The LSE Volunteer Centre is delighted to have received 30 brilliant nominations for the LSE Volunteer of the Year award. We are now tasked with the exciting challenge of selecting a winner, who will be announced at our the celebratory ceremony on 28 April.
A huge congratulations to all who have been nominated – it’s a fantastic achievement in itself! You can read about last year’s winner Jacqueline Ting and if you’d like to get involved in volunteering come and see us (we’re open all summer) or have a look at opportunities on CareerHub.
Name: Alex Burgess
Nominated by: Alex Louch
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSESU Welcome Team Volunteer/Halls Committee President for LSESU
Alex demonstrated an outstanding commitment to supporting fellow students throughout this academic year, and in particular during Freshers’ Week 2016. Alex was successful in applying to be a ‘Senior LSESU Welcome Team Volunteer’ and as such committed to leading a team of 30 volunteers who dedicated 100 hours of time to help students settle in during the week 1. Alex was quick to help with tasks required and demonstrated a positive attitude throughout. In addition, Alex stood out from other volunteers, demonstrating an exemplary attitude and levels of commitment. One evening he was supporting students to get home until 2:30am, and 9am sharp the next day he was leading a tour of London, going above and beyond expectations, and adapting his tour of student spaces in London to suit the postgraduate audience. The other volunteers in the team all looked up to Alex as a leader, and he inspired the brilliant attitude that permeated the team. I know Alex has continued this as a halls rep.
Name: Alexander Spalding
Nominated by: Atoosa Khatiri
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Research and Communications Volunteer at the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association
Alexander was an ACAA volunteer for a few months but added lasting value to the organisation’s development. His work included drafting and implementing a drop-in procedure for our service users, and a Volunteer Handbook to guide other volunteers through the process and deliver the best possible service to refugees in need. Alexander led a small team of volunteers in researching NGOs to work with and identifying potential partners. Alexander was also involved with managing several small fundraising events for ACAA including a bake sale at LSE student accommodation halls. Overall he showed commitment and initiative throughout his internship.
Name: Amal Shaikh
Nominated by: Naoimi Alexander-Naidoo
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Sustainable Projects Fund volunteer for LSE Estates Division
Amal has played a pivotal role in not only launching the Sustainable Futures Society and Sustainable Projects Fund, but also in ensuring its continued maintenance and progression over an extended period of time. She has performed various vital functions for the fund including organising briefing sessions to encourage and support people to apply, arranging the judging committee, writing a report on the final decisions and delivering the verdict to applicants. The LSE Sustainability Team are extremely grateful for her diligence and hard work in making the scheme such a success.
Name: Anna Vindics
Nominated by: David Coles
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Tourism research and learning trips planning for KickStart Ghana
Anna has been volunteering for KickStart Ghana for over a year now. Her work has focused on researching the tourism sector so that KickStart Ghana can undertake new fundraising ventures. She has also been helping design our development learning trips for students to undertake in Ghana along with researching funding opportunities the charity can apply for. In August 2015 she visited Ghana to gain a better understanding of the work we do and find out more about the charity. Anna has brought professionalism and dedication to her volunteering at KickStart Ghana and she has been a pleasure to work with. Her research and hard work has created many opportunities for the charity in the coming years.
Name: Ashish Patel
Nominated by: Lucy Goodwill
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Academic Support Tutor at IntoUniversity
Ashish has been volunteering at our education centre in East Ham since 2014 and in this time he has gone above and beyond to support our young people. As well as being consistently committed and reliable, first as an intern and now as an Academic Support Tutor, he has also taken the initiative to set up his own maths club (Marvellous Maths) for students who struggle with numeracy. He has taken responsibility for planning and creating resources, as well as leading each session. He is an excellent teacher, explaining concepts clearly and thinking of alternative methods of explanation if students are struggling to understand. Ashish also has an excellent rapport with the students, getting to know them individually and taking a personal interest in their achievements. Ashish has clearly inspired confidence in the students who attend his club – a few of them were nervous about attending at first but now they recognise its merits and attend every week. Their maths skills have visibly improved since Ashish began working with them.
Ashish has now volunteered well over 200 hours of his time supporting our students and he has been a huge asset to our staff, students and the wider community in his time with us. It is clear that he really cares about the welfare and achievement of each and every student, and is keen to engage beyond the classroom, helping out with family events and providing suggestions for future community engagement. We would love for Ashish’s significant contributions to our work to be recognised by this award.
