The LSE Volunteer Centre has received some fantastic nominations for the LSE Volunteer of the Year Award 2021! 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 Wednesday 5 May, and we’ll be tasked with the difficult decision of choosing them. If you’d like to join us, please register here!
Name: Alice Rigo-Saitta
Course: BSc in Sociology 2022
Voluntary Organisation: LSESU RAG
Nominated by: David Coles, LSE Volunteer Centre
Alice has thrown herself in to RAG in one of the most challenging years RAG has ever faced. Trying to fundraise and encourage other students to do the same whilst in a pandemic has been incredibly difficult.
However, through her hard work and dedication RAG has had another incredibly successful year, raising thousands of pounds for some fantastic charities. Additionally RAG has also looked to helped educate students on the issues that they are fundraising for and have also organised volunteering opportunities for their members.
Alice has also played an active role in the LSE Homelessness Project and shown others how they can make a difference through fundraising. She has done this whilst always having a positive and ‘can-do’ attitude and she deserves to be recognised for her fantastic achievements.
Name: Dowon Kim
Course: BSc International Relations and History (2022)
Voluntary Organisation: The WONDER Foundation and Student Support Services
Nominated by: Olivia Darby (The WONDER Foundation) and Karen O’Neill (LSE ARD)
Dowon has been volunteering at WONDER since July 2020. In her time with us she has been extremely dedicated and we have been very impressed with her professional growth over the last few months. Last month, she took the initiative to plan and deliver a workshop about storytelling and creating videos with impact for young women in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. The workshop was a great success and our local partners were very impressed with her work. She is now playing a key role in developing outputs for this European funded project.
Dowon Kim has been an Off Campus Support Scheme mentor during the 2020/21 academic year. She has provided support to new undergraduate students in her department, who are living off campus. Living off campus can be challenging, but this year has presented further challenges due to the pandemic, such as limited access to LSE campus and reduced ability to socialise and interact with peers. Dowon Kim has excelled in helping her mentee group settle into life at LSE. She has organised group mentee meetings at the start of term to facilitate early social networks amongst her mentee group. She has engaged her mentees through social media throughout the year, offering support and guidance when needed. She has also assisted in training sessions for new mentors. We are fortunate that she has agreed to continue as a mentor for a second year. As the Off Campus Support Scheme Coordinator it is heartening to see such exemplars of the volunteering spirit at LSE.
Eds voluntary work at City Year UK has provided a pathway for the charity to support more pupils and young adults. He has supported our expansion plans and created the organisation’s first mentor competency framework. Serving as a blueprint for the selection, management and training of over 150 volunteers – not least increasing the sophistication, fairness and transparency of selection methods. He has also supported the implementation of the Kickstart scheme, addressing youth unemployment.
When not at City Year or the LSE, Ed has managed to hold down a position as Outreach Director for the United Nations Society. He has also raised awareness on issues of equal access to legal representation with ‘Support Through Court’. More recently he published a recipe book on Amazon to raise money for Blue Dragon’s children’s foundation and human trafficking work – including a recipe from Minouche Shafik!
This year Ed’s voluntary work has undoubtedly improved society for the better.
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Faye this year as a Student Volunteering Ambassador and we are in awe of the work she has done through her volunteering. As co-head of Creative Start, a social project in Enactus LSE, Faye has been working with women who are experiencing long-term unemployment. We have no doubt that her work will have encouraged and assisted many successful female entrepreneurs in the programme.
From the start of the academic year, Faye has been determined to boost her confidence in public speaking and she has jumped at the opportunity to share her volunteering experience with her peers. She has also been keen to inspire others through multiple blogs and has been an ample example of how being an ambassador of volunteering is easy when you are already passionate about the cause.
Name: Jakob Franke
Course: BSc in Government and History, 2020 and MSc in Public Policy & Administration 2021
Voluntary Organisation: Women for Women International, St Mungo’s. RAG and German Society’s Christmas Charity Run; Jakob’s own fundraiser to climb and ski the summit of K2 (8,611m) in 24hours on his local Bavarian mountain
Nominated by: Michelle Soh (BSc in International Relations, 2023) and Alice Saitta (BSc in Sociology, 2022)
Jakob has been extremely proactive in both of the fundraisers, by approaching RAG with the idea to host a Christmas Run with the German Society and later to ski the K2 in 24 hours. His enthusiasm while fundraising and challenging himself has been inspiring and infectious. He has also donated generously to RAG’s partner charities. This year, he’s within the top 3 fundraisers as he individually raised £764 thus far.
