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Volunteer of the Month Winners

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A group of students and ARU SU staff taking a break from planting trees to get a group picture. They

At ARU Students' Union, we believe that everyone who spends their spare time to volunteer is a superstar! The volunteering that you are undertaking is helping students within Anglia Ruskin University, and we believe that your efforts, motivations, accomplishments and inspirations should all be celebrated. If you are, or know of a student who is an elected Representative or a Club or Society Committee Member, and you believe their volunteering work should be celebrated, you can nominate them to win one of our 2 monthly awards on your campus. Click here for more information

For now, join us in celebrating this month's winners!

Volunteer role: Rep of the Month - Cambridge

Kathleen Hughes, Winner of Cambridge Rep of the Month, poses with her prizes.

Name: Kathleen Hughes

Course: PhD, Faculty of Business and Law

1. What are your main duties and how do they help others?

My main duties are representing the PGR students in the Faculty of Business and Law. This means listening and engaging with my fellow students and representing their reviews in Faculty, Doctoral or University meetings.

2. What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?

I've enjoyed thinking about issues that are affecting fellow students in the 'real world' as it makes a nice change from writing my thesis. 

3. What skills have you learnt and used through your volunteering?

Communication: we have lots of different types of study taking place in the Faculty (UK/international/remote/campus) and I've learnt it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Volunteer Role: Rep of the Month - Chelmsford

Name: Alex Farries

Course: Year 4 Medicine 

1. What are your main duties and how do they help others?

To bridge the gap between students and staff via providing a safe and anonymous route to voice concerns and feedback. This was important as it addressed the cohort's desire for increased transparency. I have also been pushing student ideas as to how the Medical school can further aid its students. The positive impact these ideas are having on current students and future students is great to see. 

2. What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?

The ability to get a better understanding of the views and needs of fellow students in my year group and see first-hand that changes are being made based on their suggestions. I get great satisfaction in witnessing the progress that is being made for our year group and in the idea that the work being done is benefiting future year groups.

3. What skills have you learnt and used through your volunteering?

Learning communication skills have been vital as it has been an issue identified on student feedback. Learning new was to communicate with the year group and with the university in ways that allow free speech from students but while keeping things professional with the university have been crucial and something my fellow student Rep and I aim to continue to improve on. Teamwork has become a big part of the role, whether working with the university as part of a student staff liaison committee or working with the other course reps on projects affecting the course. Considering all opinions and ideas in a team provides a more inclusive and diverse set ideas which better represents the cohort as a whole. 

Volunteer role: Committee Member of the Month - President of ARU Indian Society (Cambridge) and Vice President of Dil Se Desi Society (Cambridge)

Name: Sneh Mehta

Course: MSc International Business

1. What are your main duties and how do they help others?

As President of the Indian Society and Vice President of the Dil Se Desi Society, my main duties are multifaceted and central to enhancing the experience of  students. My responsibilities include organizing and managing significant cultural events such as Navaratri, Janmashtami, Eid, Christmas, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali etc and other events each attracting approximately 150 attendees. These events are crucial in celebrating and sharing Indian culture, providing a sense of belonging and cultural connection for students away from home. A significant aspect of my role involves the creation and management of budgets, particularly for grant allocation. This requires strategic financial planning to ensure that we have the necessary resources to conduct our events and initiatives effectively. I also play a key role in outlining future events and initiatives, ensuring a dynamic and forward-thinking approach to our society's activities. Leading and training a team of 7 executive members and expanding our membership to more and more students is also one of the duties of the role . This involves not only effective delegation and fostering a collaborative environment but also ensuring the continuous growth and development of our committee members. Through active listening, I gather feedback and ideas from students, which helps in tailoring our activities to their needs and enhances their overall experience. Collaborating with other societies and the Student Union Team , especially for grand events like the Diwali function at Cambridge, is another example. These collaborations help create a more diverse and inclusive community, further enriching the students' experiences. Overall, these duties collectively aid in making international students feel at home, alleviating feelings of homesickness and isolation by providing a familiar cultural environment and a supportive community.

2. What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?

The most enjoyable aspect of my volunteering experience has been the opportunity to interact with and support new students, especially those who join in September. Seeing the positive impact of our events on their well-being, making them feel welcomed and part of a vibrant community, has been incredibly fulfilling. It's rewarding to witness how these cultural celebrations and support systems help in easing their transition into university life, making them feel less homesick and more integrated.

3. What skills have you learnt and used throughout your volunteering?

Budgeting: Effectively managing funds to organize high-quality events within financial constraints.

Team Building and Leadership: Assembling and guiding a team towards common goals, nurturing each member's unique strengths.

Active Listening and Communication: Ensuring open channels of communication with students, understanding their needs and feedback, and communicating effectively with my team and other stakeholders.

Problem-Solving: Addressing and resolving unforeseen challenges that arise in event planning and execution.

Forecasting: Anticipating future needs and challenges, planning strategically for the society's growth and improvement.

Volunteer role: Committee Member of the Month - Chelmsford

Name: Khadija Wao

Course: Medical Science

1. What are your main duties and how do they help others?

Main Duties are the secretary's job, which means you are putting things together and working on finalising projects behind the scenes. It is also about organisational skills & being punctual. They help others as it ensures that the event runs smoothly on the day and everyone is comfortable and looked after. 

2. What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?

For me, joining ISOC has given me the opportunity to continue fostering the same welcoming environment that it created for me when I first joined. This prompted me to help others within the Muslim community and broader and be there for people when they need it.

3. What skills have you learnt and used through your volunteering?

Skills Learnt & Developed: Skills I've developed since joining the committee are my organisational skills and understanding of the importance of punctuality. As for skills I've learnt, I'm learning a new one every day. Being part of the committee shows you a lot of skills that will stay with you in the long run, such as organising meetings, scheduling appointments, etc.

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