The LSE Volunteer Centre has received over 32 nominations for the LSE Volunteer of the Year Award 2020! Students have been nominated by charities, fellow LSE students and LSE members of staff. We’re incredibly proud to be home to so many committed, enthusiastic and passionate student volunteers. The award winners will be announce out our online LSE Volunteer Awards on Tuesday 27 October, and we’ll be tasked with the difficult decision of choosing them.
We had so many nominations, there’s two blogs of them! Check out the second one here.
Name: Alex Lashley
Course: BSc International Relations, 2021
Nominated by: Milena Krasny and Ombeline Lemarchal
Volunteering role: Volunteering on the ground and remotely for Care4Calais and Bright Futures UK
Alex has committed to giving his time and energy to causes close to his heart. He does so not only during term-time but also over the holidays. Currently he is involved with two charities: Care4Calais and Bright Futures UK. Over the summer, Alex volunteered with Care4Calais in Calais, delivering emergency aid to and supporting refugees from conflict-torn places such as Eritrea and Kurdistan. Back in London, he continues supporting the organisation by working on their social media to raise awareness and increase the charity’s reach. In addition, he is already planning on heading back to Calais to help on the ground this December. Education is another cause Alex is passionate about. He is currently a volunteer for Bright Futures UK, a UK charity supporting young people who have been forced to take time out of education due to medical circumstances. In all that he does, Alex has shown extraordinary compassion and personal dedication.
Name: Aminah Nihal
Course: BSc in International Relations, 2021
Nominated by: LSE Volunteer centre
Volunteering role: Project leader and co-founder of GIVE ISoc and the Women’s Interfaith Group
Aminah has been a fantastic volunteer and make a huge contribution to the LSE community over the past 18 months. She has helped drive iSoc to help many more people through their GIVE programme and inspired so many other students to volunteer through the Women’s Interfaith Group. Setting up and running this group, with Emily Otvos, has led to many women being involved, from all faiths and none. Part of the core tenet of the group has been charity and through partnering with LSESU FoodCycle they have been able to help serve food to those affected by homelessness in central London. Aminah has also organised events with the Volunteer Centre and shared her story through the blog, inspiring others to start volunteering too. She has been a pleasure to work with over the past year.
Name: Anais Fiault
Course: MSc in International Relations, 2020
Nominated by: Olivia Darby, The Wonder Foundation
Volunteering role: Francophone Africa Research Internship Volunteer
Anais has worked hard to share information between WONDER’s partners and the young leaders they are seeking to train. She has provided research and analysis in data-poor circumstances to develop our understanding of the current situations and impact of Corona on young women across SS Africa, with a focus on DR Congo, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire. Her work has enabled us to develop information-sharing between Nigerian and Ivorian NGOs to address unsafe migration and trafficking, and to take forward our partnership work to develop the first CPD programme for nurses in DRC.
Course: BSc International Relations and History, 2022
Nominated by: Simran Panchal
Volunteering role: Multiple roles with Youth Politics UK, iWill and Parkinson’s UK
Daniel volunteers by leading the non-profit organisation that he founded, YouthPolitics UK, as its Chief Executive. The organisation is dedicated to encouraging political engagement among young people and provides free, non-partisan campaigning sessions to help youth in deprived areas develop the skills to enact positive change. He has led the organisation to reach over 14,000 young people by embarking on grassroots initiatives like talks in schools, workshops and collaborations with youth centres. YouthPolitics has expanded into London and Edinburgh and Daniel now leads a team of around 45 young volunteers. He is also a senior volunteer with for the HRH #iWill campaign which works to promote youth social action. He represents the campaign at events works with senior government officials to expand opportunities for young people. Daniel also raised £300 this year for Parkinson’s UK after his grandfather’s death, bringing the total he has raised for the charity to nearly £4000.
Name: Divya Arjan
Course: BSc in Accounting and Finance, 2021
Nominated by: Patricia Mbangi from CoachBright
Volunteering role: Coaching with CoachBright
Divya has worked incredibly hard jumping in and coaching multiple pupils during Covid including our Camden catch up programme where a parent was so pleased they asked her to continue coaching their child. She has planned multiple sessions, co delivered a session on how to session plan effectively and build pupil relationships. She has been an integral part of the CoachBright community stepping up at a time when most pupils needed the 1-1 support the most. Here is some feedback from Madina, a pupil she coached this summer: “You were an amazing help hopefully you will tutor or me again (I’ve got my dad to contact Trish and hopefully you will tutor me again) I’ve had other tutors before but you acc helped me”
Name: Emily Otvos
Course: BSc in International Relations and History, 2020
Nominated by: Angharad Thain from the LSE Faith Centre
Volunteering role: Interfaith Ambassador
Emily has been one of the Faith Centre’s most committed and engaged students over the last two years. She was an enthusiastic and committed Interfaith Ambassador, Interfaith Encounter: Israel and Palestine participant and Hackathon participant. This year, she had the vision and the drive to create a new student society, LSE Women’s Interfaith Group for women at LSE across all faiths and none to build friendships across difference through social action activities. The group met fortnightly, collaborating with FoodCycle to use food to make sandwiches for the homeless which could be distributed at the LSE Islamic Society’s Soup Kitchen on campus. They ran targetted collections for hygiene and toiletries, and used the meetings to discuss vital topics relevant to women of faith, including harassment against women, how to tackle religious based hate crime and improving LSE mental health provision. The project has now expanded to four other universities around the country. At this time of increasing division and polarisation across religions, initiatives like this show the possibility for faiths to come together and inspire change at the LSE on the most important issues of our time. I am nominating Emily in recognition of her contribution to the life of the Faith Centre, and of her courage and determination to set up this initiative, and to ensure it has gone from strength to strength this year.
