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"Working with the wider community is a distinctive part of UCL culture."
John Braime, VSU
- Volunteering Services Unit: Find out about volunteering opportunities at UCL
- Skills Development Programme: Volunteering information for graduate students
- Innovations Programme: For students who wish to develop ideas for new community action projects
- Skills4Work: A website dedicated to UCL students, helping them to meet employers and gain skills for employment
Volunteering plays a large part in UCL's Global Citizenship Agenda. The Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) at UCL is one of the largest volunteering units in higher education and can offer an excellent volunteer programme to students and staff. The benefits listed below outline why departments should consider using the unit for the benefit of their students as well as their own.
Enhancing the student experience
Volunteering is a positive demonstration of UCL students' commitment to the wider community. It allows students a unique opportunity to change the lives of others as well as their own. Feedback from volunteers suggest that they feel more equipped to get a job, more confident and are more likely to have thought about their careers and what they want to achieve. Those who engage with volunteering feel that it enhances their academic studies by allowing them to use taught theory in a practical context. Volunteering also helps students to improve their general well-being and build a connection with UCL.
UCL's volunteer programmes can be sourced to suit departmental interests, helping students to learn through practical experiences and put course content into a meaningful context. For example, the VSU can source mental health charities for psychology students. The VSU can also help departments to forge mutually beneficial relationships with charities and community services, linking the university with the current agendas of the working world, understanding skills gaps, and sharing knowledge and expertise.
Rika is a third year medical student, intercalating in Psychology. She volunteers once or twice a month for the Scrubs and Scalpels project at the UCLU Surgical Society, running workshops about medicine in schools across London.
"The best thing is meeting so many new people and being able to pass on our knowledge of university and the medical course."
Aletheia is a second year Philosophy and Economics
student, currently volunteering with Dorcas Befiending Scheme and the
IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development). She
volunteers for about 3 hours per week.
"Volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet wonderful people, and also to work on your personal development - to some extent get to know yourself better."
Dominc Putt is a first year BSc geography student. He currently volunteers for Arsenal Double Club for around 2 hours every week during the school year.
"It is fanatastic to think that something I say or teach the children could help them throughout life, in their work or sporting activities. As the weeks have progressed it is evident how some of the children have improved both on the field and in the classroom."
Edwina Akerele has learned about the importance of volunteering and gained some valuable life lessons.
Edwina is a medical student and has been volunteering with the Teddy Bear Clinic, the VSU Party Decorations Team and a number of one-off events.
"As a doctor, there will be times when you need to go that extra mile and work outside your specified duties; volunteering helps you learn how to give up your time someone else."
Visit the Volunteering Services Unit web pages for further information.
Page last modified on 21 dec 11 12:30
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