth engagement, student accommodation, business models and leadership, not forgetting the political environment in what has been an extraordinary year so far.

“As part of our theme, we will be looking at the future development of universities and continuing evolution of private accommodation and what CUBO members, as partners, will be providing across design, facilities and general support to ensure our universities maintain their reputation as among the best in the world.”

CUBO’s Winter Conference is designed for heads of commercial and campus services and can accommodate up to 100 delegates (first come, first served). It is supported by a number of CUBO’s valued supply partners, giving members the opportunity to discuss services and facilities for the future.

For more information and registration, visit

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