UCL News


Student Volunteering Week at UCL

20 February 2006

Student Volunteering Week was started in 2001 to coincide with International Year of Volunteers.

Joyce Ngai It has now become an annual fixture in the student volunteering movement as well as the wider voluntary sector.

UCL Union's Voluntary Services Unit is celebrating the week with a number of events, including a "Volunteering and Your CV" session (run in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers), a big conservation activity day at Adelaide Nature Reserve near Chalk Farm, and a photographic display in the UCL Union foyer at 25 Gordon Street.

Research by the Institute for Volunteering Research found that volunteers recruited through the UCL VSU contributed over £229,000 to the local economy. Other research has shown that local organisations value UCL volunteers for the quality of their efforts, and the diversity they bring to their organisations.

Last year, over 250 UCL students and staff took part in volunteering. A survey of UCL student volunteers showed that they developed useful skills and experiences whilst volunteering, and also that their awareness of different communities had increased.

Joyce Ngai, a third year medical student who runs a music project for children in the Kings Cross area, said: "I have discovered ways of getting involved with the community that I did not think were possible before. I was given the opportunity to use my initiative, and as a result, I have been able to share my interest with lots of wonderful people.

Priya Kothari, an MSc economics student, currently volunteering at action for Southern Africa, said: "I never realised the great work that was going on so close to UCL. The experience has broadened by understanding of international issues and how locally, we can influence people's opinions and actions.

John Braime, Voluntary Services Coordinator at UCL Union, said, "Volunteering has become an important part of student activities at UCL. Volunteers get involved a really diverse range of projects - from doing social policy research to running arts projects for children, from doing the gardening for isolated elderly people to helping on a telephone helpline for people with mental health problems."

To find out more about the Voluntary Services Unit, contact John Braime, tel. 020 7679 0145, email j.braime@ucl.ac.uk. Alternatively, visit the VSU website.

Image 1: Joyce Ngai
Image 2: Priya Kothari