Tuesday, 29 November 2011

KUSU Sports Volunteering Project!

KUSU's VP Communication Lucy Williams gives us the low down on taking part in a special KUSU Volunteering project!

As neither a member of a sports team nor a regular volunteer, I was somewhat apprehensive about spending my Saturday in the gym of an all girls’ school (I spent enough of my time in one when I was a teenager). But there I found myself, along with a crowd of enthusiastic Kingston Cougars, armed with a paintbrush and the promise that this would set me on the path to Be A Champion.

And it was fantastic. Co-ordinated by Lucy from volunteering and Susie from sports, it was great to see the Cougars come together for no reason other than giving something back to the community. The combined effort of our lads and ladies (and a shed load of sustenance from Domino’s) saw the transformation of what was a bleak, lifeless room into a bright and colourful exercise space, which celebrated prominent women in sports, the upcoming Olympics and the mantra of the Waldegrave girls: “Throw yourself into the life of the school.”

Under the Be a Champion scheme, whose aim it is to engage students in the London 2012 Games, sports clubs are encouraged to ‘plan, develop and run a community volunteering event, reinforcing  the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence, Friendship, Courage, Determination, Inspiration and Equality.’ It was wonderful to be a part of this project and so satisfying to know that this gloomy Monday morning, those students are going to be delighted by a brand new sports hall – I just wish I could see their faces!

 All the photos from the day can be found here!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Volunteering with the Scouts!

Another update from one of KUSU's hard working community volunteers. Derryn gives an insight into what he does with the Scouts and why you should get involved!

Over the past 15 years I've gone through every section of the scouting movement, which can not be over exaggerated for the amount of opportunities it has provided me. But when I came to uni I doubted whether there would be any opportunity for me to continue this, how wrong I was.

There is an overwhelming number of local groups, especially in London, some have already put their details forward to KUSU Volunteering but many others haven't. Within the Royal Kingston scouting district alone there are 18 individual Scout groups which make up the 22 Beaver colonies (6-8yrs), 20 Cub packs (8-10yrs), 15 Scout troops (10-14yrs), 9 Explorer units and 1 Network unit (18-25yrs) actively running.
Derryn (on the left at the back)  with The Dittons Scout Group on Rememberance Sunday

 Personally I chose to help with a scout troop, 10-14yrs, at a local group called The Dittons, based out towards Esher. The scout troop leadership within the group was in the process of undertaking new leadership which gave me the opportunity to help start from scratch with the programming, planning and running of the weekly meetings as well as additional activities. I've now been with them a year during which time we've seen our numbers double, so we must be doing something right.

Additionally I joined the local Network unit where as a member it is our responsibility to organise and run the meetings, which provides great opportunity to organise something you're interested in as well as join in on activities you may not usually have the opportunity to.

There are so many scouting opportunities, locally, nationally and even globally where your help will be appreciated in any situation or activity you put your hand to. So get Scouting!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bloomsbury Festival 2011

As part of London Student Volunteering Fortnight KUSU Volunteers again headed into London to volunteer at the wonderful Bloomsbury Festival. Our Vice President Communications Lucy was there on Saturday to capture a video of events and Catarina who volunteered on the sunny Sunday reports on the second day of the festival. 
Rajan, Catarina, Christina, Emma and Maria at Bloomsbury!
Bloomsbury is located in central London, an artistic and cultural place where you can relax and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while reading a book or listening to some music. The Bloomsbury Festival started in 2006 and has been happening every year since then. The volunteers are essential to making this event work. Important tasks were given to KU students during the festival, such as helping with walking tours, giving directions and information to visitors, distributing flyers and filling out feedback sheets. Among this, KU students also helped to clean up Russell Square after the festival was over.

The volunteering for the event was divided into two shifts. The Sunday shift was occupied by five KU students. Emma Lindner, a third year Law student from England was part of the team of volunteers last year. She described the festival as a ‘mixture of music and art’ where ‘the atmosphere is really amazing.’ 

The team of KU volunteers included students from Nepal, Portugal, USA and Greece. Christina Hutchinson, an undergraduate student from New Jersey said, ‘We don’t have this kind of festival in America, where everyone is so friendly.’ She fell in love with the music around her and confessed, ‘Would be great to have an event like this in Kingston!’

‘As a volunteer, I really enjoyed helping others explore the treasures of arts and culture in this beautiful area of London’, Maria, a second year student from Greece said. Like Maria, many other volunteers felt the same way. The Bloomsbury festival will be back in 2012 for all of those who appreciate art, culture and music.

Monday, 7 November 2011

London Student Volunteering Fortnight 2011

Its all over for another year!  October 22nd to November 4th saw KUSU Volunteering taking part in London Student Volunteering Fortnight.  This is where London Universities get together to organise a range of volunteering sessions open to any student at any of those uni's.

You can find out what other universities got up to by checking out the LSVF 2011 blog to see photographs and write-ups on some of their events.  

Big Woodland Workday

Kingston contributed to the fortnight by working with the BritishTrust for Conservation Volunteers and Kingston University Bio-diversity Action Group to organise a Big Woodland Workday at Kingston Hill Campus. Our hard working volunteers got their hands dirty digging out rhododendrons, bashing brambles, creating wood piles for insects to thrive in and even donned waders and got in the pond to sort out the reed problem! They made a huge impact in making the woodland a better place for wildlife in just a few hours! 

During the fortnight volunteers also made their way back to the Bloomsbury Festival in central London for a great two days spent making the experience of visitors to this lovely festival even more awesome. We were joined by students on both Knights Park and Penrhyn Road campuses to make Kite’s for Women’s Rights on behalf of Amnesty International and just like during Student Volunteering Week the staff from the International Youth Art’s Festival joined us at Knight’s Park to explain why getting involved with the festival is a great thing to do. Video to follow soon for those that missed it!

Finally there was the Olympic Torch on campus on the final Thursday.  Photos from all our events can be found on Facebook. Big thanks to all those that got involved in activities both in Kingston and across London!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Future Flames Tour Comes to Kingston!

Coinciding nicely with London Student Volunteering Fortnight the Future Flames Tour came to Kingston University Students’ Union today. This meant an opportunity to have your photograph taken with the actual Olympic Torch! Several regular KUSU Volunteers came down to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Students queue for a picture with the torch!
The torch was here because of Future Flames, a dedicated search to find inspirational students to carry the Olympic Flame during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. The last day of the tour is tomorrow at Kings College London but nominations will be open until December 20th. A great opportunity for all the hard working student’s who volunteer.  To find out more about the Future Flames campaign check out the NUS website.
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