Last year, over 1700 UCL students participated in volunteering through the VSU. You can find out about some of them here. You can also read about some of the projects our students have set up on our pages.
Marilena currently volunteers befriending patients on the Red Cell Haematology floor at the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre. She’s a a third year Psychology student and volunteers at the hospital once a week. “I would recommend this project to anyone that wants to help people and also get involved with a great organisation such as Macmillan. Volunteers have a lot to gain, they meet a lot of new people and make new friends and most of all, you never feel like your time is wasted and it’s a continuous process of learning and improving your skills. The role is very well supported and supervised, not just by the Macmillan service but also by the Clinical Psychologist at the unit.” Read more.
Harvey is a first year undergraduate studying Finnish and East European Studies. He volunteers weekly with ReachOut! as a Mentor at Carlton Primary School in Camden. “It is definitely something I look forward to every week. It is very rewarding to watch my mentee progressing academically and on the sports field on a week by week basis. It is also beneficial to have something stable in your weekly life as living in London can be quite stressful at times. I feel like I’ve made friends with new people, not students only at UCL, but also those at other institutions such as King’s College London and Queen Mary.” Read more.
Katy Murray graduated from UCL in 2013 with a degree in Ancient World Studies, and got involved in lots of volunteering along the way - including some time with the VSU. She’s currently volunteering with the Children’s Heart Foundation. “During my second year, I learnt the power of starting small. I was incredibly fortunate to find an unpaid role in a small social enterprise company. I am still amazed and the enormous level of responsibility, autonomy, and opportunity this small organisation gave me. When I finished, with a view to gaining more hands-on experience on a smaller scale, I contacted the UCLU Volunteering Services Unit to see how I could help. Working with the VSU took me into some tiny charitable and not-for-profit organisations in London…. read more.
Sabina is a law student here at UCL. She volunteers at Community Links in Newham every Tuesday for at least half a day. “As a law student at UCL, exposure to high-paying commercial city firms is incredibly high, so as someone who lives in East London I wanted to make the most of an opportunity to help those in my community, who perhaps need legal assistance the most. This volunteering role has made me a lot more confident as I’ve never had the opportunity to conduct my own client interviews before. It’s also vastly improved my communication skills…” Read More
Oliver is a 3rd year Medical and Psychology Intercalated BSC student. He has been volunteering as mentor for the past month at the Refugee Therapy Centre, where he gives 3 hours of his time a week to help his varied client base with their individaul needs. “The best thing about this project is that it is all about helping an underprivileged, often overlooked sector of our society. Refugees are in need of a lot of support and need to feel empowered rather than overwhelmed by the new culture they are involved in. I would definitely recommend this project to anyone with a few spare hours a week as it is thoroughly worthwhile. I think that there is a lot to be learnt from mentoring refugees - both them from you and you from them.”
Sarah is a Biomedical Sciences student. She volunteers with the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre where she acts as a Welcomer and Guide for the centres patients. ” I would thoroughly recommend volunteering at the cancer centre as I feel I have made a positive impact on the lives of many patients. There are fantastic opportunities for personal development and the volunteering department are very open to listening to suggestions and volunteers are encouraged to suggest new roles they envisage could be needed.”
Catriona is a postgraduate Law student. She volunteers once a week as a Fundraising Intern for Westminster Befriend a Family, where she is responsible for sourcing and applying for new funding opportunities. “Volunteering has provided me with the perfect opportunity to improve my own skills, whilst also contributing to a very worthwhile cause. It is rewarding to take a break from my studies and do something different that challenges me in a new way. I have also had the opportunity to meet a wide selection of different people who are experts in their various fields.”
Temitayo has just finished a postgraduate degree in Law. She ran the Schools Book Club through 2012-13, volunteering every Wednesday for a couple of hours in term-time. “I would recommend volunteering to everyone at UCL. Pick a project that aligns with your interests and have a blast doing it! You will gain invaluable skills and experience, which will be very useful during interviews for internships or graduate roles.”
Shermohammed is a third year Philosophy and History of Art student. He’s been volunteering as a mentor for the past year once a week at IntoUniversity’s Hackney South Centre. “In my first ever session with my mentee we talked about the kinds of challenges he was facing at school and what he felt he needed to work on. I’ve learned so much about my mentee and I’d like to think he feels the same. Knowing that I’ve had a positive influence on his life is incredibly encouraging and mentoring for the time I have with IntoUniversity has been equally as rewarding.”
