Student Volunteering Week, our national week of celebration across the UK for all student volunteers, is nearly upon us from 11th-15th February. Staff from universities and other organisations will already know the multitude of reasons why students should volunteer, but what’s the best way to tell that to students or others who aren’t as convinced?
Here are our top reasons for why students should get involved in volunteering:
Volunteering gives students those practical skills which they need to start making active change. Students are our future, and volunteering allows them to develop soft skills which are essential in their working career. These skills then translate into wider impact, whether that’s communicating with others about the importance of recycling, or leading others as CEO in a third sector organisation. Whatever their future pathway, that change can start directly through volunteering.
Before students go out into the world to make change, a big motivator is seeing the difference which local frontline work makes. Seeing the effect, no matter how small, can be a great way for students to start exploring the wider areas of the sector which make that work happen, whether that’s funding, staffing, or communicating with local people. Even on a smaller scale, it can help make students think more about their local community and how they can continue to support, even after their university experience.
Volunteering is one way which students can positively support their mental health and tackle feelings of loneliness. Youth loneliness has been increasingly on the rise, with young people feeling less connected to their friends, their community and the world around them. Volunteering is an excellent opportunity for students to meet others, feel connected to the community they live in during term-time, and make a positive impact.
Volunteering is a really practical way for students to start thinking critically about some of the social issues which people face across the country. Whether that’s a food drive in collaboration with a homelessness charity, going into schools to tackle educational disadvantage, or supporting elderly residents who may be socially isolated, volunteering is a great introduction to these difficult topics, and shows students how they can take steps to make a difference.
So this Student Volunteering Week, think about how you can encourage students to give volunteering a go. They have so much to gain, and one positive experience of volunteering could really change their outlook on life: it’s our job to show them how!
Make sure to share all your Student Volunteering Week stories through the hashtag #SVW2019 and add your local events to our website, and the Student Volunteering Network look forward to seeing all of your wonderful work!