Celebrating our 2023/24 Student Champions

student champions in matching blue hoodies at student conference

In early June, we held an Equate Student Champion Celebration to celebrate the great work all our Student Champions have done this year and reflect on their learnings together. This was organised and facilitated by Molly Newhouse our Training and Development Coordinator who manages the Equate Student Network.

This year, we had 24 student champions from 8 different universities, partnered with 10 student societies, and had 27 staff champions making up the Equate student network across 16 universities and colleges.

11 of our Student Champions met at Edinburgh Napier University and we began by networking over pizza and salads. Then we had a team building activity where the students competed in groups to complete a treasure hunt and crossword to find items to help them draw beautiful beaches – the most beautiful beach won!

After this warm up, the Student Champions all gave short presentations on what they have achieved and learnt through their experience as an Equate Student Champion. Students talked about the events they organised, skills they developed, and their personal development often linked to confidence and mental health. It was clear how supportive the students have found the Equate Student Network and that was amazing to see. It was actually quite emotional at times! For this portion, another Student Champions joined online, and some Staff Champions were able to join both online and in person to hear about the great work being done at universities across Scotland.

We also gathered feedback from the Equate Student Champions about their experience through group discussions, post-it notes, and an anonymous feedback form. Of the 11 students in the room, 10 of them said they felt valued by Equate Scotland, with one student saying they sometimes feel valued by Equate. All the Students felt that the presentations had a positive effect on their confidence public speaking, and that they found the reflecting what they learnt and achieved over the year beneficial.

Here is some of the great feedback the Student Champions gave about how Equate Scotland supported them to develop:

  • “It has been so great by going through so many new memories/events. It has grown me into a more confident young lady + have been able to grain more post it notes on whiteboardskills + knowledge regarding all gender inequalities + issues”
  • “Molly [from Equate] has been fantastic – have found her support great. Always feel I can contact her for advice, run through things or chat if I’m nervous about things.”
  • “Molly was great for support and advice, she was always good at keeping positive and on track. Thank you molly <3”
  • “It has greatly increased my confidence and drive”
  • “The support from Molly is just amazing – checking in; giving innovative solutions for problems and always having a smile and positive outlook”

We also gathered some great suggestions on how the Equate Student Network can be improved. The students discussed the value of meeting in-person and how they would like to do that more. They also identified some areas of STEM they would like to see more representation of within the network and at events: mathematics, astronomy and science were highlighted. Training on language to use, with a particular focus on non-binary/trans inclusion was also suggested – something we intend to work on ready to deliver for next years Equate Student Champions at our Development Day. Finally, a common suggestion for improvement was more collaboration between universities – something that have begun to grow this year in the network and hope to support the further development of next academic year.

Students said they liked “Getting to catch up with the student champions and hearing everyone’s achievements” and “Practicing public speaking” at the celebration.

Equate Scotland would like to thank all our Staff and Student Champions, as well as partner student societies, for their involvement in the Equate Student Network this year – we have achieved so much!

student champions in matching blue hoodies at student conference