Saif Maher (SCC), Martina Mabale (SCC and Awarding Gap Coordinator at UoR), Alice Mpofu (Researcher and PHD student in UoR),
Angela (Mojatu’s trustee), Cecily Mwaniki (Utulivu Women’s Group Co-Founder) and Sarah Gardner (Community Relations Manager at UoR)
For the first time, community organisations have been a part of the University of Reading’s Welcome Week events, organised by the Student Union. Among these groups were the Mojatu Foundation and the Utulivu Women’s Group who work within Reading to improve the lives of women and girls from BAME communities by offering well-being support and tackling issues like FGM and violent crime.
The Student Community Champions (made up of students from the University of Reading) ran sessions for International, BAME and female students alongside Mojatu Foundation and Utulivu Women’s Group. The sessions were designed to create a sense of belonging amongst students, showing them that there is space for them outside the campus, involving them in the community and encouraging them to engage.
How to get involved with the university?
The Student Community Champions are offering opportunities for community groups in Reading to work alongside them. They are hoping to collaborate on research, exchange expertise, increase the career progression of minorities (through work experience), promote higher education in local schools (through mentoring), promote leadership roles and make active citizens by engaging students with the community and increasing their cultural awareness.
The Student Community Champions are trying to increase the community presence as much as possible and are open to suggestions and new initiatives from local organisations.
Where do we go from here?
Connecting the university with community organisations is the Student Community Champions main goal. At their event during Freshers week, the organisation Joshua Academy established essential connections in the university to help support minorities with; essential life skills, school work and getting into university. The collaboration has extended Joshua Academy’s portfolio of schools and helped the university reach more school pupils who need them most. The Student Community Champions are hoping the relationships between organisations and the university will lead to more successful collaborations like this one.