Volunteering at university may be something you have never considered, especially if a busy schedule of course work, socialising and a part-time job already leave you short on time. But if you are a new or returning student, volunteering can have a positive impact on different aspects of your life.
For starters, it’s often a brilliant way to explore your new home town or city, learn about the local community, meet people from different backgrounds, and make new friends. Many university volunteering schemes run social events for volunteers and in some cases, annual award ceremonies to thank volunteers for their efforts!
Volunteering and helping others has been shown to enhance mental wellbeing, with benefits including increased self-esteem, better relationships, more socialising opportunities and a healthier lifestyle. At a time when the higher education news is dominated by stories of the pressures on students and the rising numbers accessing mental health services, it is important to consider the steps you can take to look after your mental wellbeing, which will ultimately help you to fulfill your potential at university.
Getting involved in a volunteering project can also help boost your career prospects. Many schemes offer training to student volunteers (see the examples below) and allow you to gain practical experience of working in a particular field. This may directly apply to your chosen career path, or it may help you gain a clearer understanding of the direction you would like to take in life. Your experiences can also help you to develop transferable listening, thinking and speaking skills that can enhance your future prospects, no matter what your area of interest. Above all, it shows employers that you are proactive and not afraid to get involved. Are you convinced yet? Here are some examples of current university volunteering schemes to get you inspired:
Projects to inspire you
South Wales Police are now recruiting students based in Cardiff who would like to volunteer to join Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers in a range of exciting operations. This includes crime prevention walkabouts and running the Student Safety Bus that moves around the city, providing support to vulnerable adults and helping students to get home safely. Volunteer training includes conflict management, first aid and bystander training. The team are welcoming applications for the next academic year here, and make sure that your application is in by July 31st.