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Institution spotlight: Teesside University

Posted on 18 Dec 2014

"The team have surpassed our expectations in terms of their commitment, enthusiasm and creativity"

In this institution spotlight, we hear from Volun-tees at Teesside University about how students can use their skills to bring volunteering to life and inspire their peers to get involved.

Since the beginning of the new term Volun-tees have been working with Journalism & Multimedia student Joe Waistell to utilise his expertise to enhance our social media presence.

We had the requirement to market Volun-tees more effectively but also provide Joe with a live project to help enhance his CV and also increase his confidence. He has played a key role in significantly increasing our Facebook and Twitter audience and has shown initiative in instigating new social media marketing ideas.

Joe then asked if his study group of Multimedia students could use the marketing of Volun-tees for an awareness raising campaign as part of their PR module. The team have surpassed our expectations in terms of their commitment, enthusiasm and creativity and as mentioned, have increased our social media presence. They have consistently stepped out their comfort zone and embraced new opportunities as well as helping the community such as clearing a flooded wildflower meadow, painting a house and building a Santa’s Grotto as well as filming and organisation a PR stand in the Student Union! All these activities have helped them create an excellent Volun-tees awareness raising campaign and enabled them create a short accessible video to inspire other students!

A blog from Joe

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust – 22nd October 2014

A suspiciously warm October morning soon turned into a cold, wet afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to deter Teesside University volunteers from the task ahead of them. Working with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, the tasks for the day were, helping with the restoration of a wildflower meadow at their Portrack Marsh reserve in Stockton, and starting to create a new footpath, to encourage more visitors to the area.

Over the next year there are plans to turn the path into a nature trail to give schools and other visitors more information about the reserve.The wildflower meadow was home to many rare flowers and rare butterflies such as the Dingy Skipper, however excessive flooding earlier this year managed to wipe out much of the wildlife and growth in the meadow.

By removing the reeds that grew in place of the wildflowers, we were able to help prevent change in the soil’s composition and allow the former life to be restored to the meadow.

The task of clearing reeds sounded not too different to a little gardening work; however after being presented with an assortment of sharp implements that could easily have been lifted from the set of a horror film, it became apparent this wasn’t quite the same as trimming the hedges at home.

The large area of reeds may have seemed daunting at first but it was no challenge at all for our volunteers who jumped right in and made easy work of it despite the adverse weather conditions!

In the end a fun day was had by all and it was a job well done with a reed free marsh, and a start made on the footpath that was sure to be the beginning of a brighter future for the Portrack Marsh reserve and the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust.

Jayne Golden & Joe Waistell

Jayne Golden is the Volunteer Coordinator and Joe Waistell is a Journalism & Multimedia student at Teesside University

Categories: Institution spotlight, Universities