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Hanseul

May 20th, 2024

Volunteering at LSE: where to start?

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Hanseul

May 20th, 2024

Volunteering at LSE: where to start?

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Being part of LSE offers you abundant opportunities and life-lasting experiences. Volunteering at LSE could be one of them; you can support the causes you care about. In fact, it doesn’t have to be closely related to your current programme – as long as you’re willing to commit some of your time, you’re perfectly ready. For those of you who are interested in volunteering, from starting a brand-new project or continuing something that you’ve been working on even before studying at LSE, I’ll help guide you where to begin you volunteering journey.

Resources at the LSE Volunteer Centre

LSE Volunteer Centre is the best starting point to search for volunteering opportunities. There are various options available: one-offs, ongoing, and even overseas if you wish. So even if you just want to give it a go to see what it’s like, it’s probably a good idea to take part in one-off volunteering sessions. However, before you participate, LSE Volunteering Centre has some questions for you to think about: what cause do you care about? What skills can you offer? What do you want to take away from your volunteering experience?

These questions will narrow down and specify the opportunities you might want to join. Yes, volunteering is all about offering your time and skills for a good cause, but your interest and enthusiasm equally matter. If you’ve never done volunteering before, I’d recommend you book a one-to-one appointment with the Volunteer Centre Manager. You may get valuable advice on what you should do next. If there are no similar projects, you can even create a new one by registering at the LSE Volunteering Fair.

LSE Volunteering Fair

This leads me to my next point. At LSE, we hold a volunteering fair in early Autumn Term. You can either drop by to get a sense of the volunteering projects at LSE, or even organise your own booth to showcase your volunteering project. 

In my case, I planned to volunteer at a food bank in London in my first year. Since I mainly cared about poverty reduction, I contacted several food banks before I recruited my fellow volunteers. Once I realised the type of volunteers the food bank accepted, I then prepared my booth by designing an online recruitment form and explaining my cause and expected activities. 

Although the whole process required time management and organisational skills, it clearly helped me identify whether or not I would be a good fit in the Department of International Development. Unfortunately, the volunteering period didn’t last long since it was difficult to find a suitable time when all 10 of us were available to visit a food bank. However, I wouldn’t have understood how food banks work in general without the advice from the LSE Volunteering Centre.

Developing your cause beyond volunteering

After organising the student-led volunteering project, my commitment to the cause of poverty reduction became even more solidified. My next exploration was, therefore, developing a policy to address both poverty reduction and climate change mitigation simultaneously. This year, I continued to research recent trends in poverty worldwide, specifically that of youth poverty. Global food waste contributes to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet the number of people looking for food banks or cheap food is increasing. Based on this finding, I submitted a policy suggestion that is similar to Too Good To Go but on a national scale, for the Greenpeace Youth Climate Action Hackathon 2023 held in the Greenpeace Seoul office.

Unlike volunteering projects, policymaking felt like a macro-approach; you have to be considerate of who will benefit and lose from that policy. The main takeaway from the hackathon was that volunteering was an opportunity to find out who I am – it’s not just about me generously offering what I’ve got. If you’re constantly volunteering for your cause, great, but even if you’re not, it’s okay as long as you care and want to do something to address your cause. You never know where your journey will take you, after all.

About the author

Hanseul

Hello, I'm Hanseul from South Korea! I'm currently a first-year undergraduate studying International Relations and History. Apart from my academics, I enjoy writing about my daily life as an international student in London, listening to Kpop and reading.

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