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The 2004 Materials Student Reps’ weekend was held from 12 to 14 November at Perth-y-Pia Outdoor Activity Centre, near Abergavenny, in South Wales. The event was for students from institutions across the UK who had been elected to represent their peers studying the discipline of Materials Science and Engineering.
An optimum number of Student Reps attended this year, from a range of institutions, cultural backgrounds, and varied Materials-based courses and study programmes. Staff of the UK Centre for Materials Education, and two recent Materials graduates, one from research and the other from industry, helped facilitate the full weekend.
The first main tasks of the weekend Programme involved the Student Reps sharing their experiences of (i) the skills and attributes of a Materials Rep, and (ii) common issues and needs of Materials students studying the discipline, as either modules or courses across the UK.
In the next part of the Programme, three main skills-development tasks were provided. The first was a competitive task that challenged Reps in varied groups to better communication techniques between themselves and their peers, as well as to improve their time management skills. The second was a group-based task that allowed Reps to practice their negotiating and listening skills based around a few issues that they might typically represent in their roles. The third was a self-selected and -directed team-building session that involved Reps preparing dinner, a social event with entertainment for the evening, and clues to an outdoor treasure hunt for the next morning.
The final task of the Programme was a mock / simulated Staff-Student Committee Meeting using role-play, with everyone participating in some way by taking on the roles of student learners, Student Reps or academic staff. This was followed by a feedback session where everyone reflected on the simulated task, as well as how knowledge and skills learnt in earlier tasks over the weekend had been used in the Staff-Student Committee Meeting.
The feedback at the end of the weekend was very positive from facilitators and all of the participating Student Reps. Everyone was in agreement that the fun and relaxing environment away from their respective institutions had encouraged them to reflect on their learning, to network with others in similar roles and courses from across the UK, to gain new knowledge and skills as Reps, as well as to increase their overall confidence and enthusiasm.
A selection of photographs of the weekend’s activities is posted here – highlighting the location and superb venue, participants in a range of tasks, and the great fun had by all.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to a very successful event.