On Thursday the 30th of March, five students from UCL and the University of East London gathered at The Renewal Programmes’ main hub to help them solve a new problem they had identified: how to get young people into upcycling and understanding the impact fast fashion has on the environment.
What is a Social Hackathon?
Social Hackathons are problem-solving and solution-creating events that give participants a first-hand insight into the third sector. In one day, volunteers problem-solve, devise and implement solutions to the issues their Community Partners face.
“When I read about the Social Hackathon organised by the Students’ Union, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to put in practice the knowledge I have acquired in my MSc at UCL and learn some new skills in the process. After my master’s degree I am hoping to work in the public sector or in consultancy for community projects, so volunteering for a Borough like Newham really appealed to me as I didn’t know much about it.
I was really surprised to learn that Newham is one of the fastest growing Boroughs of London, with some of the youngest and most diverse residents living in it. But it is also one of the most polluted and deprived in London and England, and a lot can be done to support the communities living there.
On the day I felt charged and ready to have a great session, and I left feeling empowered and happy to have met people that truly care about helping others.
The people responsible for the Renewal Programme at the community centre and the volunteering coordinator from the Students’ Union made sure that the day would run smoothly and that we would have plenty of snacks to feed our minds while working.But I was mostly impressed by the people that decided to volunteer with me. Together, we creatively brainstormed using our laptops, big paper sheets, post-it notes and marker pens, feeding off each other’s ideas and skills.
After lunch, we all picked a section of our presentation and worked on it on a shared document, asking for feedback from each other and making changes. I felt proud and confident when presenting our initiative on behalf of the group, as we all believed to have understood the brief and the peculiar situation of Newham Borough.
It was great to be praised for our detailed work and for the different scenarios we had considered, and I hope to hear from the people at the Renewal Programme soon to get feedback from the community.
I definitely recommend anyone who is interested in volunteering and in getting to know the communities living in London to take part in the initiatives that the Students’ Union organises, as the Hackathon was very beneficial for me and for my research!”Eleonora Piga, student of MSc Learning Environments in The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction
You can view the presentation students made during this social hackathon here