Award Finalist: Simon Stringer
Posted on 20 Feb 2015
This week we are introducing you to the five students who have been shortlisted for the Student Volunteer of the Year Award. The winner will be announced at our Parliamentary Celebration on Monday 23 February.
Today, we meet Simon Stringer. He completed his BSc Conservation Biology Degree at the University of Plymouth and is now a Postgraduate MRes student at Harper Adams University.
"Volunteering for me meant giving what I could, time and energy, to causes that make a real difference in things I hold dear."
Originally from Birmingham, I moved to Plymouth to study my undergraduate BSc Conservation Biology Degree. I have now moved again and am continuing Postgraduate MRes studies at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. The Student Union at Plymouth University offers amazing opportunities for many different types of volunteering from sexual health awareness, beat bullying and mentoring, through to encouraging school children to engage with nature through The Wild Patch Project, engaging with special needs sports through The Special Olympics and environmental and conservation volunteering through Student Led Volunteering Projects. I am both honoured and surprised to be nominated for this award, as I am grateful for the opportunities Plymouth University Student Union is able to offer through NUS. Helping great causes that are run parallel with my own ideals helped me with the big change in location and I would like to thank my nominators very much.
Volunteering is simply another word for spending time productively doing honest work for free. Or to put another way “having a jolly good time helping”. Volunteering allows you to choose where and what you do, and with or for whom. It is also a way of developing skills from personal skills such as communication and time management; professional skills such as project organisation, working with others and team leading; and manual skills, in my case coppicing, hedge laying, habitat management, and not forgetting goal keeping!
Volunteering while at Plymouth Uni really opened up a whole world of opportunities for me: I met students from all over the world from America to Hong Kong; we learnt as a group how to grow our own fruit and vegetables; I learnt how much poo a small capuchin produces overnight, and I learnt how to help someone with autism feel included through football. I love volunteering, and really wish we could all make time to contribute the thousands of hours wasted wishing we were doing something different to projects that relate to our own paradigms. Volunteering for me meant giving what I could, time and energy, to causes that make a real difference in things I hold dear. So what are you waiting for?