Name: Chloe Organ
Nominated by: Lydia Halls
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSE Off Campus Support Scheme volunteer
Chloe was nominated to receive special recognition for her efforts as a mentor from three of her mentees. Their feedback included: “I would strongly recommend Chloe for special mention as she has been an especially great mentor who has always been happy to help. She has regularly made an effort to reach out and is always available to meet up. I couldn’t have wished for a better mentor who has really helped me settle into Uni life.” “Chloe has been an amazing mentor. […] It was very reassuring to know that there was someone friendly to whom I could direct questions and small problems – Chloe was always prompt in responding to my queries and giving me great advice. She’s always made it clear that I can contact her at anytime for help. I’m really grateful to her.” “Chloe was great, she did answer all my questions about life at LSE. She was very proactive and engaging – I really liked her.”
Name: Chris Fairley
Nominated by: Lily Chamberlain
Chris has put his absolute all into volunteering this year. He had a critical role in all four of LSESU Amnesty International’s campaign weeks, all the while running the new Animal Rights Society and all of its incredible campaigns and events. He also founded and ran the Youth Stop Aids contingent of the Amnesty Society, collaborating with the charity and societies at UCL and King’s to bring the YSA speaker tour – its most successful ever – to London and he had a critical role in organising other acts of protest for the charity. Not only has he arranged for YSA to have a float at the London Pride march this summer, but Chris has also made an enormous contribution to his Students’ Union: he organised the first student-run Volunteering week event including four panel events and one cause fair attended by a dozen societies. Chris did this completely on his own initiative, offering LSE students a great opportunity to get into volunteering. He so deserves this award.
Name: Chris McNulty
Nominated by: Lucy Goodwill
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Academic Support Tutor for IntoUniversity
Chris has volunteered at our Haringey North centre for the past academic year as an Academic Support Tutor with our Year 3 and 4 students. Chris is an engaging, patient and caring volunteer and has brought boundless energy and enthusiasm to his role. Chris confidently leads activities for groups of students on a weekly basis and through his volunteering has supported our young people with developing confidence in their numeracy and literacy skills. In addition to supporting them academically, Chris has also been fantastic at applying positive behaviour management techniques, enabling students to focus better during the sessions and learn more effectively. Chris is a positive role model for all of the young people he has supported and we are delighted to have him on the team.
Name: Daniel Chen
Nominated by: Susannah Willcox
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Advocacy and Support Volunteer at Detention Action
Daniel has volunteered with us at Detention Action for one day a week since October 2015. The Advocacy and Support role involves providing emotional and practical support to immigration detainees over the telephone from Detention Action’s London office. Daniel has been a quiet but committed presence in our office for the past five months. Despite not having experience in this field previously, he’s picked things up quickly and shows initiative in thinking of new ways to support clients. His calm, unflappable manner makes him an ideal person to support clients who are going through a very distressing, difficult time. Daniel’s language skills have also enabled us to support clients that we wouldn’t normally be able to reach out to.
Name: David Afikuyomi
Nominated by: Alex Louch
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Mentor at IntoUniversity
David is a Mentor in our Brixton centre and is well known by all for his enthusiasm and friendliness, brightening up the centre whenever he’s there. David clearly cares a great deal about his mentee and he always works hard to ensure that every session is worthwhile and high quality, pushing his mentee out of his comfort zone and encouraging him to progress. He is even teaching him how to code. David is really reliable and excellent at communicating with both his mentee and the centre team. He also makes a real effort to get to know other mentoring pairs. David puts so much time into his role and it has really paid off. As a result of mentoring, David’s mentee has massively improved his confidence and it is clear that David has had a huge positive impact on this young person.
Name: Dumisani Gwakuba
Nominated by: Debra Ogden
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSE Peer Supporter
Dumisani is a Peer Supporter at Bankside House. Peer supporters are trained in listening, questioning and responding skills, in order to support their fellow students in halls of residence and on campus. They are often the unsung heroes of student support by the very nature of their work. They are integrated into the residential community and provide support and advice to residents on a peer-to-peer level that is not always visible to staff and other students. Not only do Peer Supporters commit to a comprehensive training programme, they also attend fortnightly debriefing sessions, in addition to their ongoing contribution to the School community. This year, Dumisani has been really proactive in supporting residents at Bankside: presenting to groups of residents on moving in day; raising the profile of the Peer Support Scheme to residents; encouraging others to become Peer Supporters and taking the initiative to organise events that support the welfare of our residents. Whilst our other Peer Supporters have done a great job, Dumisani’s enthusiasm and initiative has stood out this year. For this reason I am making the above nomination; he is an asset to the LSE community.
Name: Fareen Mohmood
Nominated by: Alex Louch
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSESU Welcome Team volunteer.
