Katrina Lambert is a third year BSc Politics and International Relations student who recently received a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to young people. We caught up with her to hear more about her volunteering work and what it means to her to have been recognised.
I first began volunteering when I was fifteen, and since then have continued to volunteer in my time at LSE. I have worked with a variety of organisations on issues of gender equality, human rights, and youth voice. In first year, I became the youngest trustee of national charity Volunteering Matters which supports volunteering projects across the UK. Since the start of the pandemic, I have also been working with the youth sector and the UK government on the impact of covid-19 on young people.
What motivated you to start volunteering?
From a young age, I have had a very strong sense of social justice and making sure people can use their voice, no matter who they are or how old they are. As I got older this combined with my experiences as a young woman and pushed me towards activism on gender equality. I first got involved with advocacy and campaigning, working with Girlguiding Scotland on issues ranging from period poverty to the representation of women in politics. From there I was able to meet so other inspiring young people working on so many pertinent issues.
Through your volunteering, what is your proudest achievement?/How did you feel when you were told that you were being awarded an BEM?
In June 2022, I was awarded the British Empire Medal, in the Queens Jubilee Birthday Honours for services to Young People, as one of the youngest on this year’s list. It’s an honour to be recognised through an honours system which I think is stereotypically associated with older individuals who have a long career stretching behind them. I hope in the future that even more young people are recognised with honours for the amazing work that they’re doing to change the world around them. Of course, the association with empire and Britain’s colonial history is something that makes the honours system less inclusive so I would urge people to check out the work of the Excellence Not Empire campaign (more details at https://www.excellencenotempire.co.uk/).
How has your volunteering complimented your time at LSE?
Volunteering has been an absolutely integral component of my time at LSE. It allows me to take my learnings in the classroom and see their applications in the real world – as a Politics and International Relations student having had the opportunity to work with government and other international institutions has been invaluable to my learning. Moreover, volunteering allows you to see the world beyond university – it can be easy to get sucked into deadlines and university life, but my volunteering has allowed me to meet different people, travel amazing places and learn so much about the world.
What would you say to other students considering volunteering?
I could not recommend it more! Although it might seem daunting to add something else into an already busy calendar, volunteering alongside my studies has actually forced me to manage my time more effectively. And there’s volunteering for everyone no matter you interests – from weekly volunteering with a youth group, to supporting with social media or a trusteeship!
If you’re not currently volunteering because you’re not sure how to get involved the following can help:
visit our website to learn more about what we do book a one-to-one appointment to discuss how we can help you find a suitable role browse one-off and ongoing opportunities on CareerHub. Volunteering has the potential to transform a university experience for LSE students and we look forward to inspiring many more to get involved in the upcoming academic year.