Students as Change Agents Programme

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Learning programme supports students to tackle sustainable tourism and youth homelessness in Edinburgh

Students as Change Agents is an experiential learning programme that brings students from different academic disciplines together to tackle real-world complex challenges.

Funded by Data Driven Innovation at the University of Edinburgh, the programme is part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Students as Change Agents collaborated with the Social Enterprise Academy to deliver a learning programme for participants to help them work well as a team to have the greatest impact and to learn how to highlight the impact of their projects.

The programme has helped participants grow their understanding of online team dynamics, while supporting them to create engaging proposals through written and visual storytelling.

Al Powell, Project Manager at Students as Change Agents said:

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"We have been really excited to provide this opportunity for our students and were determined not to let Covid-19 stop us. Originally, we had designed the programme for 42 students and six groups, to have finished with over 150 and 20 amazing groups, all with incredibly tangible and enthusiastic ideas has been amazing. The aim of Students as Change Agents is not just to provide amazing development opportunities for students, but to really effect social change and instil this as a long-term value of all participants.”

Elsa Vibert, Programme Officer at the Social Enterprise Academy said:

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"We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate again with the University of Edinburgh this year. The Students As Change Agents programme is an amazing  project and the students have done a great job working together to find inspiring solutions to tackle social issues”


The two challenges involved in the Students as Change Agents programme are:

1. How might Edinburgh create an environmentally sustainable future in the revival of its tourism industry and festivals post-COVID-19?

Partner: ETAG (Edinburgh Tourism Action Group)

Solutions included: City Trees absorbing emissions, encouraging the arrival of tourists to Edinburgh by train, developing a car free city, development of apps designed to encourage sustainable tourism, better transport apps, cycle routes to Newhaven, greater sourcing of local produce, hotel smart energy metres.

2. How can Scotland change to reduce youth homelessness?

Partner: Clan Childlaw

Solutions included: Circular economy mobile phone recycling programme, bringing communities together, practical education in schools and support for teachers, skills and mentoring programmes, dedicated support and policy change around care leavers, support hubs, better use of existing infrastructure in rural areas.


To find out more about the Students as Change Makers programme, please visit:

To explore how the Social Enterprise Academy can support your organisation’s learning and development needs, please visit

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