In order to raise money for Women for Women International, Jakob and a friend climbed and skied 8,611m in 24h.
His work was also instrumental in the Big Christmas Campaign for St Mungo’s, where he participated by running a half-marathon at Christmas, and we raised over 7,000 pounds.
Despite not actually being in the RAG committee, Jakob has supported our fundraising on a crucial level, also involving and uniting the rest of the LSE community to fundraise for our charities of the year; and for this I am really grateful.
Name: Jordan Tarrant
Course: MSc Accounting and Finance, 2021
Voluntary Organisation: One-Off Volunteering Programme (Greenwich Peninsular Ecology Park); LSE Volunteer Centre Community Engagement Programme 2021 (Centrepoint collaboration)
Nominated by: Rosie Coffey
Jordan first engaged with the Volunteer Centre’s programmes during Michaelmas Term last year, when he signed up to the opportunity offered by Greenwich Peninsular Ecology Park. This was the first time that Jordan had volunteered. It was clear from the feedback which Jordan gave us at the time that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and had quickly gained an understanding of volunteering’s significance and rewards.
In Jordan’s application to the 2021 LSE Volunteer Centre Community Engagement Programme, he cited this experience as having whet his appetite for more and for a longer, more immersive volunteering experience. In January, Jordan joined us on this programme and worked with a team of 6 LSE student colleagues to perform voluntary consultancy work for Centrepoint over a 9-week period during the Lent Term. The team received fantastic feedback from our charity partner on both their final report and the interpersonal, collaborative aspect; and produced a brilliant reflective piece for the LSE judging panel as a part of their final project submission. While the team as a whole deserves whole-hearted commendation for their excellence on this programme, I am nominating Jordan for this award because of the evidence we have of Jordan’s development as a volunteer over time. Jordan submitted an individual reflection for us following the completion of the programme, which I found inspiring and insightful, and which demonstrated a further deepening of his understanding of the significance of volunteering as well as passion for the cause for which Centrepoint works. I would wish that we could publish it! Jordan also signed up to receive further feedback from our judges, which demonstrates a continued commitment to further learning and development. I simply I cannot believe that Jordan only started volunteering a few months ago! Thank you for all of your hard work.
Name: Josephine Precetti
Course: BSc in Economic History and Geography 2023
Voluntary Organisation: The World Bank, The Felix Project and the London Startup Fair 2021. “Missing Maps”: Flood risk assessment of Lilongwe (Malawi), Team Leader and Communications Officer.
Nominated by: Leo Djunbushian (BSc in Finance, 2023)
This student has spent an extensive amount of time thinking about the different ways she could support contemporary noble causes. She had to learn how to wield iD and JOSM editors to map building footprints, roads, bridges and waterways featured in 2019 Maxar imagery for The World Bank. Furthermore, for The Felix Project, she managed a team which sorted and transported over 1t of donated fresh produce and canned food for redistribution to disadvantaged communities. Finally, while volunteering as a Communications Officer for the London Startup Fair 2021, her responsibility was to conduct outreach to potential CEOs and founder guest speakers in order to organize and manage panel content and panellists. She successfully invited Rootnote’s founder: Jason Burchard, an LSE alumnus. All her efforts throughout the year demonstrate why she is worthy of receiving the LSE Volunteer of the Year 2021 award.
Kitty’s passion for sustainable business shines in every conversation we’ve had. As project lead and assistant in LSE SU Sustainable Futures Society, she has gone above and beyond in her efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the LSE community’s food waste. The production of ‘The Great Food Fight’ report is a testament to her hard work and commitment to the cause. Not wanting to leave anyone behind, she has organised multiple meetings across the Student Union, societies and LSE staff groups to lead collaborative approach. She is always keen to involve volunteers in the work that she is doing and ensure that they are well supported by the SU and LSE.
Course: MSc in Social Anthropology, 2021
Voluntary Organisation: One-Off Volunteering Programme (The Felix Project); 2021 LSE Volunteer Centre Community Engagement Programme
Nominated by: Rosie Coffey, LSE Volunteer Centre
Lorraine has been a keen and committed volunteer during her year of postgraduate studies at the LSE. As an international student, she expressed a keen interest in getting involved in community projects in the UK and learning more about the UK voluntary sector. She threw herself into both from the very start. Lorraine volunteered for The Felix Project during Michaelmas Term as a part of the LSE Volunteer Centre’s One-Off Volunteering Programme. Lorraine and a fellow student, who volunteered with Lorraine, received heartfelt thanks from the Project for their work that day. In addition, Lorraine’s correspondence both with me and with the charity in the lead-up to the event was timely, proactive, enthusiastic and unfailing polite, which was noticed and appreciated.
