Peer Support's 19th Annual Celebration Evening took place on 4th May at the Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel and was a huge success from start to finish. The new venue was great for us – it was the perfect size to seat as many people as possible whilst still being able to see from the back, and we had our own private entrance which made finding the room really easy.
As guests arrived, they collected their certificates and made their way through to the ballroom, where the tables were decorated with lollipop trees, and where they were encouraged to take Snapchat selfies using our very own Peer Support custom filter.
Marcia Ody, Teaching & Learning Manager, began the proceedings by asking Professor Clive Agnew, Vice President of Teaching, Learning and Students, to say a few words. Clive thanked all Peer Support volunteers for their hard work throughout the year, and highlighted how important Peer Support is to the inclusivity and community of the University.
Two of the Peer Support Graduate Interns, Alana & Scarlett then took to the stage to celebrate all the activity that took place in Peer Support this year, congratulating all involved on projects such as the AskMe campaign, Basic Life Support, the Peer Leadership Strand, Counselling User Groups, and of course the Dodgeball Tournament. We also recognised the winners of our “Take Notice” Photo Competition, congratulated Peer Support University Challenge champions Classics and Ancient History Peer Mentoring, and revealed that the winner of the Video Competition was… Electrical and Electronic Engineering PASS!
It was then time for special guest Lemn Sissay MBE, Chancellor of the University to say a few words before presenting the Outstanding Contribution Awards. Naturally, his speech was incredibly inspiring, and we were really honoured to have him be a part of our celebration. There were 35 Outstanding Contribution to Peer Support Award recipients this year – congratulations again to you all!
Next, two more of the Peer Support Graduate Interns, Martha and Zac had the exciting task of announcing the Scheme of the Year awards. With 8 nominations for PASS Scheme of the Year, and 6 for Peer Mentoring, it was a tough decision for the panel, but after considering all the information they chose Mechanical Engineering (PASS) and Politics and International Relations (Peer Mentoring) as our Schemes of the Year this year. A huge well done to both schemes!
Dr Tim Westlake, Director for the Student Experience, then closed proceedings, thanking all the PASS Leaders and Peer Mentors on behalf of those first years whose lives you have affected without even realising.
We had a wonderful night – the food was great, the venue was amazing, and the company was even better!
Each year, Peer Support schemes are nominated against a set of criteria for the coveted scheme of the year prizes at the Peer Support annual Celebration Evening, with one winner for the Peer Mentoring Scheme of the Year and one for the PASS Scheme of the Year.
This year, the criteria were community, consistency, innovation, and leadership.
Congratulations to both Politics and International Relations Peer Mentoring and Mechanical Engineering PASS for winning these prestigious prizes.
Find out more about these schemes below.
Politics and International Relations were nominated for their truly led student scheme with an inherently inclusive nature. These photos highlight their sense of community, through collaborating with other Peer Mentoring schemes to be recognised as a highlight of the week and building connections between all involved in the scheme from the beginning of the year with a pub quiz attended by both students and staff.
They showed consistency through a constant flow of communication between the student coordinators, staff coordinators and the Peer Support Intern, ensuring a strong start in semester 1 that carried through into semester 2. This was helped through their innovative socials, such as a US election social and recognition and reward of their Peer Mentors through activities such as “mentor of the semester”.
Finally, the scheme was coordinated excellently by the student coordinators, showing strong leadership qualities by running regular meetings and organising several successful events.
Mechanical Engineering PASS was nominated for putting the 1st year experience at the heart of all they do. These photos highlight their strive to get involved in anything and everything, by building a community with other schemes outside of their own to hold informative academic sessions leading to a highlight of the week, as well as innovatively creating challenges that build on course knowledge too – such as the paper chair challenge.
The scheme has been consistent in getting involved in all Peer Support activity and encouraging constant communication between their PASS Leaders, 1st year students and staff members.
Finally, the Student Coordinators have shown excellent leadership through keeping the scheme’s morale high and despite their large number ensure every PASS Leader has their idea and input heard during debriefs.
