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Throwback Thursday: Microvolunteering at Sheffield Hallam SU

Posted on 15 Jan 2015

Time for another Throwback Thursday! This week we here from Sheffield Hallam Students' Union about a recent microvolunteering event that they ran.

Here at Sheffield Hallam Student's Union we offer a wide range of volunteering opportunities from one-offs, to working with the local community to micro-volunteering. It is the latter that is currently our focus and I have organised a few events since starting my role in September. The idea behind micro-volunteering is to engage with students who have little time but want to give something back to the community or to develop a skill in a short space of time. Both of which can be achieved in a couple of minutes all the way up to an hour. There are a wide range of activities which can involve students with jam-packed schedules such as surveys, internet games, craft activities which benefit the community and simple donations of food/clothes etc. Micro-volunteering also act as a taster session for people who are unsure of committing more time to longer running projects and hopefully encourages them to go on to volunteer with our Students' Union.

I was very keen to launch the idea of microvolunteering around Christmas as it's a time when people are full of festive cheer and want to participate in acts of kindness. I built up a campaign based around one week in December before students returned to their families which featured a different theme for each day. It was named Hallam Christmas to tie in with other Christmas themed events around the university. Here is a brief outline of the week:

Mon 8th Dec - Say thank you

Activities were run in conjunction with Time to Change around positive mental health and being thankful at Christmas. Students were asked to write things they were thankful for at Christmas time on tags which were then hung on a tree. The idea was to encourage students to think about the support they have in terms of mental illnesses and to remember this throughout the year. We gave out Time to Change materials to encourage students to open up about mental health issues and start their conversations with loved ones.

Tue 9th Dec - Make someone's day

We asked volunteers to write greetings cards to members of staff at Sheffield Childrens' Hospital as a thank you for their continued service to the children of Sheffield. These cards where then taken to the hospital and shared with staff along with some sweet treats.

Wed 10th Dec - Share something

Volunteers were encouraged to share charities FB/Twitter pages in order to raise awareness and get more people involved with their causes. We also took cookies/treats to our partners as a thank you for their continued partnership with SHSU but also their service to the community and worthy causes.

Thur 11th Dec - Give something

We had stalls across the university to promote organ donor register sign up and raise awareness of the register amongst students. Volunteers also donated food to the Food Drive which was part of the Sheffield On A Plate initiative, in return for mulled wine/hot chocolate.

Fri 12th Dec - Enjoy something

Students were invited to relax on the final day of the campaign and welcomed to the SHSU bar for Christmas deals to enjoy with friends.

We are currently underway with evaluating the campaign but overall it has been well received by students - especially when they were given items such as candy canes and cookies! Students seemed touched at the kindness of Hallam Students' Union staff and our partners in the community mirrored this. Hallam Christmas was a great way to make students aware of what opportunities we offer but also to boost morale and motivation during the run up to exam period which was definitely needed.

If you want to share a story from a recent volunteering event for our Throwback Thursday series, check out our blogging guidelines.

Luci Cockayne

Luci works at Sheffield Hallam Student's Union as a Volunteer Support Worker. She is also a recent graduate of Sheffield Hallam University, where she studied English Language and participated in volunteering projects and placements across the university.

Categories: Throwback Thursday, Universities