BU students find out more about volunteering

Posted on Thursday, October 18 2012

Students at Bournemouth University found out more about the volunteering opportunities available to them at a special fair on Tuesday.

The Volunteer Fair, organised by BU’s students’ union (SUBU), brought together students and charities who need their help.

These ranged from the National Trust to the Alzheimer’s Society and local charities like Nightstop Dorset, which supports young homeless people.

Among the charities which had stands at the Volunteer Fair, which took place in Kimmeridge House, was head and neck cancer support group About Face.

The Poole-based charity supports people from across the south and has been working with student volunteers from BU for the last three years.

Executive director of the charity, Ian Catley, said that students had helped out with events and large public surveys, and had made a big difference.

“Students were very involved in our asking over 2,100 people whether they had been to the dentist in the last 12 months, and analysing the statistics,” he said.

“We do have a volunteer group but it is so much more interesting to have a cross-section of age groups and for young men and women – which students usually are – to be involved in that. It also helps to get the message across to people of different age groups.”

He added that he, and the venues the charity had worked at, had been impressed with the hard work and attitude of the student volunteers.

“The courtesy that was shown by many of the students was remarked upon by a number of the venues,” he said

“When we’ve done mouth cancer awareness events, the venues been writing to us and emailing us and saying the students from Bournemouth University were tremendous on this particular project, and we found the same.”

Among the student volunteers urging others to get involved at the fair was second year law student Lauren Bertie.

She started volunteering at secondary school, and was pleased to be able to continue when she got to university.

“You gain a lot,” she said. “You meet a lot of people and you get to participate in many different events so it’s a very good thing to do.

“It shows that you’ve gone that extra mile to put a little bit more effort in in your spare time, and you’re a little bit more than just the average student.”

Second year accounting and finance student Mark Matthews was one of the students looking at volunteering opportunities available at the fair.

He said he wanted to get more involved with the community.

“I’m hoping to help more, do more things and just get a bit more active and meet new people really.

“I want to give something back while I still can and while I’ve got the free time to do it and also gain experience of different people, different cultures and just see people’s lives from different points of view.”

Lexi Browning, volunteer coordinator for SUBU, said the volunteer fair had been really successful, and that volunteering activities organised by the students’ union were already fully booked.

She added that students made ideal volunteers because they had lots of “spare time, energy, enthusiasm and ideas” and that students themselves could get a lot out of the experience.

“If you’re a first year, it’s a really good way of meeting new people and it’s a fantastic way of getting something on your CV, making you look a little bit different from the other students when you leave university.”

To find out more about the volunteering opportunities available at Bournemouth University visit ‘thehub’ website or visit SUBU’s offices (above Dylan’s Bar) between 9am and 5pm.