Society Involvement in Widening Participation
Here at the University, we have a dedicated widening participation office who are tasked with encouraging and facilitating applications to Bristol University from those groups who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
A lot of the work that this office does is with local schools, educating local children about what it means to come to University and trying to dispel some of the stereotypes surrounding higher education. They are also about encouraging those students who might not have otherwise thought of studying for a degree, and enthusing them about all the exciting things that happen here.
The WP office already employ vibrant students to be their ‘ambassadors’ in local schools because it is clear that students themselves are more likely to get kids excited than some old University Professor. But why stop there?
In my view, societies have the potential to be a tremendous resource in this sense. Showing these kids about the ‘other’ side of life at Bristol University is incredibly important - University clearly isn’t all about books, lectures and libraries. Through societies students get the chance to do things they would never be able to do otherwise, to meet groups of like-minded people, and to be honest, it is society-life that many alumni remember most fondly!
Some societies, such as Biology Soc, Computer Science Soc and Spotlights, and have already taken the initiative, developing sessions based around their society’s activity. If you think this is something you’d like to get involved in with your society, don’t hesitate to get in contact with either me or Rachel, our Community Engagement Coordinator (Rachel.Miller@bristol.ac.uk) for help.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to commit to running frequent sessions, maybe you could put on a 30 minute - 1 hour demo session at one of the WP office’s AimHigher days (the ‘AimHigher’ scheme has of course been cut but the name remains) - where groups of local schoolchildren come and sample University life for a day.
Even if you are not on the committee of your society, that doesn’t mean you can’t organise something! Just get in contact with us here at UBU and we can support you every step of the way.
Chris - VP: Activities