Student Volunteering Week, hosted by the University of Bath’s Students’ Union (13-19 February), saw a week of events and volunteering opportunities to thank students for their contribution to local community organisations and inspire others to get involved.
The week kicked off with a Random Acts of Kindness Board at the Claverton Down campus, capturing pledges for good deeds which the ‘V Team’ student volunteering group behind the idea wanted to create a “domino effect of wellbeing through acts of kindness on campus and beyond.”
Students organised a litter pick, walking from campus to Green Park to collect rubbish on route; and on Friday 17 February they joined local charity More Trees BANES to help them plant trees at Whiteway Green, along with community group Blooming Whiteway and other volunteers.
More Trees was planting out its first saplings grown from seeds harvested from local woodland, greening the local community and contributing to Bath’s efforts to counter climate change, and were pleased to welcome students to their planting session.
Emma Jones, Volunteer Coordinator at More Trees said: “It was fantastic to see the students volunteering at our planting project at Whiteway Green. They were enthusiastic, engaged, and keen to learn. Student involvement in the community is so important so it’s great that so many of them have also signed up for the crucial tree aftercare. What a wonderful bunch!”
In the first semester alone of this academic year (October to December) over 600 students volunteered their time, and raised more than £14,000 for local good causes. They got involved with litter picks, school study projects, bulb planting in local parks and green spaces and ran their own social enterprise and health awareness campaigns.
Student volunteers have also been central to the success of the University’s Cosy Wednesdays Club, which welcomed older residents to an afternoon lunch club over the winter months at the University’s Dartmouth Road venue. Students were on hand to welcome guests and helped to run activities at the sessions.
Throughout the year, the Students’ Union networks with local charities and organisations to offer a range of volunteering opportunities to students, promoting the benefits it brings to students and partnering organisations.
“Students are volunteering week in week out to help local organisations, as well as raising funds for them. We see the benefits this brings to our students in community connection and wellbeing and we know it is appreciated by those they support,” said Viktor Toshev, Students’ Union Activities Officer.
“We have great feedback from local charities and organisations who tell us about the difference students are making, from supporting Fireworks on the Rec, to activities with children in hospital at Christmas, sign ups to Marrow, the stem cell register for people with blood cancer, and awareness sessions for the British Heart Foundation. We couldn’t be more proud of the achievements and impact of our volunteer groups.”
For more information see online and local organisations can contact the Students’ Union at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss opportunities for student volunteering.