During Freshers’ Week 2015 Fareen was an outstanding member of the LSESU Welcome Team, helping new students to settle in at LSE. In a team of 30 volunteers, where the job role entails meeting new people every day, it is often the most extroverted students who gain the plaudits for hard work. Fareen demonstrated a different approach. Whenever someone was tired or needed a hand with something, it was Fareen that was there, supporting both volunteers and students alike. No job was too difficult or too mundane, Fareen appreciated the importance of getting on with the activities, and helping others to do so. I think her supportiveness, sitting with new students who were homesick or helping people who are living at home to settle in was outstanding, and it would be very fitting for her to win the award.
Name: Flavy Sen Sharma
Nominated by: Anant Jani
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Project volunteer for Utilising India’s Demographic Dividend at Asha for Education
Flavy has gone above and beyond the call of duty for this project. She has taken the lead on defining the scope of the project and has helped to organise the other volunteers in our charity, Asha for Education, to define roles and responsibilities and help us work towards drafting a report that we will use to help us improve how our projects in India function. The outputs will ultimately help us improve the ability of the youth supported by our projects to gain employment and support themselves.
Name: Florian Trouvain
Nominated by: Rachael Gledhill
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Lunch Club Group Volunteer at Pembroke House
Florian has been a terrific addition to our lunch club volunteer group this year. He’s a warm, welcoming presence, always happy to help, happily setting up tables, serving food, and even calling bingo (for quite a raucous bunch!) His kindness and presence each week has been appreciated by the staff, volunteers and, most importantly, attendees at our lunch club. We are also incredibly grateful to Florian for volunteering at our Master’s Reception in December, which is an annual event put on by Pembroke House, aimed at recruiting new donors and supporters. He is good natured, enthusiastic, constantly looking to be helpful and generally a joy to be around.
Name: Geetesh Abbott
Nominated by: Tobias Breuer
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Teach For India Campaign Leader
Geetesh has acted as an exemplary representative recruiting new leaders for our fellowship programme across the LSE and greater London higher education landscape. He is directly responsible for providing over 100 students with new teachers in under-resourced classrooms across India. We would like to thank him for all that he has done and recommend that he be awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for his tireless and committed efforts.
Name: Hsiang-Yun Lai (Shelly)
Nominated by: Stephan Jermendy
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Oceans Intelligence Gathering Internship at the Environmental Justice Foundation
Shelly volunteered at EJF as a part-time intern from October – December 2015. During her internship, she conducted research on Chinese fishing legislation and helped produce several reports on Taiwanese fisheries, especially in market and supply chain research. She also translated vessel activity and identity notifications from English into Mandarin for fishing vessel operations in West Africa. Shelly excelled at her role, and she was always committed to the work that she was undertaking. She was precise and accurate in the reports and translations she produced, keeping to a consistently high attention to detail. These reports have directly contributed to helping the relevant authorities hold illegal fishing vessels accountable. Shelly is a very motivated individual, showing great passion and interest in her work. During her time at EJF she was a valuable member of the team and was very keen to contribute to any tasks whenever possible, making her a prime nominee for this award.
Name: Jaime Streete
Nominated by: Alex Louch
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSESU Welcome Team
During Freshers’ Week 2015 Jaime was an outstanding member of the LSESU Welcome Team, helping new students to settle in at LSE. Jaime was an exemplary student volunteer throughout the Freshers’ Week period. She was always punctual and enthusiastic for her shifts and she was a reliable member of the team for any task. Jaime also demonstrated exemplary leadership when she was in charge of the Ice Skating Event for new students organised during Freshers’ Week. When a student fell and broke her ankle, Jaime and another volunteer accompanied her to hospital. This involved finished her volunteering time slot four hours after it was supposed to and missing the last train of the day! Jaime never made a fuss, as she valued the need to support a new student a long way from home.
Name: Jans Mynbayeva
Nominated by: Olivia Darby
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Research Internship at the Wonder Foundation
Jans has interned two days a week with WONDER, doing research on the situation for women, girls, NGOs and education in Kazakhstan, where we have a partner organisation. Throughout this time she has been committed and diligent, supremely methodical and effective. Thanks to her work and the systems that she has put in place we are now hoping to undertake similar research for all of the other countries where we have partners, using her work as a template. She has shown initiative, a great desire to learn and, as a team, we have learnt from her. She has also visited the partner in Kazakhstan, attending training there and collecting testimonies and information from the students. We would be delighted if Jans’ work was recognised by LSE.
