Who are you and what is your role title in Peer Support?
Lucy, Autumn, Chris and Siobhan – Student Engagement Graduate Interns.
Describe your role in one sentence?
Our role is to support the students and staff who run the Peer Support schemes for their programme in both PASS and Peer Mentoring and also to contribute to wider student engagement initiatives within the University as a whole through events, communications and additional opportunities for students.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I’m a beauty school drop out! I did an evening Beauty Therapy course during Sixth Form and loved it but had to drop out because my final exam clashed with my A-Level exams! – Lucy
I bought two cars for £375 but still have yet to drive a car or have a lesson! - Chris
What has been the highlight of your Peer Support experience so far?
Running training sessions has been an amazing experience, there has been real energy in some sessions and it’s great to see new PASS Leaders and Peer Mentors being creative and getting excited for the next year in role. - Autumn
My highlight has been running the AskMe Campaign events for Peer Support. Our Setting Up for Success event just before Welcome Week had a great turnout, and I enjoyed putting together and running an event with the team, even after only being in role for two weeks! Seeing everyone come together to support the work we do and the impact that it has was something really special, and I am looking forward to doing even more of this! - Siobhan
Where is your favourite place on Campus?
As I am a Music graduate, my favourite place is the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama to go and see live music performed! Both professional artists and the University’s Music Society put on excellent performances, and many of them are free to attend over lunchtime. - Siobhan
My favourite place on Campus is probably the Old Quad – it’s lovely to sit in and eat lunch and it looks pretty all year round! - Lucy
Recently the Peer Support Interns have been out and about on campus as we have been attending a wide variety of university-wide events to spread the word about Peer Mentoring and PASS. This has included the Orientation Event for new International Students, Open Days and the Start of Year Fair. We also ran our first ever ‘Setting Up for Success’ event as a part of the AskMe Campaign, and it was a huge success! It was great to see so many Student Coordinators get together before Welcome Week and start planning ahead for the semester.
At the event on Friday 15th September, just before Welcome Week, we gave Student Coordinators a chance to get together and discuss their ideas for Welcome Week and further into Semester One. It was a huge success, with representatives from a good mix of schemes. We also handed out AskMe badges and promoted upcoming competitions and events. We then held our annual AskMe Thank You Event in Week 4, to which we invited the Head of Student Communications and Marketing - Paul Govey, to speak and thank our volunteers for their hard work and announced the winner of the AskMe photo competition. We also collected the badges back in, and ran a competition to see who could collect the most back in (winner is announced below)! The event gave Student Coordinators another chance to network and talk about any future events and collaborations they would like to pursue. It was amazing to see so many active and engaged volunteers from the programme sharing their thoughts and ideas at both of these events!
Other events across the University that we supported included; International Orientation, Start of Year Fair, Volunteering and Social Justice Fair, and Open Days. At each of these events Interns or Peer Support Volunteers attended and met prospective and current students and promoted the Peer Support Programme and opportunities available to students at the University of Manchester.
Peer Support ran 2 workshops as part of International Orientation, we went armed with a few icebreaker activities to help International Students build relationships and settle into life in Manchester. Similarly, the Start of Year Fair was a great chance to meet with other new students and give them information on what was available to them through Peer Support. We had some Peer Support Volunteers help out on the stall, and they did a great job of talking to all the prospective and current students!
At the Volunteering and Social Justice Fair, we met with students in all years of study who were interested in becoming Peer Mentors or PASS Leaders, and informed them of further opportunities that would be available to them if they took up this role - such as the new Volunteering and Wellbeing Champions initiatives that are running this year (more information about these in our Focus On section) and how they can get involved with Basic Life Support or become a Student Consultant for the University. Finally, at the Open Days we had Bernard Cooke from the Maths PASS scheme and Brenda Stuhldreher Barroso from the Arabic PASS scheme help members from the Intern Team man the Peer Support stall and give information to prospective students! A big thank you to them for going above and beyond in their roles as Student Coordinators!
These events, and more, have all been a great opportunity to promote Peer Support and its opportunities to prospective and current students. However, there have also been high levels of scheme activity over the Welcome Period, and some highlights sent in by our volunteers are shown below!
|PASS schemes across the university have had lots of creative ideas up their sleeve in preparation for the first year students’ arrival in September. Pierre Barnaud and Mike Cruchten, the Computer Science PASS Coordinators, organised a scavenger hunt (see left picture) that took place during Week 1, before formal PASS Sessions started in Week 2. PASS Leaders went with different teams of first year students in the city centre to discover places in Manchester they may have not seen before. It was definitely a success as some second year PASS Leaders even said that they discovered things they haven’t seen after a year living here! It was a fantastic opportunity for first years to make new friends in the scheme and for PASS Leaders to meet some of their future PASS students. Similarly, the Chemical Engineering and School of Biological Sciences (SBS) PASS schemes also ran scavenger hunts to get their first years used to the campus and Manchester itself.|
The MACE PASS schemes (Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering) ran year wide events for their first year students. The information was sent in by Steph Taylor a Student Coordinator for the Mechanical Engineering Year 1 scheme, in collaboration with the Coordinators from Aerospace Engineering and Civil Engineering, about what these three schemes did.
Mechanical Engineering tasked students with making a small car from just balloons (see right picture), cardboard, straws, and plastic bottles. The cars were pitted against each other to see which could travel the furthest, with the winner nearly travelling the length of Sackville building's entrance hall! This activity was great, not only to help break the ice, but also to help inspire students with a similar design challenge they'll be starting soon on their degree course.
Aerospace Engineering challenged students to create boomerangs from balsa wood, sandpaper, and anything else they had with them (see right picture below). The competition was judged on both aesthetics and functionality.
