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This week is Student Volunteering Week 2023! This year marks the 22nd annual Student Volunteering Week, which aims to celebrate and encourage the impact of students in the civic sector across the UK. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media throughout the week to get updates on volunteering events, learn more about the Volunteering Service, and celebrate the week together. If you want to get involved with volunteering this week, make sure to browse through our directory of over 300 volunteering opportunities available across London.

Volunteering plays a vital role in making positive change across the community. It is a great way to make a difference, build new skills, and meet new people.

One of the 2022-23 Volunteering Officers Yalin Chen shared what she enjoys the most about volunteering:

"Volunteering helps me to build lots of different skills, like communication skills, planning skills, time-management skills, and that is really helpful in my academic studies as well. I think that volunteering is a very good opportunity for you to build up your skills and also to meet a lot of new friends as well!"

This week we have our Social Hackathons taking place, where UCL students will partner with one of our partner organisations to create solutions to problems that the organisations are currently facing.

One of your 2022-23 Volunteering Officers Jingyi Ye took part in our November 2022 Social Hackathon, and shared her experience working with Wonder Foundation to find ways to provide accessible resources to women and girls across the country:

The thing I learnt from the Social Hackathon is that even if we are really doing kind of basic research, I still get a feeling that we are making a little bit of change. We searched for information to help with the research they will do in the future about how these communities will help girls and women get access to education. So we really gain a sense of achievement from the Social Hackathon.

I think it was a really great chance for me to try new things and to meet new people. I also got a chance to speak with the manager at the charity. By doing the Hackathon, I think you will gain more information about the initiatives behind the charity and about why they are doing this. You learn about how they start the charity, what the purpose is, and what they have already done. You can get more information than if you are just looking through their website. You will gain more personal feelings and thoughts, so you can have more of a direct connection to that charity, which I think is a really great chance.

I would definitely recommend the Social Hackathon. Even though you may be doing really basic things, I feel like this can be a start of your whole volunteering journey. I feel like it would be a really great start for new volunteers or people who have interest in volunteering, to start thinking about what they can do, what kind of help they can offer through volunteering.

This week we’re also celebrating our Student-Led Volunteering Programme, through which UCL students to set up their own volunteering projects to make an impact on the community.

One of these Student-Led Projects is Zero Food Waste, which tackles food waste across the UCL campus. Working with UCL’s cafes, volunteers redistribute excess food to homeless shelters and foodbanks in the local area.

Co-Leader of the project, Patricia Gimeno Le Paih, spoke about the highlights of her experience working on Zero Food Waste:

It has helped me realise that so many people are interested in food waste and how people would go an extra mile to help reduce food waste. I have gained really good skills, such as administrative skills and leadership skills, and I have also gotten to know so many people on campus!”

We also want to highlight the amazing work being done by UCL Masters students through the Community Research Initiative, through which students collaborate with local voluntary organisations to carry out research projects for their dissertation.

Through the Community Research Initiative, students have the opportunity to directly engage with the local voluntary sector and make a real difference in the community. One of these students is UCL MSc Social Policy & Social Research student Emily Petch, who worked with Camden United FC throughout her dissertation. Working in collaboration with members of the organisation to speak with young players, this research allowed both Emily and Camden United FC to gain new insight, and implement feedback in order to make Camden United FC a player-led organisation.

If you are a masters student interested in working with local voluntary organisations, you can find out more about the Community Research Initiative here!

It's easy to get involved with volunteering over Student Volunteering Week 2023. Make sure to browse through our volunteering directory of over 300 opportunities, and keep an eye on our Instagram, where we will be sharing new information about all of the different opportunities that the Volunteering Service has on offer!