A campaign to log the thousands of volunteering hours staff and students at the University of Gloucestershire undertake within the local community and beyond was launched today (Thursday, 1 October).
Bank It, a joint initiative by the university and its Students’ Union (SU), has set a challenging target to ‘bank’ 18,000 volunteering hours by the end of 2015-16 academic year. The campaign aims to build on the success of the previous two years, with last years’ total reaching 11,500 hours.
The student and staff member who devoted the most number of hours to volunteering last year came together to mark today’s launch. Student Hope Fawsitt was announced as ‘Student Volunteer of the Year’ at the SU Student Awards in June for contributing a total 230 hours of her spare time to a voluntary role within the Students’ Union during the 2014-15 academic year. In doing so, she also achieved a DegreePlus Gold Award that will be recognised on her HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report) when she graduates in November.
Hope Fawsitt, who is now Students’ Union Community Officer, said: “University life is all about the experiences. I am extremely passionate about students making the most of their experience at this university. Making space for some voluntary work can really add value to their overall university experience and future plans, so the Students’ Union is very excited about the launch of the Bank It initiative for this year.
“Bank It enables us to capture and celebrate the vast amount of volunteering time students and staff contribute to the community in Gloucestershire and further afield. Students put significant time, effort and enthusiasm into a range of voluntary roles, from coaching community sports teams to organising tea dances for older residents, promoting sustainability and running our Activity Time, Hub Club and Splash sessions.”
It’s not just students who spend considerable time volunteering; staff at the university do too. Barbara Rainbow, who is Sustainability Coordinator and Administrator, clocked up 220 hours of volunteering throughout the year. Barbara spent three weeks volunteering in Kolkata, India last year where she gave her time working in schools for Good News Children’s Education Mission. She will return to Kolkata for three weeks in the New Year. She also runs a Girl’s Brigade Company at 1st Charlton Kings for girls from 5 up to 18 years of age.
Barbara said: “There are plenty of organisations in Gloucestershire that need help. I run a Girl’s Brigade Company at our church on a Monday night. It is a commitment, but it’s very rewarding. A lot of these organisations wouldn’t work without help, and it’s not just charities, it could be helping out sports teams or events or helping the elderly.”
Students and staff log their volunteering hours through the Students’ Union website. Students who reach 50 hours of volunteering receive a DegreePlus Bronze Award: SU Volunteering that goes onto their HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report) and get invited to the annual SU Student Awards. A HEAR is a detailed record of a student’s achievement during their time in higher education which they can achieve in addition to their degree certificate.
Organisations who have volunteering opportunities for students can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.