University physio societies are invaluable, particularly during these challenging times, says Gabrielle Icmat
Starting university in 2019, excited to study physiotherapy at Brunel University and get involved with extracurriculars, I found that the physio society had collapsed the preceding year.
During 2019/20, a student team pulled together, not only rebuilding the society from a little to non-existent standing, but also managing to successfully organise charity fundraisers and social events for all cohorts to get involved.
Our physio society has gone from strength to strength, having communicated with other university societies on how best to help students in the academic and social scope. Over the past year, we have enabled students to network with alumni (and organised educational talks with them); learnt from first-hand experiences about working in different areas across the UK; gone on educational trips such as Body Worlds; and discovered the possibilities working abroad.
With further plans being put on hold due to Covid, student activities have had to adapt fast and adapt well to retain engagement while maintaining an adequate support system. As with many organisations, Zoom has come into play massively as the committee has kept in touch over lockdown and hosted ‘pub’ quizzes in place of pub crawls and other socials.
Since the pause on traditional face-to-face lectures, it is more important than ever that societies create opportunities for students to socialise and meet peers.
New projects have been inspired with students taking on a Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) outreach programme in schools, where we challenge cultural misconceptions of physiotherapy and other allied health professions. Coming from a BAME background I’ve found that in ethnic communities there is more of an emphasis towards medicine and nursing, with little focus on AHPs and through this programme we hope to rectify this.
We hope to take more projects forward as we head into a challenging academic year.
- Gabrielle Icmat is a second year BSc physiotherapy student at Brunel University London. Instagram: @brunel physiosociety
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