While many students were finishing exams and winding down ready for summer, our new recruits have been giving up their time to attend training, in order to prepare for their new roles in September. An intense 2 weeks of PASS in Practice training sessions at the beginning of June marked the end of our Spring training period, and between Peer Mentors, PASS Leaders and Student Coordinators, 1200+ students have trained with us over these past few months. That’s a lot of volunteers!
Peer Mentor Training was a huge success, with 485 Peer Mentors completing training since February. The revamped training session received good student feedback, particularly to the new activities that were introduced. One of the new tasks was to summarise “What is Peer Mentoring?” in 140 characters – the length of a tweet. Check out some of their responses below, or under #PMTraining on our Twitter: @UoMPeerSupport
PASS in Practice (PiP) is a full day training session that all PASS Leaders must complete in order to acquire vital skills and knowledge that will equip them to excel in their role. Our PiP training period was just 12 working days long, but in that time 20 sessions were delivered and 506 students were trained! Thanks to all the students who took part, and to all the staff members who took time out of their day to train! As part of PASS in Practice training, we ask our soon-to-be PASS Leaders to present a key PASS technique that they have been reading about to the rest of the group, but we ask them to do it in a fun and creative way. The students are free to choose whether to do a roleplay, mock movie trailer, song, rap, poem or any other creative medium they like, and every time we get some really fantastic outputs. Here are a couple of great examples, a comic about redirecting questions and a fairy-tale about checking for understanding:
Student Coordinator Training has been a huge success this year too, with 74 students having attended their initial training, and 44 attending the first of their Ongoing Training sessions. This first Ongoing Training session focussed on Welcome Week and budgeting, preparing the Student Coordinators for September and giving them a chance to plan their finances for the year ahead. The session was really successful and led to some brilliant networking and plans for future collaboration between schemes. Thanks to all the Student Coordinators who took part! We’d love to hear any feedback about the session, as well as suggestions for content you’d like to cover in future Ongoing Training – if you’re a Student Coordinator and you’d like to give us your views please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Personal Development Masterclass
In March, over 100 students applied for the PwC Personal Development Masterclass, an afternoon course that was exclusively put together for PASS Leaders, Peer Mentors and Student Coordinators. Over 40 students attended the Masterclass, where they were given practical tips for life after graduation and interview advice. They also had the opportunity to explore topics such as personal brand and made the most of the networking breaks to make connections with fellow students.
PwC then invited Masterclass completers to the Manchester office; here, students were presented with their certificates and gained more of an insight into PwC, particularly in the application process for graduate jobs. Students took part in a quiz and really appreciated the chance to visit PwC Manchester.
Keep an eye on your student inbox for emails from Peer Support, where we will highlight opportunities around the University!
Peer Support Practice & Progress
We held our 1st event of this kind this year, where we invited interested staff and students to discuss some key areas of Peer Support practice and possible future progress.
The event covered three areas:
Wellbeing, which looked at how Peer Support already embeds aspects of the University's Wellbeing strategy before thinking of future ways to further increase student wellbeing. We then heard from Katrina Grier about a new 'Peer Led' student wellbeing initiative and discussed ways Peer Support could help with this.
Reward & Recognition with a presentation from Helen Franklin, Student Experience Manager for the Division of Medical Education
The Future of Peer Support, which looked at new initiatives in peer-led learning with slides on the SPACELESS peer-led distance learning project, a presentation on Basic Life Support from Patricia Conaghan from the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, and a talk on higher year Peer Support from Baljit Mudhar, a Student Coordinator from Materials Science.
Collaborative ideas were shared and recommendations were made for future events.
September Training Period
For any students who were unable to attend Peer Support training sessions before the summer holidays, we will have mop-up training sessions for Peer Mentor training, Intro to PASS, PASS in Practice and Student Coordinator training running just before and during Welcome Week.
Peer mentors that have completed Peer Mentor training but not yet attended Planning Ahead will be invited to these sessions in September, and PASS Leaders who have completed PASS in Practice will be invited to a final PASS in your Discipline session in September.
In the meantime, you can contact email@example.com if you have any queries.