Happy Volunteers' Week!
1st - 12th June 2016 is #VolunteersWeek, a week-long celebration of the hard work that volunteers do all over the country. So we thought we would say a HUGE thank you to our volunteers by having a look back on some of the amazing things that our volunteers have achieved this academic year.
Society and club committee members worked tirelessly over September to welcome new students. They volunteered their time to manage their clubs and societies, plan events and spent numerous hours on their stalls during the Freshers' Fairs. They worked hard to plan taster sessions and socials to welcome new and returning students to their group and made sure that new students felt welcomed and excited for their time here at Anglia Ruskin University.
By October, our volunteers (clubs and socs committee members, student trustees, reps and community volunteers) had already logged over 3,400 volunteering hours!
The Students' Union also ran their annual Make a Difference Day in October and the whole SU team went out to volunteer in the Chelmsford community for the day. We split into teams and one group spent the day running various activities with young people at InterAct, a charity in Chelmsford, while the other group spent the day collecting goods and filling up rucksacks for local homeless charities as part of The Rucksack Project.
We also celebrated our first Volunteer of the Month in October. The award went to Hannah Fisher, an ARU student, society committee member and community volunteer, who was nominated by GirlGuiding UK for her hard work volunteering with GirlGuiding Cambridgeshire East.
In November, we ran our first Volunteering Fair of the year. We were joined on campus by a number of local organisations, all of whom had opportunities for volunteers. This was a great opportunity for students to get to know organisations from the community and find a volunteering role to suit them.
A wonderful team of student volunteers ran a bake sale in aid of Children in Need and raised a great amount by joining forces with a local supermarket.
A team of volunteers from ARU collected donations at Cambridge Live's Bonfire Night Event on Midsummer Common and Chitra Suresh, an ARU student volunteer at the event, was awarded a prize for her efforts!
We also had our first Reps of the Month for the academic year. November's Rep of the Month for Cambridge was Samriti Rajpal and the Rep of the Month for Chelmsford was Buddhini Jayasekara . Both of these students are dedicated course reps who have given up their time to support their fellow coursemates and attend events such as Student Council.
Our Volunteer of the Month for November was Daniel Idundun, an active committee member for RAG and the Bible Reading Society on our Chelmsford campus. Daniel also volunteers as a kid's church leader in the local community and volunteers to support Sanctus, a local homeless charity on our Chelmsford Allotment Project.
In December, we ran our first Festive Volunteering Week. We asked people what they were thankful for and ran a 'Christmas Crafternoon' where we made festive cards and decorations to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.
The Volunteering Service in Cambridge also ran its first volunteering trip of the academic year. We took a team of student volunteers to Shepreth Wildlife Park where they volunteered as animal keepers for the day! They cleaned enclosures, helped to tidy the park and got to feed the animals for the day! For more trips like this one, visit our website.
We also saw some of our fantastic society committee members get rewarded for their work as their societies were awarded either bronze, silver or gold in the Societies Recognition Scheme. We saw Yoga and TAGs win a bronze award for their societies while PsychSoc and the Rep Society were awarded silver. These committee members have worked extremely hard to raise the profile of their societies and they have volunteered numerous hours to do this, well done everyone!
We were also able to award Rep of the Month for Cambridge to Amanda Campbell and Rep of the Month for Chelmsford to Selina Okeke. Both of these students worked hard to attend meetings and support their fellow students alongside their studies and their fantastic contributions have not gone unnoticed!
Our Volunteer of the Month for December was awarded to Kathryn Francis. Kathryn was nominated because of the hard work and dedication that she showed as a society committee member, community volunteer with Cambridge ReUse and as a Volunteering Ambassador for the SU Volunteering Service. If you would like to become a Volunteering Ambassador, visit our website.
Another great success for December was Psychsoc's Rucksack Project. The society ran their own volunteering project. They worked hard to fill rucksacks with goods such as hats, gloves and scarves (usually from local charity shops) before donating them to Jimmy's and Wintercomfort for the Homeless, two local Cambridge homelessness charities. Psychsoc did an amazing job and managed to donate 40 rucksacks filled to the brim with donated goods designed to help ease the lives of homeless people during the winter months.
By January, student volunteers at ARU had already logged over 8,000 hours as volunteers, highlighting just how much our student volunteers do alongside their studies!
Our Rep of the Month for Cambridge was Christopher Lovelock and our Rep of the Month for Chelmsford was Angel Madu. Both of these reps showed great enthusiasm for their roles, making sure to support their coursemates and making the most of opportunities available to them as representatives.
