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Happy Student Volunteering Week from Royal Holloway

Posted on 24 Feb 2017

Happy Student Volunteering Week everyone!!

This week has seen numerous new and current volunteers getting involved with student led projects, volunteering with charities as well as in community centres in the local area. Students are currently competing in our Volunteer Challenge to be the volunteer to register the most number of hours volunteering during Student Volunteering Week and the week is not over yet! There’s still a range of actives, both on and off campus to get involved with, so what are you waiting for?

To highlight and celebrate Student Volunteering Week Surrey Council asked for Community Action to take over their Surrey Matters Instagram! As a result, I found myself lost in the middle of the Runnymede forest in heeled boots… but we’ll get to that!

My first stop was to visit volunteers who were asking local shoppers in Egham high street about their memories of the Egham floods in 2014. Egham museum and Community Action are currently working together in order to create a book which documents the 2014 flooding. The experiences collected by the volunteers will be combined with further information gathered at the Museum’s Floods Memory Sharing Day (Sat 25th Feb) and will be added to the book.

My second visit was to a student-led project called ‘Love Your Campus’ and today they were in the process of transforming the garden in the Queen’s Building Quad. When I found the eleven student volunteers they were following up with work they had carried out in October. This involved pruning shrubs, weeding and generally tidying up the garden. This work has transformed the area allowing it to become a lovely social space on campus. The project also runs weekly litter picking sessions around campus and volunteers can join the two hour session at any point (gloves and litter pickers are of course provided!).

My next stop was an unexpected one to Nature Conservation. The only problem was… I was wearing heeled boots and they were far inside Cooper’s Hill Woods. Rather than using GPS, the Nature Conservation group used the age old method of shouting my name until I found them on a well deserved tea break! They were halfway through removing a failed experiment from the early 1900s, where larch had been planted within the forest, alongside the National Trust. The sessions in this student-led project are all slightly different, as the National Trust takes volunteers to different parts of the woodland, in order to clear different invasive species, including Sycamore and Buddleia. If you want to volunteer for this project, make sure you wrap up warm and definitely do not wear heels (tea, tools and biscuits provided)!

My final and favourite stop was a visit to Schroder Court where the residents were singing with volunteers for the project ‘Sing-Along Surrey’. This project allows students to interact with the elderly, whilst also brightening up the resident’s day through socialising and singing. Volunteers, many with societies, attend regular weekly group sessions and can choose between 4 different locations.

No matter what your interests and hobbies are, it’s clear to see from my volunteering tour of Egham, there’s a project or charity out there for everyone!

Kat - Royal Holloway

Kat is a final year Psychology student at Royal Holloway University. She has been a team member of Community Action this year and helped organise two successful Christmas initiatives, aswell as planning for Student Volunteering Week 2017.

Categories: Institution spotlight, Universities, What volunteering means to me