Civil Engineering students were challenged to build towers using only spaghetti and marshmallows (see left picture below). Points were awarded for height, aesthetics, and creating accurate sketches. This was a fantastic early ice-breaker for the PASS students, as well as helping to develop an early understanding of structural behaviour and showcasing their creativity as engineers.
However, it wasn’t just PASS schemes that were out there running events, our Peer Mentoring Schemes also helped give the first year students a massive welcome! On Tuesday 10th October the Psychology Peer Mentoring scheme coordinated a bowling social for their mentees, and it had really great attendance (see picture below)! Everyone who came thoroughly enjoyed themselves and said that they could not wait for future events (I mean, bowling and food, what’s not to love?). The Student Coordinators Sonalia Kaur and Callum Mogridge said that “considering this was hosted in week 3 makes us really happy as we were able to get so many people involved in the scheme at such an early stage. We can’t wait to do more for our mentees and we hope other schemes are sharing the same success as we are!”
Finally, Ryan Jones, a Student Coordinator for the German Peer Mentoring scheme, shared with us about how the Peer Mentors showed the new First Year German students around the central campus and pointed out key buildings, and shared some knowledge about the German heritage of the campus! Did you know, Henry Simon, after whom the Simon Building is named, was a very important German figure in Manchester, as he revolutionised flour milling in the UK, and the Stephen Joseph Studio (aka The German Church), was founded in 1853 and its first pastor was Hermann Edward Marotsky? Their photo (to the right) was taken under the famous arch of the old quadrangle, a stone’s throw away from the Beyer Building, which is named after a German industrialist and benefactor of the University. The tour followed on from the department Welcome Talk, where First Years had had the opportunity to get to know their Peer Mentors over coffee and cake, which was baked by some of the Peer Mentors.
There have been a number of activities that we have visited too, including quizzes run by the History and English Literature, American Studies and Creative Writing (EAC) Peer Mentoring schemes to get first years thinking about subject knowledge while meeting each other and their Peer Mentors. The Peer Mentoring scheme for Medicine ran a curry for all first years and their Peer Mentors in Welcome Week at Royal Nawaab in Levenshulme, with around 600 people in attendance! In week 1, they also then ran a board games night at Squirrels in Fallowfield using some of the board games available through the Peer Support team. Audiology Peer Mentors gave their mentees a tour of the campus in Welcome Week, and then took their mentees for a meal in Week 4 to catch up and see what questions they had. Finally, the French Peer Mentoring team hosted a wine and cheese night at one Peer Mentor’s house with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic wine to include everyone! There is also so much more we cannot mention here, so just a big thank you to everyone for your hard work during the Welcome Period!
We love hearing about all of the activity that goes on within each scheme, so if you are running an event, organising collaboration, or doing anything else on campus, please let us know via your Lead Contact Intern or directly to email@example.com and we will promote it on Social Media, in our Fortnightly Update, and in the future Newsletters!
As many of you know, our ‘P’ branding goes far beyond the Peer Mentoring and PASS models you have all experienced. Some of our new Peer Led models are celebrated here. If you are interested in any of these new models, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This exciting new initiative is all about empowering student ‘Wellbeing Champions’ to support the wellbeing of others. They are trained in event planning and will be designing wellbeing events of their own in second semester after being involved in ‘Wellbeing Week’ coming up in Academic Week 9, November 20th – 24th. We cannot wait to see the positive impact our Champions are going to have on campus this year!
If you would like to get involved in ‘Wellbeing Week’ then you can apply to become a Wellbeing Week volunteer, helping to ensure that the events run smoothly and that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy them. Sign up here.
October saw the launch of the Volunteering Champions pilot. The opportunity is a joint venture between Peer Support and the Volunteering and Community Engagement Team here at The University of Manchester. This pioneering role looks at why volunteering is important and how these students can promote volunteering opportunities and events to their peers.
A briefing session hosted by the Volunteering Team looking at the role in more detail and highlighted the new Volunteering Hub to them, a platform in which students and staff at the University of Manchester can find a wealth of volunteering opportunities. The first job the Champions were tasked with was the promotion of The Volunteering and Social Justice fair which took place on Tuesday 17th October and was a great success.
Peer-Led Basic Life Support
Peer-led Basic Life Support (BLS) was piloted last year as a collaborative project between Peer Support and the Division of Nursing. We now have 45 student BLS instructors teaching students from every faculty how to perform CPR, use an AED, stop someone from choking and put someone in the recovery position. These peer-led sessions have already led to someone saving a life, just one day after receiving the training!
For more information about Basic Life Support please email email@example.com.
Counselling User Groups
|Another great initiative is the Counselling User Groups. Our Peer Support Counselling facilitators lead small group discussions around issues such as social anxiety and bereavement and help participants overall with their wellbeing. The counselling facilitators give up their time and use their own experiences to ensure that students are provided with a supportive environment when going through the toughest of times.|
AskMe badge competition winner:
At the AskMe Thank You Event we collected back as many AskMe badges as we could. An amazing 12 schemes returned at least 100% of their badges, with over 600 badges being returned overall! Of the 12 schemes one was randomly selected to receive the £50 prize, so a big congratulations to Advanced Mathematics/Statistics PASS for being our lucky winner!
Skills Development Course
The Skills Development Course (formally known as Peer Leadership Strand) is run in collaboration with the My Learning Essentials (MLE) team, within the Library Services. To be recognised as an Advanced Peer Mentor or PASS Leader you must; register your interest with Peer Support, attend four workshops run by MLE and a summary session. The workshops develop skills such as how to reduce anxiety, how to effectively reference, and even training in how to use different software as well as many more!
For more information about Skills Development Course please email firstname.lastname@example.org