Celebrating Student Volunteering Week

This is our very first guest article on the blog and with it we hope to begin a new series! This time we partnered with the Volunteering & Community Engagement team at the University to discuss their plans for Student Volunteering Week.

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The 20th – 26th February sees the return of Student Volunteering Week – a celebration of all things volunteering. The University and Students’ Union have teamed up again to recognise our student volunteers and to encourage those who don’t already volunteer to give it a go!

During the week we’ll be distributing nearly 500 thank you cards and badges to show our appreciation to all our #VoluntHeroes, which you can track on Twitter throughout the week.

Across Student Volunteering Week there will be a variety of information and taster sessions, so that any student can give volunteering a go and find the right opportunity for them. Highlights include Wednesday’s Big Action Day in Ladybarn to help to clear an alleyway on Whitby Road; an event at the national Football Museum; a tea dance with a group of over 80s at St. Cuthbert’s Church in Withington; bag packing to fundraise for Greater Manchester Youth Network; a foodbank challenge and a range of information sessions about volunteering opportunities both locally and internationally. For full details on everything taking place go to www.manchester.ac.uk/volunthero.

At The University of Manchester we recognise the benefits that volunteering has on our students. Alessia Xu, a 2nd year Chemical Engineering student told us her student volunteering story.

“I first approached volunteering when I came to The University of Manchester as a first year student in 2015. Coming from a smaller town in Italy, where people simply don’t do this sort of things, I saw this as an exciting opportunity to try something new and make friends.

The Sustainability Challenge in the first week of my course helped me realise that I really wanted to do something related to environmental sustainability and get to know the community I would be living in for next four years of my life. Hence, I started volunteering with Incredible Edible Manchester, an initiative that provides free organic food to the local community that I had discovered during Welcome Week at the beginning of the year (as a freshman, I solemnly attended every single event the University hosted). The people I met there were astonishingly kind, and only motivated me to do more.

During my first year of University, through volunteering I was able to develop better communication skills and a great amount of self-confidence, while juggling between my course deadlines and the volunteering activities definitely helped me to better my time-management abilities.

I am now in my second year and continue to volunteer as a project leader for Incredible Edible Manchester. Volunteering, in general, is something that has greatly helped me grow as a person. Everyone will tell you about how good it looks on your CV, and while that is true, you will find that once you find something you really like doing, your CV will be the last thing you’ll think about.

At some point in your life, you’ll discover that your proudest moments are the ones where you have been of help to others, so if there is something that particularly appeals to you and you want to get involved, just ask. You’ll never find somebody saying no to you offering your time for a good cause!”

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