Name: Jessica Middleby-Clements
Nominated by: Sarah Wallbank
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSE Cognoscere Consulting Group for Yes Futures
Jess was assigned to our charity (Yes Futures) as part of the LSE Cognoscere Consulting Group. Along with six other students, Jess worked on a project for Yes Futures over the period of 3-4 months. We strongly believe that Jess deserves the Volunteer of the Year award because of her commitment, excellent work and ongoing enthusiasm for the project. Jess’ dedication was evident from the outset. She took a clear leadership role in the group and gave up a substantial amount of time in order to get to know the charity and the project in depth. She showed great skills in bringing the group together, collating all ideas and leading meetings. In addition, she contributed significant input to the project, using her knowledge from her LSE course and her previous professional experience. The final presentation of the project was to our Trustee Board, who were all extremely impressed with Jess’ delivery, passion for, and knowledge of Yes Futures. Jess fully deserves this award.
Name: Lily Chamberlain
Nominated by: Chris Fairly
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Animal Rights campaigns, Amnesty International’s Refugee Week, LGBT+ Rights Week, Mass Surveillance Week and Human Rights Act Week
Lily is a passionate and tireless volunteer who has headed up all of Amnesty’s campaigns at LSE this year, managing stalls, fundraisers and panels and raising hundreds of pounds for various charities. She has also been instrumental in publicising and operating several animal rights campaigns throughout the year, giving up what must add up to weeks in order to help a small, niche society grow into a strong voice for environmentalism and cruelty-free living across the University of London. Lily is committed, caring and creative and her leadership skills are an inspiration to everyone involved promoting the rights of any and all living things at LSE.
Name: Lois Mensah-Afoakwah
Nominated by: Alex Louch
Opportunity the student has been involved in: LSESU Welcome Team
Lois was at the heart and soul of the team of volunteers selected to support new students at LSE. You could 100% guarantee Lois would be the one with her smile on her face, getting support for the team. In the first year running any volunteering projects, students that demonstrate infectious enthusiasm are critical, and Lois was certainly one of those. Lois also demonstrated exemplary leadership when she was jointly in charge of the Ice Skating Event for new students organised during Freshers’ Week. When a student fell and broke her ankle, Lois and another volunteer accompanied her to hospital. This involved finished her volunteering time slot four hours after it was supposed to and missing the last train of the day!
Name: Marc Claude
Nominated by: David Coles (LSE Volunteer Centre)
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Cramond beach clean-up
Marc is a particularly passionate volunteer and this year he went all the way from London to Scotland to get involved in the Cramond beach clean-up. Along with 75 other volunteers Marc collected and surveyed marine litter all along the seashore. At the end of the clean-up, they had collected 19 bags of rubbish weighing 117.5 kg (including plastic, rubber, cloth, paper, wood, metal and glass). Marc has since blogged about his experiences and been involved in a promotional video on campus talking about why he volunteers. His hard work has been an inspiration to many other students.
Name: Muhummed Cassidy
Nominated by: Jessica Penney
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Aspire Sports Quiz Dinner June 2015
Muhummed was really helpful at last year’s Aspire Sports Quiz Dinner in the moat at The Tower of London. He was a last minute call up and dropped everything to come and help us out at this charity event which supports those living with spinal cord injury. He was willing to join the team and do what was required. Whilst the event is really exciting for the guests the job the volunteers do isn’t the most glamorous in the world; they look after four tables of guests and make sure they are happy, they also collect donations and deliver wines etc. Muhummed was really helpful and keen to support our work – good job and thank you!
Name: Prerna Bakshi
Nominated by: Rosie Allen-Jones
Opportunity the student has been involved in: The Spires Gardening Project
Prerna has helped set up our gardening project, the first of its kind at Spires. We have never before run an entirely volunteer-led project nor a project specifically to improve and maintain the garden. Alongside the work Prerna has set up in our own garden we have also now secured a patch at the local community garden meaning the project is expanding enabling us to involve more volunteers and service users. Despite her lack of experience or knowledge of gardening Prerna has worked hard to set up this very successful project. The garden at Spires and the project is self is expanding and evolving all the time and benefiting the charity in a number of ways. Not only is Prerna enabling our service users to experience the therapeutic effects of gardening but she is now coordinating a project that will yield fresh home-grown ingredients to feed over one hundred vulnerable adults a week.
Name: Robyn Gordon
Nominated by: Emily Sinclair
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Trek Morocco 2016, Challenge Leader – Action Against Hunger
Bobbie has excelled in the role of Challenge Leader for the Morocco Trek in aid of Action Against Hunger, leading the team in their fundraising efforts by organising regular team meetings and group fundraising events, and providing outstanding support. She played a vital role in the second round of recruitment for the Morocco Trek earlier this year with her determination and enthusiasm throughout promotion helping to double the team size! Over the past few months she’s organised countless fundraising events to help her and the rest of the group reach their targets, ranging from Krispy Kreme sales – raising a fantastic £200 – to a pub quiz and raffle, with prizes of a meal for two at the Michelin star restaurant Cinnamon Soho and a 45 minute flight in a private plane to name but a few! Her hard work has brought the team to a current total of £4,000.84 and to top it off she is also the highest personal fundraiser in the team with an amazing £836.31 raised to date!
