Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Back in February as one of our activities for Student Volunteering Week we headed to Roe Vale campus armed with some lap tops and took up residence in the cafe to demonstrate some Microvolunteering. 


So what exactly is Microvolunteering? Well according to I-volunteer it is 'small, quick, low commitment actions that benefit a worthy cause'. The best examples of this type of volunteering seem to be online. Below is a selection of microvolunteering options for you to have a go at. All the websites below came from Help From Home which provides over 500 microvolunteering actions and were highlighed by VInspired which has helped narrow those 500 down a bit.



Free Rice is a bit of a classic. It’s a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. By answering general knowledge questions your correct answers generate donations of rice. Simple, effective but be warned very addictive!



Grid Republic will appeal to those with a technical mind. Using this site you can donate your idle PC processing power (with a piece of free software). That excess processing power will be combined with thousands of other PCs to help solve problems for good causes. 


Nessie on the Net is a bit of a novelty! A webcam has been set up overlooking Loch Ness in Scotland, to solve the debate over whether Nessie actually exists! If you think you’ve spotted something just click the ‘Snapshot’ button to submit your image. 

Galaxy Zoo is really fascinating. The site contains images of galaxies. The human brain is better at spotting patterns and classifying things than computers so NASA are asking for your help! As you work through you’ll answer questions to identify features and tell one galaxy type from another. The only downside is that the tutorial on how it works is rather lengthy. However once you’ve read it your good to go and can dip in and out. 


Gwap stands for Games with a Purpose. This sight has a range of different games you can play which will help computers learn to solve problems like we do!






Answer4Earth works on the same principle as Free Rice. Using Answer4Earth you work through answering questions. Correct answers collect leaves, then branches and finally you’ve planted a whole tree! 


The internet has proven over and over again how good it is as a campaigning tool. The Petition Site lists hundreds of petitions so you can search through, find a cause close to your heart and add your name to the campaign.

Have a look for yourself and see what you think. From my perspective it wouldn’t beat actually getting out there and volunteering in the real world but its always good to find other ways of doing useful things in your spare time!

Friday, 11 March 2011

February one-off volunteering update

KUSU Volunteers take part in all sorts of one-off volunteering opportunities throughout the year. Here is what they got up to in February!

Momentum Volunteers hand out heart shaped balloons
On Valentines weekend four KUSU volunteers helped local charity Momentum who work to support children and young people with cancer with their Valentines collections. Over the course of the weekend KUSU Volunteers were part of a team that raised an amazing £2,619.39. The charity was thrilled with the amount collected so thanks to everyone who braved the weather to take part. 

Walkers wait by the Richmond Venturer
On the same weekend a group of great volunteers helped the River Thames Boat Project. This local charity gives people of all ages the chance to access the Thames, to discover the river and learn about the environment. Volunteers helped with their annual sponsored walk and got stuck in preparing the venue, serving food to participants and marshalling the route as well as generally helping out where they could. They were really grateful to the KUSU Volunteers that took part as you can see here in this piece on their website. Melat who took part fed back that ‘it was a great experience. All the members of the event organisers were ever so kind and extremely helpful. I even had the chance to meet the mayor of Kingston and Richmond as they had come down to show support to the people that volunteered to walk.’ 

Unseen Traffik performance
And finally to top off a busy month (see our last post for February’s SV  week activities) KUSU volunteers spent the weekend of 17/18th February helping the Active Communities against Trafficking London Forum raise awareness of this important issue. Unseen Traffik used dance and drama to tell the story of a young girl who is trafficked from Nepal to India. Volunteers helped set up the venue, assisted with the auction held on the night and also got to watch the performance! Shanté who took part said 'the show and the auction was a great way to raise awareness of the situation, and to fight it!'.

Huge thanks to everyone that got involved!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Student Volunteering Week 2011

National Student Volunteering Week took place from 21st-27th February. To mark it KUSU Volunteering organised a week of activities and taster sessions to give Kingston students an idea of the sort of things we get up to all year round. We had a crazy busy but great week catching up with some of our current volunteers and meeting some new faces. Thanks to everyone who got involved! Here’s a run down of what we got up to. 


Across Monday, Tuesday and Thursday over 20 volunteers got together to take part in ongoing project Knit For Babies. Volunteers came together to knit (or learn to knit!) hats for premature babies at Kingston Hospital.  It was so popular an emergency run was made for further supplies... it isn’t often you get to panic buy knitting needles! 


On Tuesday evening the exciting team from IYAF (International Youth Arts Festival) came to talk about volunteering with the festival. It takes place 1st-18th July, and is designed to showcase really high quality work by young people. It covers both visual and performing arts, so will involve painting, film, graphic design, dance, drama, sculpture, mime, puppetry, carnival, circus skills… it’s set to be a fantastic event. Perhaps the best thing about it is that it’s all about getting young people into the creative arts, so there’s tons of scope to get involved in the organising and running of the festival. 

Wednesday morning meant a trip to Hersham Hounds. The kennels are home to former racing greyhounds who have retired from the track, and are waiting to find new homes as family pets. We took the dogs for a walk round their field - with the peace, quiet and all the trees it’s like being in the middle of the countryside, though you’re only thirty minutes from Kingston! We’ll be heading back there to help paint the kennels at some point in the next few weeks.

On Wednesday afternoon a group of intrepid KUSU volunteers working with Cathedral Camps came together to learn about the history of a beautiful old building in the centre of Kingston and give it a bit of a spring clean. We spent a very relaxed afternoon learning about ancient relics, polishing ornate carvings, brass and chairs and eating homemade biscuits.  The staff at All Saints Church were so pleased with our efforts we’ve made the Parish newsletter!    
On Thursday evening we ran an information session on how to run your own project. KUSU Volunteers can access funding and support to make their ideas happen and be in charge of their very own community project. Some great ideas came out of the session and we look forward to working with those who came.

On Friday we headed to Roe Vale to talks about Micro-volunteering. For those not in the know about this new craze in volunteering circles this means quick online volunteering. Most popular was the ever classic Free Rice and Answer4Earth, where you answer questions and end up planting  a tree with your correct answers. We’ll be doing a blog post soon to explain more.
Tragically on Saturday we had to postpone our Pond Clearance at Kingston Hill because the builders unexpectedly cordoned it off! It won’t get neglected though because KUBAG: Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group will be back to get stuck in later in the year. In the mean time they’ll be getting on with planting wildflower meadows! 

A pretty packed week I think you’ll agree. To check all the photos head for our Facebook page. All that’s left is for us to tidy the office and start planning our next events!   

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