Student Volunteering Week an 'enlightening experience'

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Students have paid tribute to the ‘enlightening experience’ of being involved with Student Volunteering Week 2017 at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU).

The national campaign, which took place from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 February, sees students’ unions, universities and voluntary organisations from across the UK showcase the amazing work volunteers do.

Through DSU, De Montfort University (DMU) students volunteered across Leicester at various community projects, braved the cold of the Campus Centre steps for the seventh annual Sponsored Sleep Out for Action Homeless, and were even featured by the Guardian for their ground-breaking fundraising efforts.

Cybeles Nunziata Muñoz, who is also chair of the International Society, volunteered on the Saffron Acres allotment project and helped with sexual health kit packing at Leicester’s LGBT Centre.

“I think [volunteering] is a marvellous experience,” she said, “Even if you are shy it can really help.

“The first thing I got involved with was the packing of the condoms and protections at the LGBT centre – we quite efficient and fast! That was really fun, but we also learnt some new things too.

“The next day, on the Tuesday, we went to Saffron Acres and had some fun by helping to clear and maintain some areas.

“The thing is, volunteering is very good for your CV and also to learn new options.

“You can meet really interesting people by doing that. Volunteering is a really good option!”

The volunteers at the Sponsored Sleep Out at least had a special Student Volunteering Week cookie to keep them warm...

Chris Doyle, a first-year Politics and International Relations student, had never volunteered before taking part in the 11-hour Sponsored Sleep Out on the Campus Centre steps to raise money for Action Homeless – a local charity that raise awareness of homelessness across Leicestershire.

He said: “It was good to experience what it’s like for a night. It was really cold but great to get that experience and really find out what it’s like night after night for some people.

“It was my first time of doing anything like that but I heard that it was Student Volunteering Week and thought it would be really interesting to get involved. I wanted to do something to give something back.”

And Chris was keen to encourage more DMU students to volunteer. “Just…get involved,” he said. “Give it a try, and once you take that opportunity it’s really enjoyable once you do.”

Ahtesham Mahmood, VP Student Activities at DSU, joined Chris and ten other students at the Sponsored Sleep Out.

“The Sleep Out was an enlightening experience…and very cold,” he said. “What really came through was the sense of community and I’m really glad I did it.

“The week in general was amazing – there were so many students getting involved with things that they had not done before.

“It should serve as a catalyst to their continued personal development.”

You can read more stories from some of DSU’s volunteers – from committee members to police officers and student mentors to festival organisers – on the Student Volunteering Week page here.

DSU's Uni Boob Team, who volunteer for the national CoppaFeel! breast cancer awareness charity, were featured by the Guardian during Student Volunteering Week for their ground-breaking fundraising work. Read more here.

Has Student Volunteering Week whetted your appetite to get involved with volunteering at DSU? Find out more about the opportunities available here.



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