As part of Student Volunteering Week 2016 Postgraduate student, Marc Claude (MSc in Political Science and Political Economy), shares his thoughts on why volunteering is important and tells us about his volunteering experiences; from canoeing in Canada, to cleaning picturesque Scottish beaches with the Marine Conservation Society.
My name is Marc, and I am passionate about volunteering
I realized quite early that I loved helping people. How specifically I came up to this “aha moment” is still unclear. However, one point is sure: it has a lot to do with volunteering. In fact, I have been volunteering from a very young age in various scouting-related activities: hiking, camping and tutoring, to name a few. This early involvement in volunteering has played an important role in strengthening my sense of altruism.
Eventually, I decided to match my passion with some relevant education. Although I had completed my undergraduate education in Accounting in the States, I felt the need to understand further how to serve better the public interest. Therefore, after a few years of working in international development I ended up pursuing postgraduate education in public affairs in Canada. Obviously, this thirst to ‘understand the causes of things’ is still unquenched as I am currently studying political science and political economy at LSE.
Over the years, I have kept nurturing my interest in volunteering. From monitoring summer activities for kids in Montreal to being involved in environment awareness campaigns in Quebec City, I have managed to volunteer both on-campus and off-campus. Eventually, I have realized that the best thing about volunteering is the unique connection you build with people from all walks of life. For instance, at the end of a summer camp in Montreal, a 9-year-old girl came to me, gave me a hug, and told me she would miss me a lot because she regarded me as her older brother. If happiness comes from the little things, then volunteering has brought me moments of sheer bliss like this fond memory.
Volunteering often results in win-win opportunities
Most recently, I went to Scotland to volunteer at the Cramond beach clean-up event with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). The Marine Conservation Society is the UK charity for the protection of British seas, shores and wildlife. Among their various initiatives, they have launched the Beachwatch campaign – a national beach cleaning and litter surveying programme. Together with some fellow Chevening scholars and other people from the community, we spent two hours cleaning up Cramond beach.
We were 76 volunteers, collecting and surveying marine litter all along the seashore. At the end of the clean-up, we had collected 19 bags of rubbish weighting 117.5 kg (e.g. plastic, rubber, cloth, paper, wood, metal and glass). Ultimately, after the event we enjoyed sightseeing together in the city while stopping by the iconic statues of Adam Smith and David Hume to get some inspiration. Overall, the whole point is that volunteering often results in win-win opportunities to contribute to good causes while exploring new places and making new friends.
Now that it has been decades since I began volunteering, these experiences have shaped my life. As a result, I have become a global citizen willing to contribute everywhere to causes that matter the most to me: education, environment and development, to name a few. All in all, volunteering has helped me become a better person while defining one of my life purposes: to achieve the greater good. I volunteer because I hope it will make the world a better place.
(Note: this post originally appeared on the LSE Volunteer Centre blog)
Marc Claude is a Postgraduate student in the Department of Government (MSc in Political Science and Political Economy).
If Marc has inspired you, go to the LSE Volunteer Centre website to find out how you can get involved in volunteering. You can also read more about LSE students’ experiences of volunteering on the LSE Volunteer Centre blog and get tips on how you can get started!
Follow the LSE Volunteer Centre on Twitter – @LSEVolunteering
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) works to secure a future for our living seas and save threatened marine wildlife.
Follow MCS on Twitter – @mcsuk