May 14, 2019, by Katherine Beers
Students as Change Agents Annual Showcase Event 2019
This blog has been authored by Emma Lascelles one of our current Students as Change Agents (SACA).
On April 10th, Students as Change Agents (SACA) celebrated another successful year, with the annual Showcase event. Now in its fifth year, SACA was established to support and champion student-led projects. The continued growth of SACA was reflected in the exciting student initiatives presented at the Showcase. As a student myself, the projects served as a reminder that, University really can be all you make it to be.
This year’s projects, from student skills to good medical practice for refugees
The projects presented came from varied schools, and themes. For instance, the Creative Software Workshops and RE: BOOT projects both focused on teaching other students digital skills in video design, photo editing and time management.
Several exciting projects emerged from the School of Medicine. Students, behind the Afro-Caribbean Medical Network, recognised the Afro-Caribbean attainment gap in medicine and set up a network to try and support each other. They ran socials and a very successful conference ‘Journeys to Success’.
Another team of medical students presented Civitas. They recognised that there were refugees and asylum seekers in the East Midlands area who have medical qualifications but are unable to practice clinically in the UK. Civitas will deliver student-led sessions to empower and build a sense of community as well as teach UK-specific good medical practice.
More projects, from Psychstart to diversity in English and Campus Walks
Psychstart – a career-based peer mentoring programme for medical students interested in Psychiatry have also seen great success. They have established a programme with over 60 mentors and ran a student-organised celebration event for their 1st birthday which had a keynote speech from Professor Wendy Burn, President of the Royal Society of Psychiatrists. Psychstart has also expanded to other medical schools – with more to come!
From the School of English, the Diversity in English project had analytically evaluated the diversity of gender, race, and sexuality, represented in certain modules within the English curriculum. They presented a powerful reflection of the student bodies current opinions, supported by evidence from other Universities and with their own recommendations for future change.
Multiple projects stemmed from the Science and Engineering. Students from Engineering researched whether revision materials should be digital or not, whilst Chemistry students identified strengths and weaknesses in third year laboratory project format. The PASS maths team shared their collaboration with the school of Education, to sustain the project in its fourth year of running.
There was some focus drawn towards the Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA). The NAA Access team shared their findings from surveys and focus groups, to ensure the scheme remains accessible and relevant. Though unable to present their conclusions at the Showcase, the NAA postgraduate taught team have also researched how the NAA can cater to postgraduate students.
An emphasis on well being was also met, through the Campus Walks team. The students presented their walks, designed on various Nottingham campuses, in the hope to better physical and mental health at University.
Final thoughts from the author Emma
Senior University Tutor Dr Pam Hagan offered words of encouragement as keynote speaker. An abundance of staff in the audience also offered ideas, and networking support, with relevant contacts. In this way not only were students celebrated, but new staff-student partnerships formed.
As a student myself, I was left both inspired and motivated by my peers. Inspired by those who strive to create support networks, resources, and career opportunities, not just for themselves, but also for the University community.
It is this open ear to new ideas and initiatives (via schemes such as SACA), which will ensure Nottingham remains the dynamic and relevant learning environment that we know it to be.