Programme Activity (September – December)
Since initiating the Diversity & Wellbeing Student Ambassador Programme at the University of Manchester in September, we’ve been busy promoting the programme, recruiting ambassadors and providing our first induction and training events. The response has been absolutely amazing so far and we’re excited to see the students begin working together and their ideas coming to fruition.
Our first priority was to start promoting the Lead Ambassador and Volunteer Ambassador roles to all students from the School of Social Sciences, School of Health Sciences, School of Materials and School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.
The Lead Ambassadors role is to facilitate and coordinate the Volunteer Ambassadors in the running of Ambassador activities. For the Lead Ambassadors we received 62 applications in total with 22 positions up for grabs, therefore it was important for us to shortlist applicants and run an assessment centre.
All the shortlisted applicants shined through and demonstrated skills and experience that would lend perfectly to the attributes we were seeking in a Lead Ambassador. We’d like to again congratulate the selected Lead Ambassadors and thank all those who applied – it was no easy decision, however we look forward to working with all remaining applicants as volunteers.
As we continue to recruit Volunteer Ambassadors, we have received an overwhelming response so far and recruited over 160 students. All Ambassadors are pivotal within the programme, so we thank everyone for their interest.
Our next step was to bring all of the Lead Ambassadors together for their first induction session on Monday 27th November. We explained their roles in more depth and the background to the programme. We also ran a series of exercises with them. These focused on questioning social and racial barriers in higher eduction, with the outlook of inspiring them to run similar exercises with their volunteers. It was great to see the enthusiastic group of Lead Ambassadors interacting with one another and sharing ideas for the first time.
We held 3 separate training sessions for Volunteer Ambassadors on the 29th – 30th November and 1st December. Each session was facilitated by a number of the Lead Ambassadors. This was their first introduction to the volunteers and they dived into conversations and sharing opinions straight away.
It was incredibly rewarding to meet all the Ambassadors and see them begin to network with each other. After explaining their role and running a couple of exercises with them, we informed them of the next steps on their journey through the programme and an important networking event we had been planning with Ruby Begum, the Diversity & Liberation Coordinator at the Students’ Union (SU).
Ruby has been coordinating the newly elected Inclusion Officers at the SU and developing training and support for these students. After identifying the similarity in the ambassador and officer roles, we thought it would be a good idea to collaborate as a way to share our resources for the benefit of our students. As part of both roles, we wanted to connect the students with the relevant services available at the SU and university that could support them in their roles.
This led to organising the Diversity & Inclusion Leaders on Campus networking event. The event, which took place on Monday 4th December at University Place, not only brought together ambassadors and officers but other various students with roles relating to diversity and inclusion and the University of Birmingham’s BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) Student Ambassadors. We had a variety of speakers and stall holders from across the university and SU, such as members of the Exec Team, Education & Advocacy, Ilyas Nadgee (the NUS Black Students’ Officer), Dawn Edge (Academic Lead for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) and Hema Radhakrishnan (Associate Dean for Social Responsibility).
The event had a fantastic attendance, with all students and staff actively networking with one another. We ran a speed networking session as an incentive to bring students together and start sparking conversations; the participants had a series of 1 minute interactions with one another, rapidly sharing details and ideas. We hope that the event was a good informative basis for all the students and that they have struck up exciting relationships with potential future partners.
Heading into the future, we look forward to working closely with our Ambassadors to help realise their activities. At present we are continuing to recruit volunteers and you can do so via this SU link.