Student Chapter Winter Conference

Anoshe Waheed, Education & Communications Intern

On Friday 25th November, Article 25 gathered some of our student chapters together (some who had endured a rather painful 5 hour coach journey) for our annual Winter Conference at the Herman Miller Showrooms in Aldwych. Representing their universities were committee members from Dundee, Sheffield, Lincoln, Northumbria, Liverpool, Westminster, London Southbank and a hopeful new addition to our chapter network – Oxford Brooks. John Brownlie kicked off the day with a presentation on his work in Sierra Leone for Article 25, building in the country’s incredible Gola Forest. John gave the students some handy hints and tips about working in the field, his personal highlights and struggles (which included a rather terrifying encounter with a black cobra!) and how his technical skills were put to use. John’s presentation showed the students how their skills could be used in the field and hopefully inspired them to pursue similar projects in the future.

After lunch, the conference focused on providing the students with practical skills to get the most out of their chapters at their respective universities. The first presentation was given by Article 25’s fundraising intern, Maria Gherman on the most effective methods of fundraising, with a particular focus on Gold Challenge and street collections. The students were also split up into groups and set a fundraising challenge, whereby they had to pitch to a family member, corporate bosses or their local council in order to raise funds for Article 25. The range of the pitches was incredibly impressive, with some adopting for a more informal, emotional pitch to others who focused on the technical effectiveness of Article 25’s work.

Sophie Horn, Article 25’s Press Officer then took over with a ‘PR & Campaigns’ Workshop, setting the students a challenge of creating a whole campaign around one of our current projects. Our chapters certainly came up with some interesting ideas, from ‘Christmas Carnivals’ to ‘Stitch & Bitch’ sessions to raise awareness of disaster relief in Haiti as well as the lack of education for girls in Afghanistan. Daithi MacLaimhin, our project architect ended the day’s workshops with a design challenge, which allowed the students to put their skills to the test by designing their own school in Burkina Faso.

The conference ended with a design and development quiz, testing the student’s knowledge about architecture, development and the less technical task of matching celebrities to their causes – Congratulations again to Team Tea for winning! The conference was an informative and fun day which allowed our chapters to get together, share tips, experiences and gave them some helpful training, ready to kickstart fundraising and promoting for Article 25 in the upcoming term!

Thank you to all our students who attended and Herman Miller Showrooms for kindly hosting us.