My Student KE Transformational Experience

Guest article from Jennifer Osuide, MSc Student at Anglia Ruskin University

Why the SHoKE Impact: 24 is a big opportunity for students. Allow us to paint you a picture.

Jennifer Osuide

Participating in the Citizens Essex and Chelmsford founding assembly as international students on Thursday 16th March 2023 was an inspiring experience for us. Let’s give you the backstory!

As Masters’ students at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), we – Tosin Olunubi (MSc International Business FBL) and Jennifer Osuide (MSc Public Health and Community Wellbeing, HES) are interested in community leadership and catalysing social change. We both felt the need to gain experience in these areas and so when we arrived at ARU respectively, we began to look for opportunities to gain knowledge and acquire relevant skills for the sort of change we hope to work towards in the future.

Hear from our students and programme manager about the Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE) platform at ARU

It was very exciting to discover the SHoKE (Student at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange): Impact 24 on myARU, and after going through the programme overview, we applied, were accepted, inducted and into the challenge. Interestingly, we did not know each other at the time of the programme and we were on different teams working with the external partners Citizens Essex. Our teams were given the challenge to come up with policies and strategies that would help improve crime reporting by undocumented migrants in specific migrant communities in Essex without fear of repercussions. As we all know, abuse and criminal offenses are everywhere, and with the way the system is organized, these offenses are expected to be reported and justice served. Unfortunately, a group of people- the undocumented migrants are not privileged to receive justice for crimes committed against them, hence, they are prone to constant abuse because criminals know that they are too afraid to report. They cannot report these crimes to the police, because of their immigration status, and fear of repercussions from the Home Office. Quite a number of these people became undocumented because of ignorance, immigration scams and trafficking. We had the opportunity during the challenge to listen to real-life stories.

It was a very challenging, enlightening, and exciting 24 hours. We worked in teams and we were able to come up with recommendations that have the potential to bring real change. Some of the solutions provided were; Community Support Groups, platforms to report crimes anonymously with support from the police, access to social amenities without repercussions, and policies to ensure that undocumented migrants get documented. Our partners were very pleased with these and accepted the solutions provided, which we were invited to speak about at the Citizens Essex and Chelmsford founding assembly on Thursday the 16th of March at ARU Chelmsford Campus.

Participating in SHoKE’s impact 24 provided the amazing opportunity to attend the Citizens Essex assembly which was also the launch of Citizens Chelmsford of which ARU is a founding member. We were not just there as guests but had the privilege of speaking about our challenge and the measures that we came up with during Impact:24. We got to interact with and speak before the Deputy Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, members of the City Council, candidates for the council election, founding members of Chelmsford citizens, and other participants who are as passionate and concerned about this cause as we are. This is no longer just about a 24-hour challenge but has presented the opportunity of a lifetime to make a difference and we have SHoKE’s Impact:24 to thank.

We also got the opportunity to interact with the amazing Julia Carr, who is the ARU Citizens UK Lead and a Senior Lecturer in Education at ARU. She is extremely passionate about catalysing change in her community and being a part of this change. We had the opportunity to sit and chat with Julia and were both proud to hear her speak of ARU’s commitment to community development as a founding member of Citizens Chelmsford. Julia also spoke about the relationship between Citizens Essex and the SHoKE programme, a relationship that is birthing leadership training opportunities for ARU students in the summer of 2023 (details will soon be available on the SHoKE community). Our chat with Julia was an eye-opening one and who knows, we might need to write an article dedicated to all the wonderful insights gained that day. For now, we are all excited about what comes next after the assembly which may include continuing conversations with relevant stakeholders to ensure that change comes.

During the Impact:24 challenge, we worked with a sharp deadline, learned to work in teams, and saw first-hand the importance of different perspectives. Listening to real-life stories of people who are victims of these crimes stirred up our resolve to want to continue to give back to our society with the skills and knowledge gained via this platform and we look for more opportunities to serve.

Background to SHoKE:

ARU’s Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE) programme delivers transformational benefits to students from diverse backgrounds, by giving them the opportunity to make a personal impact on complex social challenges. Challenges are issued by ARU’s SHoKE partners, including Cambridgeshire County Council, Essex County Council, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Imperial War Museum and charities, for example Diabetes UK.

Since 2021 the SHoKE programme has engaged 1000 students with 40 civic partners to tackle 150 gritty social challenges.

For information please contact:
Neale Daniel
SHoKE Programme Manager
Anglia Ruskin University
[email protected]

Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE) website