‹ Blog Home

Alex Bordoli: What volunteering means to me

Posted on 29 Jan 2014

Volunteering was the best decision I ever made when I was a student…

I mean the studying and time spent in the library was kind of important, but the best friends I made and the amazing experiences that I had are the highlights of my degree. Accidentally stumbling along the Raise & Give (RAG) and Community Action stalls at Freshers fayre transformed my career trajectory; as a result, I have ended up as the Student Fundraising Coordinator for University of Plymouth Students’ Union.

Plymouth Students’ Union is really excited about getting involved with National Student Volunteering Week.

Aside from the valuable skills you gain from volunteering (which no doubt come in very handy for post-uni job hunting), it is a great way to get to know people and have a little fun. Volunteering is non-competitive, un-cliquey and is something anyone can dip in and out of depending on their other commitments. Also getting out of the uni bubble can be quite a relaxing experience, especially when we have so many wonderful volunteer projects on the doorstep of Dartmoor.

Here at UPSU we are very proud of our volunteers. Our students are raising hundreds of thousands for charity, many of which have a direct impact on the local community… For instance our Octopush & Swimming clubs have got involved in a sea swim challenge, which is supporting a small prostate cancer charity that operates from our local hospital. We also have students giving up hours of their time to volunteer for local community organisations, for instance we have a student-led project which goes out tree planting in and around Dartmoor to restore native woodland. So far this year we have recorded over 8000 hours in volunteering in the local community.

Student Volunteer Week is a great opportunity to sing the praises of our volunteers.

These students don’t volunteer for the kudos, but as an organisation we think it is important to thank them and recognise the positive impact they are having. The other aspect is all about getting more students involved in volunteering – it’s so nice to share the love! Plymouth Students’ Union has lots of one off volunteer projects in that week, training sessions with industry experts, sessions in conjunction with employability on the third sector and a pretty awesome Good Deed Market.

The fondest memories I have of University aren’t the ones in the library, it’s the weird and wonderful activities that I got do with some of my best friends.

From hours standing on a cold street in Cardiff dressed as a shark raising money for Banardos, to forest fort building with young careers, to a weird night spent on the floor of a Calais petrol station trying to get a lift (charity hitch-hike)… these are the things that make good stories. I hope that the National Student Volunteering Week campaign will mean that many more students will get to have these experiences too.

Alex Bordoli

Alex is the Student Fundraising Coordinator at Plymouth University. She first got involved with volunteering and fundraising as a student at the University of Exeter. She supports now students raising money for charity at Plymouth. She's also currently taking part in a world record attempt for the most monkeys jumping out of a plane (raising money for the local wildlife charity, Wild Futures).

Categories: What volunteering means to me