Students deliver challenge think tank

The University of Edinburgh’s Students as Change Agents (SACHA) initiative held its first think tank on 4 May 2023.

Students were welcomed to Dove Cot Studios in Edinburgh by SACHA’s director, Ruth Donnelly, for sessions covering climate and the environment, student growth, and experiential learning.

At the lively event, attendees were encouraged to move between presentations and collaborating with Change Agent teams in the main meeting space throughout the day.

The first session looked at how teaching and learning at the university could enable everyone to take meaningful action to address the climate and environmental crisis. Ideas included a sustainability fair, workshops, plus interactive programmes and alternative forms of learning, such as theatre education and hands on learning.

Session two tackled how students might feel fully part of the university of the future and know that their growth matters. Students discussed the cost of living crisis impacting academic achievement, staff accessibility, and mental health.

Participants received feedback from peers and academic staff. Dr Mark Hoelterhoff, a lecturer in clinical psychology, said: “One of the great things about a think tank is the opportunity to propose bold things. The questions we asked were tough but they are in response to these bold ideas. These kind of bold ideas are cutting edge of what we are seeing in the university of the future so I really appreciate the ideas you put together.”

Dr Jon Turner, Curriculumn Transformation Project Lead and Deputy Secretary Student Experience, said, “There are some really broad ideas and proposals that were shared and one of the things that really impressed me looking at the presentations and discussions at the Q&A is that there’s clearly a lot of detailed thinking that has gone on underneath these points.”


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