REACT Collaborative Development Days – Week 21

Last week REACT ran its first public events for the institutions participating in our Collaborative Development Programme. These two identical events aimed to kick off our 15 University group's collaborative activities over the next two years, through bringing together the institutions in two groups.

On Monday 16th November, we welcomed the Universities of Aston, Brighton, Edinburgh Napier, Greenwich, Newcastle, Newman and Sheffield Hallam to London Metropolitan University, where we were hosted by Associate Professior Digby Warren and Wilko. We were booked into an angular room which fit with our agenda of aiming to question perspectives of Student Engagement at each institution. The morning was taken up with ice breakers and thought-provoking activities to prompt attending institutions to reflect on their current practice. We also received great presentations from Exeter Change Agent Jason Chang, LMU Success Coaches Ade and Latoyah, and Winchester Student Fellows Cassie Shaw and Savannah King, on their Student Engagement experiences.

In the afternoon, we challenged the institutions to present, without slides, on the aims of their projects, after providing them with creative materials. One presentation that sticks firmly within our minds was from Sheffield Hallam, who simulated cutting of feathers to break down barriers to Higher Education for students to enable learning. Other presentations included elaborate posters featuring feathers, glow sticks and mirrored card, depicting artistic interpretations of how to unite SE at their institutions, or how to channel the work to benefit those students who do not engage.

At our second event on Thursday 19th November, we welcomed the Universities of Canterbury Christ Church, Manchester, Southampton and UCL to Winchester, where we received great opening remarks from SU President Savannah King on her excitement about institutions coming together to 'board the safe and sturdy REACT ship on our SE journey'. The second event was also filled with reflective thinking and debate through icebreakers and activities, with additional presentations from VP Education Blake Hutchings and Student Fellow Jack Hancock.

We were excited to launch our collaborative programme with these two events which were exceptionally well attended. In the New Year we will visit each of the institutions, and we are currently planning future development days with potential cross-association collaboration in future SE events.