Read the stories of some of DSU's brilliant volunteers

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Student Volunteering Week - which takes place from Monday 11 until Sunday 17 February - is a national campaign that students' unions, universities and voluntary organisations across the country get involved with. This year De Montfort Students' Union (DSU) has chosen to celebrate the week by telling the stories of some of our fantastic volunteers.

At DSU we will be showcasing not only the amazing work our volunteers do, but also highlighting the opportunities available for De Montfort University (DMU) students.

Volunteering gives students the chance to tackle social challenges, learn about issues, gain practical experience and connect with each other.

At De Montfort University (DMU) there are endless of opportunities to volunteer including getting involved with Student Projects, DMU Square Mile and DSU’s MyUniPal scheme.

Meet some of our brilliant volunteers...

Ratna Yoganandan, DMU Psychology Student, Year 3

What volunteering activities have you been involved in so far? 

I've been involved with ANBU UK, which is an organisation that supports individuals of childhood sexual abuse in the Tamil community. I've been a volunteer for 2 years now. We organised events to promote awareness and go and present talks at schools and events. I recently volunteered over the Refreshers Week as a My Uni Pal. It was a great week with loads of old and new faces coming together and giving back to our fellow students at De Montfort University. It was very nostalgic seeing all the first year students settling in to uni also exciting as my time at uni is coming to an end.

Finally I am part of the Psychology Society. Which has been going great!

What was the best part of your volunteering experience? 

Best part of my experience at ANBU is to see how much we have grown. How many people we have touched, how big the team has grown and learned. We are continuously learning, expanding and supporting one another in the process. The team has been so encouraging with my availability and supporting in my academics.

Refreshers Week was amazing, the best part was meeting new people. Although I have been at uni for 4 years now, I always enjoy meeting new people. It's never too late to make new friends, meet new people, and expand on social skills while also meeting the DSU team. Connections at univerisity are always good as the people at uni is what make the experience. Therefore helping out during that week was also a great experience for me.

Best part of being with the Psychology Society is that we all get along so well, we work really hard and have ambitions to make this society a success. I am so proud of the whole team as we started the society a bit late but I have to say the committee have been dedicated, really supporting one another and always enthusiastic about where the society can help out at uni.

What would you recommend to students considering volunteering?

Just do it! Don't wait, don't worry that you have no one to volunteer with, that you may not know anyone. You will never know how something may go unless you step out of your comfort zone and try it. Pretty much all my volunteering experiences I did on my own, I winged it and just did it. Of course I was anxious but it's the best thing I did.

Any further plans for volunteering? 

I'm always looking and reading emails to see where I can help out around uni. I really enjoy it so definitely more volunteering plans for the future.

Adam Rehman, Forensic Science, 3

What volunteering activities have you been involved in so far? 

I took part in helping set-up the ColourFest event and helping it to run smoothly and to clear up. I also helped run activities day and games night, which were amazing days!

What was the best part of your volunteering experience? 

I got to be a part of a team which worked well together, and enjoy several activities whilst helping students to be more outgoing and enjoy themselves.

What would you recommend to students considering volunteering?

It is extremely fun to do, and it's great to help others. It is also a good idea for your CV later in life. If you get busy with university work you can always do it when you are free instead.

Any further plans for volunteering? 

I am currently amongst third year work, but I hope I get the chance to help in future events when I am available!

Corianne Collihole, Forensic Science, 3

What volunteering activities have you been involved in so far? 

MyUniPal.

What was the best part of your volunteering experience? 

Seeing how you can change someone’s experience just by being you and being nice. It was absolutely fantastic.

What would you recommend to students considering volunteering?

Absolutely, it is so rewarding.

Any further plans for volunteering? 

Continuing if possible when it fits in and around my course.

Blandinah Chilufya, Psychology, Year 3

What volunteering activities have you been involved in so far?

I recently went on a 10 week volunteer trip to Kenya with the ICS and VSO during the summer. I lived in rural area called Loitokitok with host families, and we had focus on women empowerment and an inclusive education as well as reaching out to secluded groups of people.

What was the best part of your volunteering experience?

Being submerged within a different culture, living with host families, eating what they eat and working alongside rather than giving them what we felt was best. We planned all the sessions/community action days/active citizenship days ourselves, and they were very personalised for the individual needs of the women’s group, school etc.

What would you recommend to students considering volunteering?

Go big and put yourself out there! Volunteering can genuinely change your life.

Any further plans for volunteering? 

I'm not sure what I want to do in the future but I'm very open to different possibilities.

Esmae Cooke, Performing Arts, Year 2

What volunteering activities have you been involved in so far? 

I’ve been involved in the MyUniPal voluntary work.

What was the best part of your volunteering experience? 

It was a good experience because it’s extremely rewarding, giving up your time to help people who were once in your situation. It’s a feel good experience to help others!

What would you recommend to students considering volunteering?

Do it! It’s effortless, and when you’ve helped people, even if it’s just a smile or a wave, you feel so good about yourself because you know you’ve brightened somebody's day or helped relieve their anxieties.

Any further plans for volunteering? 

If any other volunteering opportunities arise, I would be interested. Since I’m a student ambassador, I thoroughly enjoy helping others.

If you are interested in starting a student volunteering group click here.

To browse more volunteering opportunities click here.

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