Our Volunteer of the Month for January was Laura Browning, an ARU English Literature student who volunteers her time as a Gateway Assessor with Rural Cambridgeshire Citizens' Advice Bureau. Laura has shown great commitment to her role and was described By Rural Cambs Citizens' Advice Bureau as an "extremely valued and friendly member of our team".
In February, we took part in Student Volunteering Week! This national week long celebration of student volunteering ran from the 8th - 12th February 2016 and we had a fantastic week here at ARU with our volunteers!
In Cambridge, we saw PsychSoc hold a successful (but extremely cold!) Sponsored Sleep Out in aid of Emmaus, a local homeless charity, all while running a Mental Health and Wellbeing Week for students here at ARU. We got to visit local charities with student volunteers on our first ever Cambridge Volunteering Tour and we ran our first Vintage Fashion Upcycling Session with the YMCA. We also joined our local MP, student volunteers and members of our Rugby team who helped us to #CleanfortheQueen on Coldham's common.
In Chelmsford, we saw volunteers working together in our allotment to plant flowers and herbs that were then sold to raise money for Sanctus. We saw our clubs and societies go out into the local community to volunteer and we had a brilliant day inviting local charities onto campus for our Health and Social Care Volunteering Day. We're looking forward to next year's Student Volunteering Week already!
Our Reps of the Month for February were Grace Stanley (Cambridge) and Alice Goodheart (Chelmsford). Both of these reps have worked hard to support their fellow students alongside their own studies by going to Student Council, course meetings and undertaking research into what students need. Well done!
Our February Volunteer of the Month was Basil Kafes, an ARU student and President of the Linguistics Society. Basil leads a team of dedicated volunteers who run language classes to support their fellow international students and members of the local community. Congratulations Basil, keep up the amazing work!
By March, our student volunteers had logged over 11,000 hours of volunteering alongside their studies!
In Chelmsford, our student volunteers continued to help us run The People's Patch, an allotment project that supports Sanctus, a local homeless charity. The People's Patch brings students, staff and members of Sanctus and the wider community together to plant and grow food that is then donated to Sanctus or made into food products that are sold to raise money for the charity.
In Cambridge, we continued to run our Friday Food Waste Project, a weekly project where the Students' Union and student volunteers collect leftover food from the restaurant on campus and donate it to Jimmy's, a local homeless shelter.
Our Reps of the Month for March were Chelsea Beckford (Cambridge) and Jordan Armstrong (Chelmsford). Both of these reps have gone out of their way to attend meetings, collect feedback and worked hard to support their coursemates. Congratulations!
Our Volunteer of the Month for March was Katie Louisa Belfield-Evitts. Katie has been a fantastic help in the community as she has volunteered as a Drama and Physical Theatre Assistant and Assistant Director at Cambridge Community Arts, a local organisation that focuses on improving mental health wellbeing through the arts. Well done Katie!
In April, our Volunteer of the Month was Mausam Gurung. Mausam has been an invaluable volunteer, helping out regularly with the Volunteering Service for over a year as well as supporting a number of local charities. She has also been a key member of a local 'Food Pick-Up' for Sanctus' Cafe. She collects leftover food from local food outlets such as Greggs and Pret a Manger and takes it to Sanctus where it will provide a meal for a homeless person in the community. Thank you for all of your hard work Mausam!
Our Reps of the Month for April were Nathan Larkin (Cambridge) and Sayyed Koroma (Chelmsford). These reps have both volunteered their time to gather and deliver feedback from their coursemates at essential committee meetings, helping to support their fellow students and ensuring a wide range of essential feedback is given. Well done!
In April, we also had the SU Awards! These awards are given by the Students' Union to the reps, societies, volunteers and individuals who have worked extremely hard to support their fellow students and their community. The winners were all nominated by their peers and we were able to celebrate them together at a fantastic awards evening.
By May, our volunteers had logged over 13,000 hours of volunteering, highlighting just how much our student volunteers have achieved alongside their studies and assessments.
We also continued to run our volunteering projects on campus, such as the People's Patch and Friday Food Waste and our Volunteer of the Month for May was Amy McInerney. Amy has volunteered as a society committee member and at a local homeless shelter during her final year and even volunteered to write a blog for the Students' Union about her experiences as a final year student writing a dissertation. To read Amy's blog, visit our Tumblr!
So, as we reach the end of term, the Volunteering Service and the Students' Union as a whole would just like to say a HUGE thank you for making this such an exciting and inspiring year. We can't wait to see what you've got planned for next year and we'll be here to support you in everything you do as a volunteer here at Anglia Ruskin.
Have a fantastic summer and if you need anything at all, please do just get in touch!