CONNECT is the new brand for student-led, employer-focused, extra-curricular activities. SLA is the acronym used for student-led, employer-focused, extra-curricular activities. Introduced in 2010 to students within engineering and design schools, it has allowed the setup and execution of activities, some are listed below. Recent funding has been awarded to rebrand and expand the initiative across all disciplines on campus. Students will be able to apply for money from the Centre to setup and run activities that satisfy the criteria of the project – a) student-led, b) employer-focused and c) extra-curricular. More details of the initiative can be seen here.
SLAs (student-led activities)
Student-led activities are extra-curricular activities started up and run by a group of students. The activities provide students with opportunities to execute their ideas entrepreneurially, to do something that demonstrates motivation and dedication,and to develop enterprise and employability skills such as communication, organisation, and teamwork. The nature of the activities depend heavily on the students, some ongoing projects are listed below to provide some ideas.
Examples of activities
- The Symposium – the symposium can in itself be considered a student-led activity. Set up on June 2011 by Loughborough University and Imperial College London, its main aim was to organise symposia where students can celebrate and showcase student-led activities to other students, staff and employer representatives from various academic and non-academic institutions. At the event, experiences are shared by guest speakers as well as through panel discussions. Interactive workshops are also organised in accordance with the theme of the day. Past programmes can be seen on the website, here.
- Chemical Engineering Industrial Trips (CEIT) – CEIT was set up in 2010 by students in the Chemical Engineering Department to provide opportunities to other students in the department to visit various industrial plants in the UK. The students noted a gap in their experience due to a lack in exposure to real life industrial plants. The trips help to bring a practical approach to some of the theoretical material taught within the course. It also helps to generate more enthusiasm in the students towards the discipline. Initial funding from the HE STEM (through CEDE) and a successful first trip armed the students with more confidence to establish the activity. To find out more, read this draft case study report by the students.
- JCB Diggers – a group of students are currently exploring and designing a model digger to be produced in large numbers and low cost. The diggers will be used in workshops as an engineering outreach activity for Foundation and Key Stage 1 primary school children. The project is funded by the HE-STEM and designed in conjunction with JCB. See here for more information.
- Robogals – Robogals is an international student-led organisation that runs robotics workshops and talks about engineering careers to encourage school girls (ages 9 – 16 years) to study engineering. There are various chapters across the UK, US and Australia. The Loughborough Chapter was established in autumn 2013 after receiving funding from the university and the Robogals New Chapter grant. Although affiliated with the students’ union, it is run entirely by students for future students. There are core project leaders who are responsible for the activity and volunteers who are recruited and trained to deliver the workshops.
- EcoFuture (completed) – set up in 2010 from the initial HE-STEM funding for student-led activities, EcoFuture was set up as an energy saving challenge. The students promoted and facilitated through challenges and other awareness activities environmental awareness and energy saving within the Loughborough student community. The activity has now been handed to a students’ union society to run.
- Mars Aerobot Project (completed) – also set up in 2010 from the initial HE-STEM funding for student-led activities, this project was run in conjuction with the National Space Centre. Five students form the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering were given materials to build a model of a Mars Aerobot.