Making social impact: Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE)

Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE) logo

Partners: co-create with our motivated volunteer students. Students: apply problem-solving techniques to make a social impact.

At the heart of our project is a diverse, rapidly growing community of almost 1,000 volunteer students who are personally motivated to make a positive difference in the world through Knowledge Exchange activities with our partners.

SHoKE for your organisation

Work with experienced and engaged students from underrepresented communities on complex problems. Projects typically focus on organisational challenges relating to social value initiatives and sustainability. Teams generate ideas, scoping, analysis and research, formally presenting their findings at the end of the project with a presentation and report. 100% of our partners would recommend the experience to colleagues.

Logo for THE awards 2023 shortlist - outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion

Typical benefits to partner organisations

  • Reports have influenced the operational and strategic direction taken
  • Gain valuable insights & secondary research
  • Exposure to diverse perspectives
  • Connections to ARU’s academic knowledge base
  • Fast turnaround of projects managed by ARU staff
  • Helps the sticky problems come unstuck by starting the conversation.

Options you can choose

We are delivering three innovative services to our partners:

  • Impact 24: 24-hour ‘challenge events’ which involve multidisciplinary student teams from all levels coming together to identify potential solutions to partners' societal challenges.
  • Student Consult: One-month semi-professional consultancy projects delivered by teams of postgraduates and researchers, trained and supported by professional staff at ARU.
  • Spotlight on: Four–month projects that generate a wide perspective on a major challenge that requires innovation and creativity. We challenge our entire student body to submit their creative ideas to our partners, who then select the most promising ideas and commission Student Consult teams to provide an in-depth analysis and propose implementation strategies.

We are always looking to diversify our partner base, please email [email protected] for more information.

View our YouTube channel to hear more from our partners and students.

SHoKE for students

A large group of students posed for the camera

You can develop your confidence in team-working, problem solving, creative thinking and presenting to partner organisations. SHoKE gives you the opportunity to volunteer with a diverse team of students, have some fun and receive training with no assessment pressures.

What you can gain

  • Make a social impact: Bring your unique perspectives to make a difference to society
  • Meet new people: Work closely with external organisations while collaborating with other students from different faculties
  • Showcase your professional skills: Use the skills you have developed at university in a practical setting through volunteering and internship opportunities
  • Rewards and recognitions: Add this experience to your CV, receive a digital badge (which you can share on LinkedIn) and log your volunteering hours with the Students' Union

There are opportunities for all students, from all levels and faculties. We have a community of nearly 1,000 students all passionate about making a difference.

What kind of problems will I be working on?

Partner organisations such as local councils, the NHS and charities will submit societal challenges they currently face; such as social inclusion, homelessness, mental health and energy efficiency.

Students can find out more and sign up on MyARU. Check out our YouTube channel to hear more from students that have participated.

Email [email protected] for more information.

"For me the biggest challenge I had was my self-belief, and in the year and a bit I have been involved in SHoKE now my self-belief has sky rocketed because of the way that people interact with me and the way I am encouraged to do things that I am good at I am doing things a year ago I never thought I would do." Simon Preston, MBA Educational Leadership and Management

"I discovered a lot about myself… my confidence level has increased… I discovered that yes, I really have a say,.. I shouldn’t second guess myself.” Lilian Uliem, MPH Global Public Health

"Experience from SHoKE is worth its weight in gold. My experience has strengthened my ability to work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary team, built on my leadership, consulting skills, self-confidence, and stakeholder management skills." Stephen Sarfo, MSc Town Planning

Read more about what our students think.
Three students at laptops in a cubicle, smiling together

SHoKE in the news

The SHoKE programme is shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

2023 - SHoKE students shared solutions on how to help young people living with diabetes. These were presented to the Chief Executive and the senior team at Diabetes UK.

2022 - SHoKE students were commissioned to support a regional project to create Safer Streets led by Essex Police and Essex County Council.

THE University of the Year shortlist Anglia Ruskin University’s SHoKE team work with charity to help people with type 1 diabetes ARU students' ideas help key services combat violence against women and girls