Name: Filip Nowicki
Course: General Course, 2020
Nominated by: Olivia Rawnsley, IntoUniversity
Volunteering role: IntoUniversity Mentor
Filip has had a tremendous impact on his mentee this year. He’s really helped to build his mentee’s confidence through work on various social projects both before and during the closure period. Despite returning to Poland indefinitely at the start of lockdown, he was really keen to continue e-meeting either weekly or fortnightly throughout the summer (and now into the autumn term too alongside his Master’s!). Filip’s commitment to his mentee has been incredible and he has consistently prioritised the student’s needs through his flexibility and willingness to meet whenever possible. The pair overall has a superb pair. Filip has an individual is very flexible, and adapted well to working online and also with changeover of staff as well. His mentee would not be in the place they are in today without Filip’s commitment and positive energy this year.
Course: Master of Public Administration 2021
Nominated by: Olivia Darby, Wonder Foundation
Volunteering role: Internship with Wondering Fountation
Grace has brought brilliant research and analysis skills to WONDER, helping us to explore complex issues in data-poor situations. She has used her initiative to discover new ways of thinking about young women’s empowerment through youth work. Her work serves as a model for us to use in future. She has a knack for simplifying and sharing complex information, identifying and addressing data gaps and persevering when no information seems to exist!
Name: Jennifer Fernandez Owsianka
Course: LLB in Laws, 2020
Nominated by: LSE Volunteer Centre
Volunteering role: IntoUniversity, Toynbee Hall and the Volunteer Centre
For the past three years Jennifer has been an incredible volunteering, looking to get involved in every initiative possible. This year has been no exception where she has continued to volunteer for IntoUniversity, helping young people be the best they can be. Alongside this she has volunteered at the free legal clinic at Toynbee Hall helping so many people get the legal support that they deserve. Finally she has been a Student Volunteering Ambassador and has shared advice and inspiration at events on campus and through her brilliant writing on the Volunteer Centre blog. She always bring 100% enthusiasm to whatever she does and I’m incredibly proud to have worked with her since she’s been at LSE.
Name: Jhanvi Ravish
Course: BSc in Management, 2022
Nominated by: Lucy Welch, Pembroke House
Volunteering role: Pembroke House Community Centre: Cafe Kitchen Team and Music Academy
Jhanvi supports Pembroke House in so many ways. Pre-COVID, she came weekly to clear up in our community café and took on any task – big or small -with a smile. Always cheerful, committed, hard-working and prepared to turn her hand to anything, she never complained even though the work was often tiring and uncomfortable. When we suggested she took a break she would reply, “This is a break!”. Straight after her kitchen shift, she helped in our music academy (PAM) which provides music tuition to disadvantaged children. As a flautist, Jhanvi helped improve contact time for the students. For example, she helped a struggling beginner in our wind ensemble to progress quickly to become the only flute in the main orchestra. As a result, the student has continued to progress through lockdown. After PAM sessions, Jhanvi helped pack away before finally heading home after 5+ hours of hard work. During lockdown, we paused activities but she kept in touch and is now supporting PAM zoom classes.
Name: Joel Tey
Course: BSc in Economics 2022
Nominated by: Olivia Rawnsley, IntoUniversity
Volunteering role: IntoUniversity Mentor
Trey and his mentee have met 21 times since January! This is a new IntoUniversity record for the amount of meetings taking place with in such a short period of time. This shows that Trey has been tremendously committed to supporting his mentee this year. He has continued to mentor his young person from Singapore over lockdown and this made a genuine difference to his mentee’s lockdown experience and it really lifted our student’s morale. He’s also really keen in building a relationship between IU centres and the environmental-based university society that he is part of at LSE, which means he will be working across other programmes at the Walworth centres and even other centres in the South of London. Trey is a huge asset to the Walworth centre at IntoUniversity and should be rewarded for his dedication.
Name: Kristin De Grouchy
Course: MSc in Psychology of Economic Life 2019
Nominated by: Simon Bennett, St Joseph’s Hospice
Volunteering role: Befriending role
Kristin volunteers with a Community Befriending project at St Joseph’s. Kristin is matched to a community member who had been very active but due to ill health had begun to struggle with life. It was difficult to find a match for him. When he met Kristin, he discovered a new lease of life. Largely due to Kristin’s attentiveness and her kindness, ability to listen. He speaks very highly of her. Kristin has also given a great deal of time to the Saturday Social Group for patients in the hospice. She changed the format, this has been life enhancing for patients. When the group moved online due to the pandemic, she single handily kept the engagement of the community members so they didn’t lose vital contact with the outside world. She takes the time and care to check in with them weekly and make sure they all attend, building their trust. She even did this when travelling in the US & Ireland. Truly, she deserves this award in my humble opinion.
If you would like to join us at the ceremony email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.