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The Volunteering Service is a joint project of UCL and Students’ Union UCL that exists to connect UCL’s students with well-run and rewarding volunteering opportunities across London.

We were established in 2002 and have grown to be one of the largest and most respected units of its kind in the UK. Volunteering is now seen as an important facet of the student experience at UCL and the scale and scope of volunteering here is something that distinguishes UCL from all other London universities and most of those in the Russell Group. Last year, over 2200 UCL students volunteered through us.

There are a number of ways we can work with academic departments

Subject-related volunteering

We have plenty of volunteering on offer that will give students new perspectives on their academic studies. We produce department-specific information sheets at the start of each year and have fresh opportunities coming in each week. If you’d like us to pass on vacancies that could be of interest to your students, we’d be happy to do so.

Student Leadership

Our Student-Led Projects scheme enables UCL students to organise and run their own community projects across London. This year, we’ve supported over 70 such groups. Many of these projects have sprung up from UCL’s academic departments and faculties. For example, Citizenship & Crime, Mathomaniacs, Meducate and Schools Book Club were set up by students in Laws, Maths, Medicine and English respectively. The Volunteering Service provides support, advice, training and funding, and can help new student groups put their ideas into action.

Volunteering and student employability

Our surveys of UCL students show that they feel more employable and develop useful skills through volunteering. Similarly, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement found that 51% of recent graduates said that previous volunteering had helped them to secure employment.

Together with UCL Careers, we run termly ‘Volunteering and Your CV’ workshops to help students reflect on their volunteering experiences and identify what useful skills they’ve learnt along the way.

Volunteering and student well-being

Volunteering can help students meet new people, feel more settled in London and at UCL, and improve their self-confidence. We want to get people talking about the well-being benefits of volunteering. In our 2017 survey of students, 76% of our volunteers said that volunteering had improved their well-being, with students citing a sense of satisfaction, opportunities to meet new people, and the chance to feel part of the community.

Creating Connections

Are you interested in working collaboratively with the voluntary/community sector on a research or public engagement project? If so, come along to Creating Connections, the termly networking event organised by the Volunteering Service and UCL’s Public Engagement Unit.

Community Research Initiative for Students

The Community Research for Students (CRIS) initiative is new to UCL and is designed to offer an exciting new way to do postgraduate dissertations. CRIS connects not-for-profit organisations that work with the Union’s Volunteering Service with academic staff and Masters students who are keen to research a community need in the capital.

Connected Curriculum

We can support UCL’s academic departments with UCL’s Connected Curriculum agenda. In particular, we can help broker introductions to community organisations when you’re thinking about aspects of workplace learning and creating outputs directed at external audiences in your curriculum design.

archaology discovery day