Last week we shared with you our 2020-21 Impact Report. In a very challenging year, 1436 students across our five Hubs participated in social action, supporting 1980 community participants and working with 139 partners. As always, one thing shone through, students genuinely, and passionately, want to make a difference.
To celebrate the launch we are sharing three case studies on our blog of students in the Hub community who made a difference in 2020-21.
Will Moody, Cambridge Hub
Will is a PhD Tumor Immunology student who started engaging with the Hub in 2019 on our Engage for Change programme in Cambridge. Through Engage for Change students are supported across 12 weeks to design and implement a sustainability initiative on campus. As part of the programme, Will developed the Cambridge Carbon Literacy Project in collaboration with our Hub.
In 2020-21 Will was an integral part of the Cambridge Hub committee, and alongside a small team of student trainers, they delivered sessions for 128 students on the climate emergency.
“I think it’s fair to say that the Engage for Change course kind of changed my university life. I mean I went in as someone who was fairly passionate about climate issues but I came out of the course really feeling empowered to act and to make a positive change. Since then I’ve thrown myself head first into lots of other sustainability initiatives run by the university and also joined the Cambridge Hub committee as well. I think it’s safe to say that I definitely wouldn’t have expected myself to do that this time last year.”
Whilst Engage for Change may have changed the direction of Will’s university experience, their continued commitment to sustainability through the Carbon Literacy Project and Cambridge Hub has undoubtedly changed the experience of many others in the Cambridge student community.
Zara Campbell, Southampton Hub
Zara is a French and Spanish student at the University of Southampton, and as a fresher they got involved with the Hub in 2020. Zara volunteered with Schools Plus, our in school support programme which aims to tackle educational inequality, an equality gap that has grown even wider throughout the pandemic. Initially, Zara supported a reading club for young people, and quickly realised they loved the programme. Shortly after, Zara joined a virtual youth group and began supporting a pupil one to one with French tutoring.
Across the year Zara contributed a huge 33 hours to Schools Plus, working with 15 young people. In Summer 2021 they continued working with the Hub as our Youth Programmes Intern, supporting young people in the city through the summer months and developing our programmes to make a bigger impact moving forward. This year, Zara is a student leader at the Hub – planning and delivering Branch Up activity days.
“I would definitely say that volunteering has enhanced my wellbeing and mental health. I am a huge perfectionist and I find myself getting very wrapped up in academics and being hard on myself about not making mistakes… When I started volunteering this year, it gave me the opportunity to look inwards and to appreciate that I have a lot more to offer than just the marks I get. I feel really positive that I’ve been able to help other students in developing their skills and their confidence, and I’m really proud to be a part of the work Southampton Hub does.” [/col]
Dina Sarah Ibn Hssein, Kingston Hub
Dina took part in Service Learning as part of their International Culture module in their second year as an International Business student at Kingston University London. Dina consulted for The Baytree Centre, a social inclusion charity equipping women and girls with the skills they need to succeed and flourish in life. Baytree wanted to reach a wider community of users in the Greater London area, so Dina’s group proposed adaptations to their marketing materials and programmes to support this.
“It has been extremely beneficial, mainly because it has given me practical experience in learning more about different cultures… It has been very inspirational to work directly with a community partner as it allowed me to actually understand the reality behind how some members of society are being integrated and given me insight into details to take into consideration in a professional environment to communicate with clients with confidence and competence.”[/col]
Service Learning modules support students like Dina to develop skills, gain experience and build awareness about their communities. In turn, Dina’s work has supported the Baytree Centre to have greater understanding of their users and the communities they work in, and the Centre shared they will be using this work to shape user outreach moving forward.
I hope that through these stories I have shared with you a sense of some of the amazing student and social action stories we were a part of in 2020-21. To find out more, please read our full 2020-21 impact report and for more information on Student Hubs and the programmes we run check out our story.