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Shahzeb Khan

Sharmishtha Desai

February 10th, 2021

Student Volunteering Week: Part 2

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Shahzeb Khan

Sharmishtha Desai

February 10th, 2021

Student Volunteering Week: Part 2

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Student Volunteer Week has finally arrived and we hope you’ve been enjoying it as much as we have! To celebrate the week, we’ve decided to share yet another batch of interviews. Read what our volunteers have been up to this past year, learn what makes volunteering special for them and even find an exclusive interview with the President of LSESU EcoSoc!

SEWON HWANG (BSc International Relations, 2021)

What kind of volunteering have you been involved in during the past year?

I am involved in the Hands-Off Campaign, working to better LSE’s response to sexual assault. For instance, we have been pushing for the employment of an SME and the implementation of a mandatory consent training over the past term.

Could you describe one of the best moments in your volunteering experience?

Every committee meeting has been part of the best moments in my volunteering experience. Everyone in the campaign committee is very passionate about improving LSE’s response to sexual assault, and it gives me so much hope and energy.

Do you have any opportunities or ideas that you want people looking to volunteer to be aware of?

In terms of opportunities, we just launched a submissions page for the LSE #MeToo movement. The confessions page aims to provide a platform for victims of on-campus sexual violence to share their experiences and reclaim their autonomy. If you have experienced on-campus sexual violence and would like to be a part of the movement, you can go to @handsofflse on Instagram and submit your confession!

DIMITRA STRATOPOULOU (President of LSESU EcoSoc)

What are some key future EcoSoc events that volunteers should keep on their radar?

  • Vegan Baking Challenge
    • Provides our members with the opportunity to compete in the creation of vegan recipes. It is a fun and educational activity which shows our members that it is easy to adopt a healthy vegan diet.
  • Creation of Recycling Guides
    • An entertaining activity which gives volunteers the opportunity to learn about recycling, use their creativity, and help others get informed about how to improve their environmental footprint.
  • Reforestation
    • A great chance to have a practical experience, develop tree planting skills, meet new friends, and have a significant impact on the environment.

Why do you think it is important for individuals to participate in campaigns that promote sustainable practices?

It is generally important for individuals to volunteer and take part in campaigns regardless of what they promote. It could be about child wellbeing, the end of homelessness, women’s empowerment, or sustainability. Any such experience makes volunteers more aware about major global issues and how THEY can create change. The promotion of sustainable practices is of high significance because on the one hand it helps individuals understand the interdependence that exists between them and the environment, as well as the importance of its preservation and on the other visualise the impact of their actions on our planet.

How can EcoSoc help volunteers who are looking to get involved in environmental activism?

We seek to empower students to make the changes they want to see in the world by guiding them through the process of getting involved in environmental activism. We provide them with the contacts of NGOs they could reach out to find volunteering opportunities as well as introduce them to society members who already have significant experience on the matter. For instance, our buddy scheme aims to do exactly that, it allows us to build a safe space where we can have conversations with our members about environmental issues and find ways in which we can support them.

ED UNWIN (BSc International Relations, 2022)

What kind of volunteering have you been involved in during the past year?

Since around October I’ve been working as HR Project Officer for City Year UK (an education charity). For me it’s been a great way to learn professional skills, get to grips with the HR sector, whilst also doing some really rewarding work for a great charity. I actually found the position on LSE Career Hub, so it’s always worthwhile to be on the lookout for positions that’ll really suit you!

Could you describe one of the best moments in your volunteering experience?

I used to volunteer every weekend as a blind runner guide for Park Run. I ran almost every week with a Runner called James. James went from hardly running at all since losing his sight, to running every weekend. James invited me to be his guide runner for his first ever 10k race.  It also happened to be my first 10K too. I was so immensely proud to complete it with him and was a perfect way to celebrate a year of running with him.

If a student walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

It may sound really cheesy, but definitely believe in your ability to make change, no matter how small. Just by consistently turning up and putting in a little bit of your time, you can make a real difference to someone or some cause. You don’t have to be a human rights expert, or a workaholic. Just one or two hours a week and you can make change! That’s the best thing volunteering teaches you.

FAY PANTAZOPOULOU (MSc Media and Communications, 2021)

What was the most rewarding thing about the volunteering work that you did?

Each volunteering opportunity that I have had the chance to experience until today has been utterly rewarding in all different ways and for all different reasons.  The truth is that I cannot pick a specific moment, but if I had to, I would go back to my first volunteer jobs at my High-School’s annual fundraising charity events. I remember being at the Organisation Committee for the event and working literally the whole year for an event that would only last for a weekend. Nevertheless, that work would pay off when we would contact the chosen charity by the end of the event to announce that the event was successful and that we managed to reach our fundraising goal. Their reaction was truly rewarding.

Could you describe one of the best moments in your volunteering experience?

One of the best moments in my voluntary experience was when I got to work for some time with an NGO in Greece that aimed towards the inclusion of displaced persons in the Athens community with vocational training, education, skill exchange and employment opportunities . What I really liked about this experience was how direct and practical it was and how I got to meet all these amazing new people through our day-to-day interactions. From helping out to the self-organised student cafeteria to assisting students with their language classes. It was an experience that I will always remember!

If a student walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

That is a really nice question and it actually reminds me of an actual story that happened some months ago at the LSE library. I was wearing my ‘LSE Student Volunteering Ambassador’ hoodie that day, and a girl approached me to ask me about some available volunteering positions and seemed really excited about everything and very happy that she would get to become involved in all these exciting volunteer roles. I gave her my contact so we could discuss more about volunteering and received a message the next day to one of my social media profiles telling me how she lost my contact as her phone was stolen that same day so she had to search for me online again so I could still advise her on the available positions. At that point, the truth is I did have some advice but only admiration of how keen this girl was on becoming involved and helping out the community. Thus, if I had only one piece of advice for a student thinking of volunteering would be to stick to your feeling and your cause that comes from within, and always remember that success in volunteering comes even if just one person gets to be helped. Difference in the community comes in quality and then quantity follows.

FAYE MAHON (BA Social Anthropology, 2022)

What kind of volunteering have you been involved in during the past year?

Over the past year I’ve volunteered with Alzheimer’s society as a side by side volunteer, which involved training as a dementia friend. Currently I am also part of Creative Cycle, a social project under Enactus LSE, which mentors long term unemployed women in London to help them towards financial independence. I’m also currently a volunteering ambassador!

What was the most rewarding thing about the volunteering work that you did?

The most rewarding thing about all of my volunteering experiences has been to see the real impact that volunteering makes on people’s lives. Through Alzheimer’s society I was able to facilitate the daily activities of a dementia patient whilst also making a companion. Throughout the pandemic, my involvement with Creative Cycle has been a rewarding experience as it has allowed me to maintain connection to life outside of my flat whilst also meeting and working with some amazing women.

If a student walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

My best tip to someone looking to volunteer would be find a cause that you’re passionate about! There are many causes that you can volunteer for, ranging from homelessness to the elderly, animal advocacy to disaster relief. Finding something that you feel passionately about is likely to motivate you to continue volunteering through the challenges that you might face, and also make the experience fulfilling.

If this has inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities taking place in Lent Term organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. 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.

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About the author

Shahzeb Khan

Student Volunteering Ambassador 2020-21 BSc Acturarial Science (2022)

Sharmishtha Desai

Student Volunteering Ambassador 2020-21 BSc in Economics (2021)

Posted In: Charity | NGO | Type of organisation | Volunteer Centre

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