Bringing together over 200 Chapter members since its creation, Building Community Leaders was founded in 2017 with the purpose of training the committees of each Chapter to ensure they are equipped to support the amplification of Engineers Without Borders UK’s work and message within their local communities.

During the day-long event, students take part in workshops on globally responsible engineering, have the opportunity to practise key skills, provide reflections on the previous academic year, and collaborate with other Chapters to plan the year ahead.

On Saturday 14 October, we hosted Building Community Leaders 2023. The main topic of conversation for this year’s event was how we, at Engineers Without Borders UK, could better engage with university Chapters and how Chapters across the country can collaborate with one another. 

“The Building Community Leaders Event was incredible! It was an amazing opportunity for students to come together and brainstorm ahead of the ongoing academic year. I was able to meet a couple of the student Chapters I will be supporting this year and it was great to get the ball rolling in person and start collaborations from the get-go. Thank you to the Engineers Without Borders UK team for organising this event and encouraging a creative, welcoming and collaborative environment. I can’t wait for the year ahead.”

– Toni McLaughlin, student at the University of Glasgow and Student Champion

It was suggested that, to aid the overcoming of geographic boundaries between the staff team and each Chapter, we deliver online events throughout the year, where Chapters can virtually connect to discuss plans, share challenges they’re facing, and hear updates about Engineers Without Borders UK activities. 

We also explored how communication and resource sharing could be improved, with ideas, such as localised Chapter groups and a shared drive being brought forward, alongside updates to the Slack platform.

Nishika Chettry delivering her keynote.

The inspiring, Nishika Chettry, joined us in the afternoon to deliver a keynote on her story (so far!) in engineering, including her experience participating in the Engineering for People Design Challenge. Nishika is enthusiastic about the potential for technology to benefit people and planet, and talked about her final project – BinoSAuR – which is designed to separate waste materials.

The Engineers Without Borders UK team will be working with Student Champions, who are responsible for connecting the dots between Chapters and staff, to deliver on these changes and ensure Chapters can operate as effectively as possible over the next academic year.

“The event held the space for meaningful connection between participants, and it created an environment fertile to the cultivation of ideas, connections and co-creation. Quite crucially, while the global challenges we are facing are vast, it is remembered to be fun and engaging. And that’s the only way we can successfully address them.”

– Milán Páczai, student at Imperial College London and Student Champion

If you are an active Chapter member who missed the Building Community Leaders event and want to share your thoughts or find out more about the discussions held on the day, please get in touch. We are excited about the changes we are implementing and look forward to seeing what this year’s committees get up to.

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