In Lent Term, Lorraine joined us on the 2021 LSE Community Engagement Programme, where she worked with 6 other students to perform voluntary consultancy work for CoachBright over a period of 9 weeks. The entire team’s work deserves commendation for its excellence. However, I’d like to nominate Lorraine for this award, which centres on individuals, because of the pattern of professionalism and the process of development I have been able to witness for Lorraine due to my experience of working with her across more than one programme. Lorraine brought the proactivity, responsiveness and commitment which she displayed in respect of The Felix Project role to her participation on the Community Engagement Programme. In particular, I appreciated her responsiveness to emails, her full attendance at all of the events which we organised, her kind communications, which often highlighted the work and achievements of others, and her commitment to the project. It is also clear from the individual reflection form, which Lorraine completed following the programme, that Lorraine has gained the insight into volunteering and the UK non-profit sector which she sought to acquire at the start of the year; and it seems to have inspired her to do more! Thank you for your hard work!
I know Madison because of her participation in the 2021 LSE Volunteer Centre Community Engagement Programme. I would like to nominate Madison for this award because her work on the Programme demonstrates so many of the qualities which I think we should all strive to embody as volunteers. Madison was a pleasure to work with from day 1. I was incredibly impressed by her professionalism – in responding to emails in a timely manner, for example, and in her sincere and unwavering commitment to the project. Even when Madison’s team faced a tricky data access-related challenge part-way through the programme, Madison remained unerringly professional, and resolute in determining to produce the best outcomes for the charity. The individual reflective piece which Madison produced for the Volunteer Centre as feedback demonstrated exceptional insight into the experience as well as into volunteering more broadly. I would not hesitate in recommending Madison to any future recruiter. Thank you for your hard work, positivity and commitment!
Name: Noah Gershon
Course: BSc in Politics and International Relations 2023
Voluntary Organisation: Liberal Jewish Synagogue
Nominated by: Sol Partridge (BSc in Politics and International Relations, 2023)
His countless contributions are reflected in this glowing testimony from Rabbi Alexandra Wright: ‘From a young age, Noah has combined sensitivity and empathy with a high level of intelligence and conscientious industry in everything he has undertaken. He cares deeply for people, those close to him and those with whom he has volunteered at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue’s Drop-in for Asylum Seeker Families. Noah’s sensitivity made him a particularly valuable contributor to the work of the Drop-in when it was open. (We are currently closed, but still supporting families by sending them shopping vouchers on a monthly basis.) He is not shy of reaching out with sensitivity to individuals, welcoming them to the Drop-in and spending time talking to them when they are distressed, or looking after their children. He sits on the Steering Committee of the Drop-in and his suggestions and input are all valued immensely.’
Ollie took a very proactive approach regarding the project, approaching Dan for the best contacts in Residences and Residential Life as well as for the third party halls (very inclusive – as it should be)! This dialogue continued with the recommended contacts who fortunately liked the idea of collecting surplus food within halls to support local food banks. This meant the FoodCycle society were able to establish donation points across the halls. The proactive approach included having contacted local Trussel Trust sites and student volunteers to support the collection from halls and delivery to local Trussel trust sites immediately (or as appropriate)!
This nomination focuses on the work conducted by Ollie as he was our key contact on this project but we recognise the work and support the rest of the society must have offered behind these interactions, hence the joint nomination.
Pauline was an outstanding intern. She showed initiative and worked with diligence and intelligence, making it incredibly easy for us to reach our goal: writing a report on the situation facing young women in Kilifi, Kenya, where we have a partner project.
We have looked for information on this area before, with very limited results. Pauline’s creativity and perseverance in finding information from new sources, and bringing it together, meant that we were able to quickly bring this project together. In part thanks to this work, we have been able to attract funding for this project, desperately needed in the light of COVID, which has devastated the area.