Name: Susana Rubinstein
Nominated by: Laura Spilsbury
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Lively Minds Volunteer
Susana has been a fantastic volunteer for Lively Minds helping to raise vital funds and awareness of our work, and by supporting our beneficiaries directly. In March 2016 Susana travelled to Uganda to support our local staff to deliver quality early childhood education to rural deprived communities. Working in an often challenging environment Susana helped to train and empower vulnerable and marginalised Mothers to set up and run educational Play Schemes for all the young children in their community. She also delivered training workshops to the women to further upskill them in health and hygiene topics, and financial management. Susana has also supported Lively Minds with its communication channels: writing blog pieces, sourcing case studies and photographs of beneficiaries. This has been tremendous help for our fundraising appeals. Finally, Susana has also helped to fundraise vital funds for our projects, and raised awareness of our work among her peers.
Name: Sylvie Chen
Nominated by: Julia Lawson-Johns
As Vice President of RAG, I see many individuals raise money for charity as a member of a society. Sylvie’s contribution to student volunteering differs, however. Without prompting, or the support of a student organisation, she has out of here own initiative contacted a food shelter in central London and gives up every Sunday afternoon to help prepare and serve meals for homeless people. Furthermore, RAG frequently holds bucket collections at London’s tube stations on behalf of charities. Sylvie is the only non-RAG committee member to consistently give up her time to do this. Her enthusiasm for the task is demonstrated by the amount she collects, which surpasses other volunteers. She received special thanks from Farm Africa for her excellent work. Beyond these activities, I’ve witnessed Sylvie help friends, strangers in need and street homeless people and I strongly believe Sylvie’s selfless and compassionate personality makes her deserving of this award.
Name: Tatiana Cary
Nominated by: Clarice Ramalho
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Venture Volunteer at Ashoka UK
Since January, Tatiana has been helping the Venture team at Ashoka UK in the search and selection process of new entrepreneurs. Since the very first day, she was fully integrated with our team, really willing to contribute in all necessary tasks and confident to take on challenging tasks. She has demonstrated an incredible dedication to our team goals, and a great ability to combine her volunteer time at Ashoka (which amounts to sometimes more than 20 hours a week) with her studies at LSE. Day after day, Tatiana keeps bringing to Ashoka all her knowledge and her willingness to grow and learn. Not only is she achieving great results, but she’s also always friendly with her colleagues, always smiling and willing to help no matter the kind of task that we need help with. We could not be happier about having taken her on board, she embodies everything that an excellent volunteer should have and we can’t think of somebody who deserves the award more!
Name: Wan Jin Cheah
Nominated by: Caroline Cheetham
Opportunity the student has been involved in: ReachOut Club Volunteer Mentor
Wan Jin has shown great dedication to both the project and her mentee, keeping her project leader updated with any concerns and related information. She was extremely helpful with the child she was working with, knowing that she struggled with maths and finding different ways to help her and staying behind at the end of the session to ensure that she fully understood what they had been working on. When any behaviour issues arose, Wan Jin was the first to pick upon it, standing in to stop it and helping her mentee to work on strategies to calm down. She had excellent attendance on the project, arriving promptly and always giving 100%. We would love to have her on board again on our projects next year!
Name: Zoe Lui
Nominated by: Sophie Walker
Opportunity the student has been involved in: Intake intern at the Centre for Criminal Appeals
The Centre for Criminal Appeals is a very small charity focusing on miscarriage of justice cases, and as such, having such a dedicated and capable volunteer really makes a huge difference to our work. Zoe has been an incredible volunteer from day 1 – really hitting the ground running. The role involves a very wide range of tasks, from basic admin, through to complex case summaries and analysis. Zoe is as thorough and committed to the less glamorous aspects of the role as she is to the more exciting parts, and everything she does is to the absolute highest standard. Since she began her role, we have expanded the range of work she is involved in as she very quickly demonstrated she was capable of further responsibilities. In addition to this, she is an absolute pleasure to work with. She has a wonderfully positive attitude and this is a particularly important asset in such a small work force. It is with great pleasure that I nominate her for the LSE Volunteer of the Year Award.
We look forward to seeing all the nominees and everyone who nominated on the 28 April!