News Article

November Volunteers of the Month!

Read about all our student volunteers success for November!

Cambridge Community Volunteer of the Month

Sophie Butrymowicz

Sophie is a 3rd year ARU student studying Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. She also volunteers on campus as a peer support group facilitator with Student Minds, an organisation dedicated to supporting student mental health.

“This volunteering role helps to benefit those with low mood and those suffering from mild and moderate depression and anxiety. We achieve this by encouraging any student that might be struggling with these things to attend a peer support group session where they can share experiences, pick up tips to improve wellbeing and socialise in a positive, safe and confidential environment.

I lead sessions with our support group providing them with positive ways to improve mental wellbeing and cope with anxiety and depression. I engage in discussion with the individuals that attend, lending an ear to anything that might be worrying them and prompting them to discover ways in which they might be able to overcome obstacles in their day to day lives. On the administrative side I’ve taken to organising a lot of meetings to ensure we can reach as many people that need us as possible and coordinating the group so we function to the best of our ability.

I enjoy facilitating a session the most about the role. Managing to get engagement and seeing the smile on someone’s face when they talk about an improvement they’ve seen in their mood or when they realise they’re not alone and others are experiencing similar things. It’s awesome to see our support helping our attendees support themselves and each other.

Leadership and listening skills have been key to this volunteering role. I’ve improved in terms of leadership more than I thought I would as the role goes beyond your involvement in sessions.

I aspire to go into counselling or become a counselling psychologist so the volunteering role has given me hands on experience of a therapeutic environment and given me important insight into the varied experiences of mental health difficulties.

The volunteering services has been incredibly supportive and dedicated to ensuring we’re working effectively and providing us with the information and resources we need to be successful in the role.”

If you would like to know more about either the Positive Minds group or the Eating Difficulties group with Student Minds, you can email  or visit You can also follow the Student Minds ARU group on Facebook by searching ‘@studentmindsaru’.

Chelmsford Community Volunteer of the Month

Cerian Barrell

I am a First Year Paramedic student and have been volunteering for the Cub Scout Association as a Cub Section Assistant and have been helping to run evening activities for young people.

I enjoy watching a Cub come to their first session and helping them increase their confidence and allowing them to thrive in new and exciting opportunities.

I have learnt the importance of teamwork, leadership and organisation, working as a team to deliver activities and leading young people to develop their personal skills. The role benefits young people in the community so they have the chance to participate in adventurous activities, make friends and experience the outdoors.

My career aspiration is to become a paramedic and volunteering has allowed me to engage with young people and improve many skills that are essential for my career such as problem solving, leadership and confidence and has allowed me to work towards a qualification alongside my volunteering activities and my studies.

Cambridge Rep of the Month

Anastasia Malykhina

Anastasia Malykhina is the MBA Course Rep for LAIBS and has been representing the views of her course mates to the SSLC (Student Staff Liaison Meeting) and other appropriate forums.

“I think the best thing about being a Course Rep is that you can really help your course mates and make an impact. When I hear a simple “thank you” from the students of my course it really makes me happy.”

Despite the short time in office, Anastasia has thrown herself into the role and has already identified a number of issues that could really improve student engagement and motivation in their studies and work / social balance. Anastasia has worked to improve both work and social spaces for MBA students, working on plans for a MBA Student of the Week scheme during term time to give students chances to win a prize for their motivation, engagement and commitment to the course. Cheryl Greyson, Acting Course Leader for MBA, comments:

“Anastasia has great ideas and energy and is already proving herself to be a great course Rep.”

Through her role as a course rep Anastasia is able to see the benefit her work has on both the students of her course as well as the wider benefit for the continued development of the University as a whole. She has also learnt and developed some key skills such leadership, time management and how to be more self-motivated. These skills are desirable for any job application and will certainly be helpful in working towards Anastasia’s “ultimate career dream” of working in top management.

