Emily Roberts reports on the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Student Ambassador Programme’ that UoB is working on alongside the University of Manchester
The University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester are currently working towards introducing new projects such as the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Student Ambassador Programme’, with the help of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
These initiatives have been designed with the aim of addressing a range of issues students face today, including mental health issues, prejudice, and sexual harassment. Emphasis has been placed on introducing intensive training sessions, which will educate students and staff members on how to appropriately react and intervene in situations where others are harassed and/or experience discrimination.
According to an official report released by the University of Manchester, student ambassadors will also ‘undertake activities to facilitate inclusive learning environments, enhance student experiences, and engage with wellbeing activities.’ These programmes also hope to improve the life chances of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who perhaps face more obstacles in their path to success than others.
In a report released by the University of Birmingham, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equalities, Professor Una Martin said, ‘This project will enable us to support our partners to establish Ambassador programmes in other institutions and also to expand the scope of our programme to focus on nationality, gender and religion or belief.’
In an article published on the HEFCE website, Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said, ‘we take any form of violence and sexual harassment extremely seriously, and expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach.’ He added: ‘the number of projects announced and the support shown reinforces the willingness of universities across the country to support staff and students in providing safe and secure campuses.’
Speaking on behalf of HEFCE, Professor Madeleine Atkins said: ‘we are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months.’
Speaking to Redbrick, UoB student Hannah said: ‘I think it’s great that more is being done to address these issues – especially when they affect so many students. I personally welcome any new measures introduced to improve the experiences of students affected by discrimination, harassment, or disadvantage.’