Celebrating our student volunteers - Student Volunteering Week 2016

This week marks the 15th annual Student Volunteering Week. All across the UK universities, colleges and charitable organisations are recognising and celebrating the amazing achievements of young volunteers. 

According to research by Ipsos MORI, an incredible 42% of 10-20 year-olds took part in meaningful social action in 2015 and 70% of young people surveyed said they are likely to participate in social action in the future. We also found that 15% of the UK’s undergraduate students devote some of their free time to supporting a charity or helping those in need,[1] and this week we will highlight the passion, commitment, skills and insight our university student volunteers bring to the work we do at IntoUniversity. I would therefore like to begin the week by saying a huge thank you to all of our university volunteers across the UK.

Student volunteers make up almost half of our volunteer base, supporting us to achieve our goals and reach as many children and young people as possible. Without their enthusiasm and commitment, we could not provide the same quality of experience to our own students. 

From our Student Ambassadors to Academic Support Tutors,  our one-to-one mentors, to Buddy Day leaders - all of our student volunteers help to raise the aspirations and academic attainment of our young people.

By showing our students around their campuses, answering their questions and enabling them to experience university life first-hand, our volunteers provide invaluable insight and act as exceptional role models, helping our young people to aspire to great futures. 

Whilst building on the skills and confidence of our students, our volunteers are also developing skills that are valuable for both their professional and personal growth. A recent report by the Behavioural Insights Team and the Cabinet Office found “compelling and robust evidence that young people who take part in social action initiatives, such as volunteering, develop some of the most critical skills for employment and adulthood in the process". Volunteering also connects students with like-minded people and helps them to engage with life beyond lectures.

This week will be an opportunity for us at IntoUniversity to pay tribute to the invaluable contribution that student volunteers make to our organisation and the communities in which we work. Throughout the week, look out for posts on our blog and on our Twitter and Facebook pages. You can also have your say by using the #IVolunteerBecause on Twitter and Facebook.

Again, thank you to everyone who gives up their time to support IntoUniversity in its mission - we couldn’t do it without you.

By Erica Chalmers, Senior Cross Centre Education Worker and Volunteer Coordinator at IntoUniversity Walworth and Brixton

If you would like to find out more about student volunteering at IntoUniversity, please visit our website.

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