To mark student volunteering week 2017 we have invited Sara Fernandez, the Executive Director at Student Hubs, to tell us about volunteering whilst at university and why we are celebrating student volunteering this week. Student Hubs helps connect and support students to get involved and make a different whilst they are at university.
Sara’s blog resonates with research released by the #iwill campaign, which has found huge benefits for young people taking part in activities that help others. Student Volunteering Week is about highlighting this positive impact engaging in social action has, as well as celebrating how student social action helps to encourage community cohesion and tackle key social issues.
We hope you enjoy reading Sara’s blog and you can read more about how to get involved in Student Volunteering week here.
At Student Hubs, we believe that when students are supported to tackle social challenges, learn about issues and connect with each other, both communities and students benefit. Since 2007, we have supported social action at multiple UK universities, developing programmes and incubating student-led projects. We know that youth social action can have a significant impact on all people involved and we work with the Pears Foundation to increase the quantity and quality of social action among university students.
In 2015-16, 2,192 students took part in one of our opportunities, with 25% of those engaging in social action for the first time – a 7% increase on the previous year. 91% of our community partners benefited from specifically engaging students, who bring their enthusiasm and experiences to local projects. Sam, Code Plus Coordinator for Southampton Hub, says:
“In one and a half years I have grown Code Plus from a pilot project to a team of 37 volunteers. The student volunteers deliver weekly learn to code sessions and collectively engage with over 85 children per week, inspiring them to create future technologies. Code Plus has given me an excellent opportunity to develop my leadership, project management and communication skills, all of which will be valuable to me in my future career. Student Hubs’ encouragement and resources have enabled me to use these skills and make a real difference to children in Southampton. I really appreciate the enthusiasm and commitment of the Hub network.”
Student Volunteering Week (SVW), taking place from 20-26 February 2017, will help more students like Sam to connect with their communities. Last year, over 600 SVW events took place at 93 institutions, with more than 9,800 students involved. SVW is a great way for students to find volunteering opportunities that suit their abilities, interests and ambitions, whilst tackling issues such as educational disadvantage or social isolation amongst older people.