Last week we hosted University Chapter committee members from across the UK at our Building Community Leaders training in London. Over the two action packed days we aimed to refine the students understanding on topics such as outreach, event organisation, the Designathon and much more. We were delighted to see faces from the previous year, in addition to new Chapters joining our ranks including Lancaster University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Greenwich and the University of East Anglia.

The weekend began with Chief Executive, Katie Cresswell-Maynard welcoming the students, highlighting the impact of Chapters on the future of the industry and our planet. Following introductions, Chapter members started by reflecting on what they believed are today’s biggest Global Challenges. Themes from the session ranged from levels of consumption, plastic, and educating the next generation, alongside engaging industry leaders and decision makers about the challenges we are facing.

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To focus on the communications aspect of a committee role we held a session on how to effectively present and communicate what a Chapter is as well as the wider mission of Engineers Without Borders UK. Covering elevator pitches to guessing what song their partner was clapping, this session harnessed the understanding of the organisation into effective minute long pitches, which will be priceless during freshers week.

Across the two days guest speakers, Nav Sawnhey and Stephen Turner, who have been involved with the organisation in a variety of ways, reflected on how Engineers Without Borders UK has directly affected their career choices and principles as practicing engineers.

For Nav, his experience with Engineers Without Borders UK encouraged him to question how he could make his engineering go further. Today, he is the founder of The Washing Machine project, a social enterprise which aims to alleviate the burden of hand washing clothes across the world.

We also took time to reflect on the achievements of the Chapters over the past academic year. This included the University of Nottingham Chapter which has been running for five year’s, and carried out conservation projects in the Peake District; Loughborough University ran the Designathon for the first time, a 12 hour multidisciplinary design sprint with fantastic outcomes; the University of Sheffield delivered outreach in the local area; and Queen Mary University of London focused on engaging girls in engineering by running projects at a local girls school.

The following day began with training on how to provide outreach in schools, alongside a workshop on how to effectively plan and run events to meet Engineers Without Borders UK’s objectives to inspire, enable and influence global responsibility in engineering. Later in the day, Head of Engineering Emma Critchon held a session on the Designathon, which will be rolled out across all university Chapters this year.

The weekend wrapped up with Chapter’s looking forward to the year ahead, considering what they want to achieve, influence and communicate. Each committee pledged three commitments which included engaging students from multiple disciplines in their Chapter, running at least five outreach sessions across the year, hosting a networking event, gaining funding, holding a successful freshers event and hosting the Designathon. As the day came to a close, committee members took the opportunity to network with their peers, widening their network for collaborative opportunities in the future.

We look forward to hearing how the new academic year has begun as our Chapters continue to spread the message of Engineers Without Borders UK to the next generation of engineers.

If you haven’t already, create your free Chapter membership account to stay engaged with the growing community.