Let's Gather events are an important part of our community in the School of Health in Social Science.
Let's Gather started as a way to bring students and staff together to socialise and remind us that it's okay to take a break! Our programme of free events is developed in consultation with students and staff, is supported by our Student Community Leaders. It includes a peer support scheme, movie nights, a Photography Competition, Coffee and Cake afternoons, festive parties and Therapet sessions. Events are advertised on the School’s website, Facebook and Twitter and in the School Newsletter.
Find out more about how Let's Gather came about in this blog post from the members of staff who started it all.
Let’s Gather and think Careers! A series of hour-long online careers events introducing students to the University’s Careers Service and to the essentials of applying for work. Topics covered include Assessing your Skills, Standout CVs, Preparing for Interviews and an open Q&A session.
Our students have been posting photos for regular themed competitions, with the photographer receiving the most likes winning a voucher. The photos have brought joy to everyone looking for a break from the written word!
Peer Support Scheme
Our Peer Support Scheme, coordinated by our Student Community Leaders, has been appreciated by many students looking to connect across programmes and countries online this year. As restrictions have eased, students who have been connected through the scheme have been able to meet in-person.
Divya Sivaramakrishnan, a post-doctoral research in our school has been contributing to our health and wellbeing with fortnightly online yoga sessions for staff and students. Pitched for beginners, these sessions have been highly accessible and created a supportive community for all involved.
Two wellbeing festivals especially for our School, one during exams and the second during the dissertation period, gave students an opportunity to step away from study for short periods to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing through self-compassion, mindfulness, yoga and walking activities. Staff and students contributed to making these festivals a huge success.
When we were finally allowed to meet in person, we ran an outdoors lunchtime book swap. Members of the school brought along novels to swap out for summer reading. The weather was fine, and students had a chance to meet each other in person – hooray!
Let’s Gather Welcome Event
September 2019's Welcome Event was held at Teviot Row House, it consisted of a pub quiz, lego challenges, snacks, drinks and fun. Special congratulations go to team Numbskulls”, overall winners of the evening’s activities.
Coffee and cake are ongoing events have been really popular and well-attended by students and staff! These sessions encourage us to take a break, catch up with each other and meet new people from across the School. Delicious coffee and cakes are provided by Artisan Roast and the event becomes a hub of chat and activity. These sessions are held monthly to be sure to check out the events calendar and our social channels for dates.
Research shows that spending time with furry friends can reduce stress and improve wellbeing. With this in mind, friendly dogs from Canine Concern Scotland have visited the School to spend time with students and staff. We have held two Therapet sessions so far and they have proved to be a highly popular and effective way for people across the School to take some time out for themselves. During the session students and staff can meet and spend time with Therapet dogs and have a chance chat with their owners and other people from across the School. We hope to offer more Therapet sessions in the future as we know how much our students and staff enjoy them!
Let’s Gather Welcome Event
Our Let’s Gather programme was launched with a School-wide welcome event in September 2018 which involved games, drinks and banter and a Dragon’s Den style activity. Students and staff worked together to develop a new business idea based on a specific (and very silly) object. We were amazed by the entrepreneurial skill and ingenuity of the different proposals!
We're all mental
One of our earlier Let's Gather events was an evening of pizza, drinks, debate and a talk from Professor Matthias Schwannauer on how we define mental illness now and in the future, which he had previously performed as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at the Edinburgh Fringe. If neuroscience allows us to physically locate our thoughts, anguish and distress, can we identify a fix? Could this be our key to happiness and contentment? If mental illness is largely defined by not being typical, who wants to be? This was a unique opportunity to socialise as a community and debate an interesting topic.
Let's Get Festive
In December 2018 Let's Gather hosted an end of term party open to everyone across the School. We celebrated our hard work and successes with mulled wine, mince pies, some ceilidh dancing, and live music from the band Pictism.
Lets Gather: Real Talk
In May 2019 Lily Asch, an alumna of the University of Edinburgh, joined us to share the story of her journey from student to social entrepreneur, and Founder and Director of Real Talk. Real Talk is a social enterprise dedicated to mental health storytelling. Students and staff gathered, listened and networked over drinks and nibbles for an evening exploring mental health storytelling.
Let's Gather Summer Barbecue
To celebrate the start of summer 2019, and the end of another successful year, we hosted a School barbeque. The sun was shining and there were colleagues, students and their families there playing games, eating BBQ food and socialising.