In a world where people are so focused on their own reality there is almost no space for helping those who surround you. What is interesting on donating yourself is that you might be the one gaining the most from this experience. That is the message what the Student Volunteering Week tries to spread every year in the United Kingdom.
The SVW starts on the 20th of February and ends on the 26th. This year’s version aims to involve students to develop their skills highlighting participation, collaboration and celebration. All the volunteers involved will have the chance to form social action partnerships in local communities around the UK. The project is running for the 16th year and it has been trying to reach as many universities as possible that could provide different activities of volunteering for their students.
Gustavo Rameh, 19, studies Sustainable Energy Engineering at Queen Mary University of London and participates on volunteering schemes since 2015. He confesses that the Student Unions should encourage students to do it more often and not only during a week in the whole year. “I think the importance of volunteering should be highlighted more often at Universities and in the internet. I just gave it a try on serving soup to the homeless and I ended up feeling fulfilled and grateful for this opportunity of learning. Everyone should try to help others,” he says.
Different campaigns are happening around the UK. From collecting clothes, toiletries and treats to give the homeless to Information Sessions about a variety of topics and Film Screening aimed to raise funds for local communities.
Student volunteering in the UK has a long history with the need of formal citizenship education in Colleges and Universities. For this reason, students formed a range of volunteering groups to serve local communities and learn of social issues. The motivation behind student volunteering is the leadership that comes from students themselves. Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a boom of volunteering on local communities being organised by local communities action groups. They mainly focused on housing and homelessness, mental health and prisons.