Back in April we hosted the LSE Volunteer Awards 2019, a lovely evening where we celebrated all of the amazing volunteering students have done over the academic year. The LSE Volunteer of the Year Award went to Annie Thomlinson and you can read her nomination here! Now that exams have finished, we thought we would catch her for a quick interview about her volunteering experience whilst she’s been studying BSc Social Anthropology at the LSE.
What were your volunteering roles?
“I was a volunteering ambassador at LSE and took part in a few one off volunteering opportunities. I was also social secretary of Pole Fitness Society, which involved setting up the poles each week before class as well as organising regular socials to include as many members of the society as possible.
I also volunteered with Coin Street Community Builders, in my first year I volunteered at the youth club and then in my second year I started off volunteering at a community choir as a choir buddy, supporting some of the choir members with disabilities. I then also started attending the weekly coffee mornings and volunteered at the Family Fun Day, a children’s activity day held on a Sunday. I also took part in the one off volunteering opportunity at the Young at Heart party which I would highly recommend as it is a really fun evening which they run every year and LSE has sent volunteers the last two years.
I have also fundraised and campaigned for Youth Stop AIDS, taking part in the Red run and helping organise a number of events to commemorate world aids week.”
What achievement are you most proud of through your volunteering?
“It was clearly an honour to receive the prestigious accolade of LSE volunteer of the Year, as it was very unexpected because I hadn’t realised quite how much volunteering I was doing. Often the acknowledgement you receive whilst volunteering is the subtle thank yous and smiles which you receive as you go about your business and that’s something I really like about volunteering but it was also nice to be acknowledged in one go. It made things which I do without much thought seem like an achievement.
I was also really happy that Pole Fitness received a commendation for the AU for All award. We put so much effort into making pole fitness as welcoming and inclusive as possible which is difficult when it is a sport shrouded in stereotypes. Therefore it was amazing to have this hard work acknowledged.”
How have you benefited from volunteering?
“Volunteering has helped me make some of my closest friends and generally makes my life a lot happier. The fact that you are giving your time for a cause that you care about creates an amazing positive energy. It doesn’t matter how bad my day is going, I can always count on a volunteering activity to turn it around.”
What would you say to other LSE students to encourage them to volunteer?
“Think about a cause that you care about and a way in which you can support that cause. Taking this approach to volunteering will ensure that the satisfaction and appreciation you gain from it will be such that you will barely realise you are volunteering at all – this is how I ended up doing so much in the first place!”
We’ve got more than 200+ ongoing opportunities on CareerHub so make sure you search them for further volunteering information. You can also book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager, if you have more questions. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.