SAUWS guest blog – what we learned from Community Engagement coaching

SAUWS is one of nine community projects that received coaching in 2015 through Scottish Communities CAN’s community engagement support project. We asked Naomi to tell us a bit about it:

Group 2The Student’s Association for the University of the West of Scotland (SAUWS) has run a number of Scottish Government Climate Challenge Funded projects over the last 5 years. The aims of these projects were to engage staff and students at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), as well as members of the wider community, in issues relating to the environmental sustainability and climate change.

DSC_0168We have often found that engagement has been hard to encourage at UWS from a number of reasons; such as geographical spread and there being a majority of mature and part-time students with dependants, placements or jobs.

As a result, we hoped that the Scottish Communities CAN coaching would equip us with the tools to increase engagement specifically with our students as we felt that the engagement we had encouraged with staff and the wider community was going well. In the end, the timescales of the Scottish Communities CAN  coaching were outside of the university terms, so we felt that it was more constructive to focus on forward planning techniques to aid our coordination of this project, as well as giving us the time to meet and communicate more effectively as a team.

What are your top 3 tips for getting your community on board?

Top 3 tips:

  1. Have a visual space that people can relate to
  2. Take time to get to know the people you’re working with
  3. Be friendly and interested!

Would you recommend learning from other projects?

Yes, I would definitely recommend visiting other community projects – we learned a lot from Stirling Union when setting up our Sustainability Hub.

If your people working on project would like to visit and learn from another community project, you could be supported by Community Learning Exchange. Find out more

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