 “As a team we would like to say congratulations and well done to Anastasia, she’s doing some great work and we’re really pleased it’s being recognised.”

Chelmsford Rep of the Month

Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a third year Midwifery student and course rep.

During her time as a rep Emily has helped set up a buddy scheme for all 3 years of the course. The buddy scheme is designed to enable students across all 3 years to get to know each other and add an extra layer of support for students.

Emily has been a Rep for 3 years and has always put effort into the role and working behind the scenes with course staff to improve the student experience. Karen Bartholomew, the Staff Course Leader for Midwifery comments:

“Organising a support system like she has for her course really goes above and beyond the role of Rep and showcases what a wonderful Rep she is for her class.

We’re really pleased Emily has been awarded Rep of the Month this month as her contribution to her course is outstanding. Emily is an absolute star!”

Congratulations on all your hard work over the last 3 years Emily!

Cambridge Committee Member of the Month

Matt Alton

Matt Alton is a third year Sociology student and Social and Events Officer of the STAR Society (Student Action For Refugees). STAR is a national charity of 13,000 students who educate people about refugees, meet and welcome refugees to their communities, and campaigning to improve the lives of refugees in the UK.about refugees, meeting and welcoming refugees to their communities, and campaigning to improve the lives of refugees in the UK

Matt has worked incredibly hard to organise society events, including a refugee documentary screening and social and meeting with external figures affiliated with campaigns to support refugees in Cambridge. Most notably, Matt has recently organised a disco event in order to raise money for Student Action for Refugees and Cambridge Resettlement Campaign. For this event, Matt organised the music line-up, venue, advertisement, finances, and leading on the event as a whole. The disco was a big success and raised over £400 for refugees in Cambridge.

Ash Li, a society member comments:

“Matt has been a warm and welcoming committee member to the new members of the society, and has helped foster a friendly atmosphere within the society.” "This kind of voluntary work will give me the skills necessary, as well as showing potential employers that I'm prepared to use my imagination and initiative"

Once Matt has graduated from his course he would like to work in the charity sector. Matt comments:

"This kind of voluntary work will give me the skills necessary, as well as showing potential employers that I'm prepared to use my imagination and initiative"

Congratulations on all your success so far Matt!

If you would like to get involved with the STAR Society, please head to their webpage for further information or find them on Facebook at 'ARU Student Action for Refugees'.

Chelmsford Committee Member of the Month

Megan Flexman

Megan Flexman is a second year Education and Childhood Studies student and President of the Education Society.

The Education Society, which is new for this year, is aimed towards those studying on an Education course but is open to all those who are interested in the subject. It provides students to the opportunity to meet likeminded people, discuss the subject and to provide peer support for coursework. As part of Megan’s role, she has been in regular contact with the Union and her Faculty and works closely alongside our Education Officer, Grace Anderson. Megan has also organised a trip to the Houses of Parliament and organises other activities for her members.

“I have found [my role as President] a challenge but have enjoyed every minute of it! I enjoy having a positive influence and being able to put on activities and trips for my members.”

Megan has aspirations of becoming a teacher and would like to progress to be a Head of Year and then a Head Teacher. Her role of President has helped her to learn new skills such as communication, time management, being a team member and networking by building professional relationships, all of which she will be able to transfer into her working life.

The Education Society is also the first to gain funding from the Course Leader Fund!

Congratulations on all your success so far Megan and keep up the excellent work!

If you would like to know about the Society and how to get involved, head to their webpage here:


Congratulations to all our winners for November 2016! We also extend our congratulations to all our nominees for November for their dedication and commitment to their volunteering roles:

Catherine Haas, Phoebe Cole, Samera Shah, Ciara Rose, Marianne Johany, Zaria Byer, Sian O'Brien, Onella Khan, Fraser Luther-Yarwood, Mahjabin Anwar, Sarah Gradidge, Laura Douds, Michael Charles Jones and Melissa Wright.


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