Your elected Volunteering Officer, Jordan Pidwell, presents the value of student volunteering to kickstart Student Volunteering Week 2023.
Volunteering isn’t just about giving; it is good for you too.
We, as students, often feel the pressures of looming deadlines and seemingly never-ending to-do lists - this can be overwhelming and eventually lead to burn-out. We must get better at making time for ourselves, so it may seem strange when I suggest that, to do so, we need to make time for other people.
When I was 10, I joined a Scout group, led and supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, and immediately felt part of a welcoming and inclusive environment. Aged 14 I joined the leadership team at the Beaver Scouts and 8 years later I am still there, passing on the skills I learned as a Scout while learning new ones on the way. In those 8 years, I have sat in a variety of roles across the movement, supporting the delivery of an inspiring programme.
Each role I’ve been in has been slightly different, but all of them share a golden thread: they all lead to young people gaining skills to help them succeed in life. Seeing young people develop just like I have is undoubtedly the highlight of my roles in Scouts, watching as they become well-rounded citizens, engaging in the community, and making our world a better place to live. Volunteering with the Scouts is good for the young people we support, it’s good for the wider communities, and it’s good for me too. I cannot stress enough the positive impact volunteering has on my personal development, and my physical and mental wellbeing.
Why am I telling you this?
This week is Student Volunteering Week. It is a campaign to get more students engaged in volunteering opportunities. In 2023, volunteering is more flexible than ever before. If you can give a small amount of time once a month, it can make all the difference, and you can feel good doing so!
In 2021, the Scouts launched a campaign showing that volunteering isn’t just about giving, it is good for you too – that’s still true today! Whether you want to learn new skills, make new friends, or give something back to the community, there is a volunteer role for you. By volunteering, you are also doing something good for your own physical and mental wellbeing.
The 14th Dalai Lama has been quoted saying “the intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the welfare of others”. I couldn’t agree more.
This week, we’re asking students at Falmouth University and the University of Exeter to get involved and give volunteering a go. You never know where it may take you!
How do I get involved!?
You can find volunteering opportunities on the SU website [link], by searching for opportunities on LinkedIn, or by searching for specific organisations online. If you think an organisation could benefit from your skills and they’re not advertising, reach out to them!
On 20th March, many of the UK’s best-known charities are launching “The Big Help Out” as part of the celebrations for the coronation of King Charles. This will be a chance to give volunteering a try. For more information on The Big Help Out and how you can get involved, check out thebighelpout.org.uk.
The small amount of my time that I give to volunteer organisations has given me skills, experiences, and countless friends I wouldn’t otherwise have. If you do just one thing to mark Student Volunteering Week, ask yourself: what could volunteering do for me?