The impact of the pandemic upon student opportunities

News and analysis of higher education from our leading team of wonks.

It’s been just over a year since lockdown kicked in. In most cases courses moved online – but many student opportunities, societies and groups have struggled amidst restrictions.

The Sutton Trust recently published national evidence on the impact of the pandemic upon participation in student opportunities, with a particular emphasis on participation by disadvantaged students.

There has understandably been less of a focus so far on the impact on the opportunities themselves – what hasn’t run, what might have been lost during the pandemic and what it would take to rebuild in time for September.

So Wonkhe and Organised Fun are working together to gather evidence, and we’d really appreciate your participation. Please don’t feel you have to be totally precise – rough figures for these questions would really help us.

We’d really appreciate brief responses by Friday, 19th March.

Here’s the survey – and you can see the questions in the survey in advance below.

https://forms.gle/YvfdGnMkhzy3mTMCA

Q1: SUs – How many registered student opportunity groups (ie clubs, societies etc) were actively operating under the ambit of the students’ union during 2019-20?

<<NUMBER>>

Q2: SUs – How many registered student opportunity groups (ie clubs, societies etc) exhibited at your freshers/welcome fair or equivalent in September 2020?

<<NUMBER>>

Q3: SUs – How many registered student opportunity groups (ie clubs, societies etc) would you say have been genuinely active during this year?

<<NUMBER>>

Q4: SUs – Are there any particular themes to the opportunities you are worried about? Types of society? Types of student? Etc

<<TEXT>>

Q5: SUs – Without any particular, specific or extraordinary intervention from the SU or other bodies between now and September, and assuming that restrictions are in place until the end of the academic year, how many registered student opportunity groups (ie clubs, societies etc) would you predict are likely to be in a position to exhibit at your freshers/welcome fair or equivalent in September 2021?

<<NUMBER>>

We have a clear sense from surveys and research why students might have struggled to take part this year. But what about those who operate and run student opportunities?

Q6: SUs and National bodies – What would you say have been the main challenges for those running student opportunity groups this year?

<<TEXT>>

Q7: SUs and National bodies – If you could wave a magic support/funding/intervention wand between now and mid-September, what would you wish for from government, the university or other bodies to support the process of rebuilding, diversifying or maintaining the breadth of opportunities available to students through groups between now and September?

<<TEXT>>

Q8: SUs and National bodies – Finally, do you have anything else to add – for example, things that have gone well since the beginning of the pandemic in the student opportunities space and/or lessons to learn?

<<TEXT>>

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