Monday, 4 March 2013

Summary of Student Volunteering Week

Summary of Student Volunteering Week

What did you do two weeks ago? Went to lectures, had a night in the pub, studied in the library, and did something nice for Valentine’s day with the significant other?

Sounds absolutely lovely BUT, you could have been:

Knitting hats, eating brie, blowing up balloons, wearing hard hats, making paper chains, playing bingo, hardcore gardening, and mispronouncing French!
Not all at once, that would be mad (and impressive.)

I’m talking of course about Student Volunteering Week 2013, which took place from the 11th to the 16th February 2013. SVW is a national initiative organised by the National Union of Students and Student Hubs, and it is designed to showcase the brilliant work of current student volunteers and also to encourage new students to get involved.

KUSU Volunteering’s SVW taster volunteering sessions organised by Volunteer Coordinator Jemma Houghton included making decorations for a ‘French’ party at the Bradbury Centre (A “youth club for older people”) then helping out on the day serving a French lunch, playing French bingo and MC-ing a quiz about all things French (naturellement!) It was fantastic fun – even though the OAPs put both my French speaking and Bingo playing skills to shame! And there was cheese; it’s always a good day if there is cheese!

Others helped with an Orchard Conservation event at Dorich House, getting to grips with pruning and mulching, and looking extremely stylish in their hard hats and safety glasses. Those less willing to brave the chill decamped to the KUSU offices and knitted hats for premature babies, or tried to at least. In my experience it sometimes turns out more hole than hat, but seasoned knitters were on hand to offer advice and mend dropped stitches.

A massive 41 students took part and KUSU volunteering registered ten new people in five days which is very promising for the continued success of the university’s volunteering programme.

KUSU Volunteering is active year round organising both regular community volunteering, schools volunteering and one-off volunteering opportunities for Kingston students. There is even the opportunity to manage and run your own project, if you have a great idea which will benefit the community, you’d like to see become reality.

Even better news came in the form of Chris Elliot. The Kingston University student made it into the NATIONAL shortlisted top 10 for his contributions to volunteering including his Underwater River Cleaning and Try Dive projects. Congratulations Chris!

It has been said repeatedly that London 2012 was a success because of the strength of the volunteers who made it happen, and it’s opened many people’s eyes to the benefits being a volunteer can give you, including increased employability skills, confidence, fun memories and brilliant new friends.

If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s not too late to get involved – there’s also another volunteers’ week coming up in June. For more information head on up to the KUSU offices or go to

Hope to see you soon!          
Sara Ann Hope
2nd year BA (Hons) Drama with English Literature

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