Degrees in Cornwall
Welcome Week team building for History students
On 21 September 2012, for the second year running, we arranged two team building sessions for first year History undergraduates at the Cornwall Campus, in association with BF Adventure, a local Cornish charity that specialises in outdoor activities. Almost every single new undergraduate attended the activities, which were generously funded by the Annual Fund, the University's annual appeal which seeks the philanthropic support of its alumni and friends.
Collecting tags and making plasticine models
58 new History students were divided into teams for the two-hour sessions. Each team was assisted by a volunteer History mentor (a second or third year undergraduate), and had to work together to collect as many tags as possible in fifty minutes. Tags were gathered by successfully completing challenges – some physical, some mental – overseen by BF Adventure staff outside Tremough House on campus. Each tag contained a clue to help the team identify an historical figure, which the groups then had to sculpt in plasticine back at Tremough House! The winning team – judged not only by their artistic talent but, more importantly, how they worked together – were awarded a small prize by Professor Alan Booth, Lead Academic for History Cornwall.
We know that moving away from home and starting university can be a daunting experience, and the team building sessions were a direct response to how many new students feel. The students involved were naturally a little wary of a team development session as part of their Welcome Week to begin with, by the end of the day everyone had enjoyed the session. Almost everyone thought they’d worked well together in the teams, and most of the students agreed the exercise would help them make friends on campus.
"A fantastic day; they had fun, I had fun, and I really think it was worthwhile!"
The six History mentors involved felt the afternoon was a brilliant idea that worked really well. One of them said “it was clear that lots of planning had gone into making the event a success,” while another commented that “everyone had to talk and get involved, and it wasn’t too personal that people felt uncomfortable. I would have loved to have been able to get involved in something like that [in Welcome Week]!” Another mentor said “most of my group really enjoyed it and were laughing throughout the session”, while one summed it up perfectly:”‘a fantastic day; they had fun, I had fun, and I really think it was worthwhile!”
The afternoon proved a great success. Team-building as well as ice-breaking, the various activities added a different kind of stimulus to Welcome Week that was greatly appreciated by the new students. BF’s professionalism generated real enthusiasm for the tasks being undertaken and ensured that things went very smoothly. I hope we can do this again next year.
Professor Alan Booth, Lead Academic for History Cornwall