Valeriya is a third year Psychology student. She volunteered for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) as a Selection Event Volunteer in 2012. “I feel that I contributed to something that may never happen again – I helped to select volunteers for once in a lifetime event, a truly magnificent and exciting event in the history of the country. The very feeling of being a part of the great team that make the Olympics happen cannot be described in words, it’s unbelievable, overwhelming and extraordinary experience that changes you, transforms your mind set and makes you grow…”
Tim Davies a 3rd Year, History of Art student, tells us about his volunteering at the Hayward Gallery in the Southbank Centre in 2012. “It was great being able to see the backstage workings of a museum and meet curators and the artists; invaluable CV fodder. The best thing about volunteering is meeting people who are as passionate as you are about the project and gaining experience of institutions that would usually require you to be in a position of employment, something which is difficult to attain at this age.”
Sheikh Momin is currently in his first year of a Medicine degree at UCL. This year, he has volunteered with the UCLU Bangla Society’s Mentoring Scheme. “The scope of opportunities available in volunteering is incredible, and these projects offer a unique way to bring you into contact with different people from all backgrounds, and it is truly incredible to see their perspectives on life in comparison to yours, as well as extremely rewarding to know that your effort has made a difference.”
Anqi Huang is a second year Mathematics student who volunteers at the UCL Special Collections and took part in the ‘Chinese New Year’ event held by the British Chinese Project in February 2013.
“Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills. It gives me a chance to discover what kinds of things I’m best at and enjoy the most. Also, it provides me with a sense of responsibility and helps me develop a new understanding of people who are different from me. Donating time is a great way to feel like I have the power to change things for the better.”
Sadhika is a second year Law student who volunteers for IntoUniversity at their Haringey North Centre. “Personally, I feel that the best thing about volunteering is knowing that you are doing your part to make your community a healthier and happier place. No matter how insignificant a volunteering position may seem, I strongly believe that every form of help counts towards improving the lives of others, which also enriches your life as a volunteer. I think a particular challenge of volunteering is making time for it initially. However, once I got into a routine of balancing my volunteering with other commitments this challenge was overcome.”
Billy is a MRes Crime and Security Science student. Last year, he set up and ran the RaspberryPython project.
“I think there’s a great feeling that comes from doing any kind of volunteering; to be able to say that you gave up your time for others. The best feeling for me, however, is knowing that there are now some people out there that have gained knowledge and skills that they otherwise might not ever have had the opportunity to gain.”
Krishna Vadakattu is a 2nd Year Mechanical Engineering student volunteering for West Euston Partnership Ability Bikes in Regents Park on Saturdays.
“By participating in the programme I feel more relaxed, productive and capable of managing my time. I have gained valuable communication skills and would recommend the scheme to anyone, because you enjoy the experience even more than the parents and children you are helping.”
Janice Lee is a third year Medic who has volunteered for the past three years for 2-3 hours a week supporting a client at the Third Age Project in Camden.
“The best thing about volunteering is meeting and getting to know people from all walks of life. Living in this busy, bustling city of London means that we are constantly rushing around from one place to another that we hardly ever strike up conversations with people around us that we do not know.”
Uzoma Iheanyichukwu Onyekachi
Uzoma is studying for an MSc in Systems Engineering Management, and took part in the VSU’s Halls of Residence Volunteering Initiative, teaching IT skills to people experiencing homelessness.
“The best thing about volunteering is the joy we put on the faces of people when we get them see the amazing things they can do which they never thought they could do.”
Irina graduated with a Computer Science degree in summer 2012. She is now studying for an MSc in Financial Systems Engineering. Irina organised the 2011 international trip for the UCLU Volunteering Society and volunteered for St. George’s Church in Bloomsbury.
“Being a volunteer provided me with much satisfaction, because I had the chance to spend my time helping other people and genuinely making a difference in other people’s lives. At first, I used to be a lot less efficient with managing my time, but volunteering helped me learn to prioritise my time and get a lot more done.”
Weiling Ng is a third year Law student. She’s volunteered for LOCOG ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, participated in the VSU student-led project Citizenship & Crime, helped a client at Action Disability Kensington & Chelsea go Christmas shopping and co-led the VSU student-led project Teddy Bear Clinic.
“I think volunteering has helped me to take a less myopic view of things, to see the beauty in others and not to compare myself with others. The optimism of others who are less fortunate than me reminds me to be humble, happy, contented and appreciative of my loved ones.”
Vanessa is a second year English Literature student here at UCL. Vanessa volunteers weekly at the Ragged School Museum as an Education Assistant.
“I would definitely recommend volunteering at the Ragged School Museum. It’s amazing to feel that you’ve potentially inspired a class of children to take more of an interest in the Victorian era and to work in a smaller, very friendly museum; every session is a huge amount of fun and, in addition, takes my mind off my course for a few hours a week!”