Last week, students celebrated Student Volunteering Week. This takes place nationally, and provided students with a fantastic opportunity to organise a range of events and activities across the week, showcasing exactly what they do within their volunteer projects, and how they benefit the wider community.
On Tuesday, Exeter Student Volunteers (ESV) helped passers-by in the Forum to write letters of kindness to be sent out to the Elderly Connect, Action after Stroke and Mentoring for Success projects, to give encouragement to the members that volunteers support each week. This is a form of microvolunteering- where just 5 minutes of your time can make a huge impact on someone else! ESV were also joined by Fareshare and Devon Air Ambulance, with student representatives showing the difference they have made through volunteering for these organisations. Later on in the day, ESV thanked their volunteers for their hard work throughout the year with free pancakes at the Exonian!
On Wednesday, the sun came back out and Monday's litter pick was back on! ESV Environmental teamed up with the Community Wardens to collect litter from the residential areas. These students were conscious that local residents often become concerned about litter in the areas that are now heavily populated by student housing, and wanted to take 2 hours out of their day for some neighbourhood maintenance. ESV Environmental also held an open visit to the Community Garden to show students the progress of their conservation work, and to invite them to get their hands dirty and give it a go themselves!
On Thursday, St. Luke's students were treated to a demonstration of some exercises that ESV Action After Stroke members work on each week as part of the stroke rehabilitation that volunteers support them in- and no demonstration is complete without post-workout cake all round! Students also had the opportunity to chat to Freemoovment about student volunteering opportunities to provide free and inclusive exercise programmes in the community.
The week came to an end with YMCA Society talking to students about their upcoming SleepEasy, an annual event to support homeless young people. ESV Smart Club also held an exhibition to display the work of the budding artists they work with each week. SmART Club is an after school club, providing art-based learning for 5-7 year olds, as well as a chance to socialise and unwind after school! Project Leaders were delighted to showcase the masterpieces they have worked on this year!
If any of this has inspired you to set some hours aside to help others, you know what to do! We are currently looking for Welcome Team Volunteers to help new students to navigate Freshers' Week, or be sure to check out the opportunities that our external providers currently have for community volunteering. The smallest amount of your time goes a long way!