Welcome to the first post of the new series on the Volunteer Centre blog. With Staff Spotlight we hope to showcase the breadth of volunteering opportunities students can get involved with, and to show how you can balance volunteering with full-time work by sharing the experiences from the staff here at LSE Careers. To kick the series off, we have the Volunteer Centre Coordinator, Aisha Rimi, talking about her volunteering journey, how she ended up in her role and her advice on getting started with volunteering.

I am Aisha Rimi and I am the Volunteer Centre Coordinator here at the LSE Volunteer Centre. My main responsibilities include organising and leading on the one-off volunteering opportunities, managing the Volunteer Centre’s social media channels and other communications and marketing, as well as getting into contact with new organisations to advertise their roles to LSE students.

I’ve been in this role since January and previously I was working at the volunteering service at Queen Mary Students’ Union. I really enjoy seeing students get involved in volunteering – it’s really admirable to see them give up their time to give back to the community to others who may be less fortunate. My role at QMSU involved also supporting the development of RAG and Student Media, with all the students that were involved with them, volunteering their time. So when the opportunity came up here at LSE to take on all that I had learnt at QMSU and to go that one step further in supporting student volunteers, I just had to apply.

I always volunteered in some capacity throughout my time at University. I held an elected position on the Student Council, was on a Society Committee as well as volunteered at a charity in Tower Hamlets called Creative Support, which supports vulnerable adults to live as independently as possible. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering myself as it’s allowed me to meet new people, develop connections, build my professional skills, and grow in my own personal development, as well as have fun all at the same time.

During my final year at University, I volunteered once a week for about 4 hours and this was a great way to get away from studies and focus on something else for a little while. It was refreshing to get out of my flat and to interact with other members of the community that otherwise I would never have met. It was definitely thanks to this role that I got my first job after University at QMSU working in the volunteering service, and my role here at LSE. I was able to use the transferable skills I had gained in all my voluntary and paid work experiences to really hone in on developing the service we offer to students and providing some really great volunteering opportunities to them.

One of my favourite parts of my role is interacting with students who have a desire to make a difference and give back, and supporting them in enhancing their volunteering experiences and different skills. My biggest advice with volunteering is to just start and get stuck in. You don’t have to give up a day a week, even just a few hours once every other week is enough. And you don’t have to do something so big either. You can make a card for a seriously ill child at home with Post Pals. Or you can transcribe part of a soldier’s diary from the First World War for historical archives. You can do do this all in the comfort of your own home. Choose a cause that is close to your heart, as you are more likely to commit to volunteering if you truly care about the work of the organisation you are volunteering with. Most important of all, make sure to enjoy yourself and to have as much fun as possible and to make the most of the experiences on offer to you if you are volunteering with an external organisation.

Did Aisha inspire you to volunteer? 

If Aisha inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with Gabriella Monasso, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. And why not follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.