Award Finalist: Zoe Webber
Posted on 19 Feb 2016
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 Celebration Event on Monday 22 February.
Today, we meet Zoe Webber, a Psychosocial Studies student at Goldsmiths, University of London. Molly from the SVW team caught up with Zoe on the phone and asked her a few questions about her experience…
Zoe is the President of RE:mind mental health society at Goldsmiths, and is dedicated to volunteering to help students to improve their mental health. Zoe co-founded the Dedicated Listeners project, which is a peer-support listening service.
Why did you start volunteering?
I started volunteering because I wanted to do something alongside my degree that was important to me. I wanted to put my skills to good use, as well as reading books! The first opportunity I got involved with as a student was with the Mental Health society I now run. The President was leaving and I thought it was important to carry on the group. We’d had good responses from students and I knew that it was something students needed.
What do you think are the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteering helps you to connect with like-minded people, which can be empowering. It’s great to work with others on projects that have a positive impact on students. The society I lead runs mindfulness sessions, which have helped students with insomnia to rest better and given those with anxiety a space to talk. I love the community feeling we’ve built up around our volunteers and members, and knowing that our group is important to them.
Why do you think it's important that other students volunteer while they’re at college or uni?
Volunteering is great for confidence - it helped me to realise that I could achieve things I didn’t think I could. It also helps students to connect with other people and the communities around them, which is really important considering starting University can be an isolating time.
What’s your message to students who aren’t sure whether they want to volunteer?
If you have an interest or something you would like to work on, just try it out, even if you’re nervous. Push through the fear and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve, the skills you’ll develop and the great people you’ll meet. You never know where it will lead!
If you won the £1000 prize, which charity would you give it to and why?
I would definitely give it to Mind, because they are an amazing charity. I volunteer for them running wellbeing workshops and they trained me up. They’ve been incredibly supportive, their heart is in the right place and the services they provide for people are vital.