Name: Pravin Sanjay Nikam
Course: MSc in Human Rights and Politics 2021
Voluntary Organisation: The Felix Project (London), Save the Children UK
Nominated by: Paulina Cortez Licona (MSc Human Rights and Politics, 2021)
The reason I believe he should be named LSE Volunteer of the Year is that during the months when the world was shut down, and we all had to change how we live our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the charitable landscape had to adjust to the way volunteers assist community organizations, but despite the difficulties, Pravin rather than sitting at his accommodation took ownership and volunteered in his capacity to distribute food to homeless people in London.
He volunteered with The Felix Project by collecting surplus fresh, nutritious food packets and where he delivered these hundreds of food packets to charities so they can provide healthy meals and help the most vulnerable in our society. He is also volunteering with Save the Children UK, where his role is involved as Campaign Champion.
Pravin also used online mediums like zoom sessions to connect and help young people from the low-income group back in India with his mentoring on the process for admission to higher education.
Rithik has been a dream volunteer crewmate for us to count on at the Literacy Pirates. He seems to always rise to any challenge we steer his way with a calm and reassuring demeaner. On multiple occasions we have asked Rithik to swap classes very last minute to which he has always smiled and prioritised the child’s learning in the way he manages this.
He seems to be able to juggle having as many as four children support with as many command as other volunteers may manage with just two. He’s someone that we’re very grateful to see on our list for each day that he’s signed up, and he’s a credit to himself, LSE and the student alumni.
As a literacy charity, we’re often low on male volunteers, and I find Rithik to embody the perfect kind of male role model that many young people need in their lives. Rithik would be a fantastic asset to any charitable organisation, and will continue to be a great employee once he graduates from LSE.
Determined to help others at the start of the pandemic, the second year international relations student set up the Coronavirus Community Volunteering (CCV) initiative to support vulnerable and elderly people in his local area.
Through this new scheme, Rory encouraged people in his home village to deliver flyers to their neighbours offering help with grocery shopping or phone calls to help prevent loneliness.
His international network of friends and acquaintances at LSE soon picked up on Rory’s work and told him there was a need for a similar initiative in their countries too. In response, Rory worked with a tech firm to develop an app which matches local volunteers and community organisations to those who need help.
The app helped CCV Global expand to 40 countries across six continents, making it the largest COVID-19 volunteering network in the world.
Rory won a Point of Light award from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Sam has been a fantastic mentor this academic year. He has never missed a session and his excellent commitment and punctuality hasn’t gone unnoticed! He has been able to form great relationships with the mentees in his group, and his fellow mentors alike despite the challenges of running the mentoring sessions over Zoom. Not only has Sam been a great mentor, he also ran a training session for our full-time and sessional staff on neurodiversity (Sam is on the autistic spectrum). Sam’s passion for this topic came across, and we learnt so much about supporting young people who experience neurodiversity. It has been great having his support to help make our sessions as inclusive as possible and we are really appreciative of how he has gone above and beyond in his mentoring role this year.
Name: Tanya Marwaha
Course: BSc in International Relations and Chinese 2022
Voluntary Organisation: The Mind UK – 27 miles in 27 days, ‘Championing Young Minds’ (created her own initiative)
Nominated by: Wishes to remain anonymous
Since starting her own blog to raise awareness about invisible disabilities, mental health and long-term health conditions, she has been extremely involved in making an impact through greater education and hands-on efforts. Despite her long-term pain and fatigue, she decided to walk 54 miles in 27 days to raise money for the Mind UK, but has especially asked for the funding to be donated to her local West Sussex Mind services.
In addition, she has been working with the local council, local the Mind and Samaritans to launch an initiative called “Championing Youth Minds” – this is to help combat rising suicide rates in her town of Worthing. She is currently doing this by creating leaflets for mental health awareness, getting funding from the local council to print and distribute these. Furthermore, she is giving free skills workshops and talks at her local school and clubs to help teach children mental wellbeing coping strategies (e.g. Journaling, mediation, mindfulness etc.)
Name: Taitum Caggiano
Course: MSc in Gender, Peace and Security, 2021
Voluntary Organisation: The WONDER Foundation Francophone Africa Research Internship
Nominated by: Olivia Darby (The WONDER Foundation)
Tasked with providing us with a strong understanding of the challenges in Abobo in Abidjan, an area where we are working, Taitum has built on the work of some wonderful interns before her, but shown great initiative in looking for information from local people to develop our understanding. This will mean that we have greater opportunities in success in our work with local NGOs to prevent unsafe migration and make young people aware of other opportunities.