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London’s Volunteering University

15 January 2014

We all know that UCL is ‘London’s Global University’, but maybe it’s time for the institution to be seen as ‘London’s Volunteering University’.

Student Volunteer Homework Club

In 2012/13, over 1735 students participated in 41,500 hours of volunteering, putting UCL at the top of the pile in terms of students giving back to the local community during their studies.

Giving a helping hand doesn’t just benefit the recipient of the volunteering though, as a recent study by the volunteering departments of eight London universities shows. The research pointed out that volunteers perceived an increase in their personal development in several areas, including greater self-confidence, interest in ‘trying new things’ and self-discipline. Meanwhile students’ communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills also improved through volunteering. 80% of respondents to the joint study said that they were confident in using their volunteering experience in job applications and interviews.

The strength of volunteering at UCL is testament to the university’s Volunteering Services Unit, which is organised through UCL’s student union (UCLU) and funded by the university.

In our Soundcloud interview, we talk about why UCL has placed so much emphasis on volunteering in recent years, why students have been so keen on helping out and what sort of projects they are participating in and setting up themselves.

John Braime is manager of the Volunteering Services Unit at UCL. Ejiro Okorodudu is a former neuroscience masters student who, after volunteering through UCL, has set up the social enterprise The Jump Start, which aims to inspire disadvantaged pupils in London state schools by bringing out their full potential.

The Winter Volunteering Fair takes place on Thursday 23 January from 12-3pm in the Wilkins South Cloisters, hosting 40 different London-based opportunities for UCL students to find out about.

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