We speak to Jacob Joseph (MSc FinTech Risk and Investment Analysis), President of the University of Sussex Blockchain Society, to find out more about what the society does and how you can get involved.
What does your society do?
The main objective of our society is to create awareness among students of the possibilities of blockchain technology. We do this by providing students a forum to explore, discuss and showcase their knowledge and ideas on blockchain technology. We also provide opportunities for students to meet industry leaders and professionals in finance, banking, investment, and disruptive technologies such as AI and blockchain.
How is the Blockchain Society operating in a Covid-19 world?
Well, Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions has certainly affected the way our events are organized. But we intend to turn this challenge into an opportunity.
So, we will be organizing our activities and events online until it is safe to organize on-campus events. In my view, online events have their own advantages. For example, we are now able to invite industry experts for our events who won’t have to worry about any of the logistical issues of visiting campus. Also, I believe many students prefer online events due to the ease of access compared to the alternative.
What social activities do you run? And how can students access them remotely?
As mentioned earlier, one of the main goals is providing opportunities for students to interact with industry experts. With this objective, we are introducing ‘Game Changers’ – Sussex University Blockchain Society’s 2021 premier student initiative.
Game Changers is a series of interviews with industry leaders and successful professionals in finance, banking, investment, and disruptive technologies such as blockchain and AI. The program seeks to educate, motivate, and showcase role models for youngsters who are looking for guidance, insights, and inspiration. The interviews will focus on the speaker’s area of expertise and a series of questions by the host or students (pre-submitted) on the presenter’s know-how, organization, USP, career path, inspiration, and advice.
Apart from this, we will continue to organize events similar to the ones we did in the Autumn Term including our Blockchain Use Case Festival Week which was a great success. We had 10 students present 10 different use cases of blockchain technology in various industries. The presenters included undergraduates, postgraduates, and PhD students.
Since all the events are online, students can access these through our Facebook page and group. We have also extended our reach to other social media platforms such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, starting this term. All the links for these pages are available on our society page and our website.
How does the Blockchain Society help students connect?
As mentioned previously, our society is now available on most social media platforms. Although in person meetings are not possible currently, we compensate for this by organizing social events in collaboration with other societies. For example, in the Autumn Term, we organized the Business Society Halloween Event and Christmas Super Quiz in collaboration with other societies such as Economics Society, Accounting Society, Politics Society, Law Society and more. These social events are a great opportunity for our members to meet other societies and their members.
What one piece of advice would you give to fellow students to look after their wellbeing and stay connected during this time?
This pandemic has been quite challenging for most of us. It can be a bit overwhelming with all the coursework, assessments and in some cases, your part-time work, and other responsibilities. One thing that I found quite useful with all the stress and anxiety has been practicing meditation. As cliché as it sounds, it has really helped me, and I recommend it. I use a mobile app called Atom that provides guided meditations for super beginners like myself.
Also, the thing I miss the most due to the lockdown is direct interaction with other people. So, I recommend keeping in touch with your family and close friends, and to join various societies at the University and actively participate in our events. Keeping yourself occupied with all these certainly helps a lot.