Week 9 is YUSU’s 2018/19 Volunteering Week. Organised by YUSU, as well as Careers and Placements, the week features a 7-day programme of talks, panels and general discussion forums to help students learn about what opportunities there are to volunteer with the University and YUSU’s associations. The topics range from international volunteering to mental health and YUSU projects.
Having started with a focus on international volunteering on 19 November, multilingual opportunities and collections for Calais were amongst the announced opportunities for students to get involved with. Tuesday is filled with environmental volunteering aspects, with Student Switch Off being one of the five opportunities for the green-minded amongst the University. Wednesday is all about education, with the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign focusing on female engagement included. Moving onto later in the week, Thursday is centred around social action, and the volunteering fair will take place in James Hall in the afternoon. Friday is going to have five events about Mental Health volunteering, On Saturday, a ‘Festive Family Fun Day’ hosted by the Kitchen at Alcuin in the afternoon. The fun-filled week draws to a close on Sunday with a volunteering social at Courtyard. In addition, Sunday will have YUSU Project Recognition.
One of the most prominent aspects of this week is how there are volunteering opportunities for everyone to take part in. For example, students engaged with maths can go to the York Mathematical Excellence Club, while societies and sports at the University also have opportunities for volunteering. There is also a Dementia Friends information session on the Thursday for people wanting to engage with those afflicted by the disease, which is degenerative in some cases.
YUSU Activities Officer, Finn Judge, expressed his excitement for the week: “Volunteering Week is a huge collaboration between YUSU, Careers and some amazing causes in the city. We’ve got five themed days: international, environment, education, social action, and mental health. This should bring student leaders of all interests together.
“I’m personally looking forward to our collection for Calais, school library renovation, and our ‘signpost’ bunting going up in YUSU bars that lists student support services. It’s a reminder of how powerful our student community can be, for both each other and the city.
“This year, it’s my priority to get student groups volunteering in the local area. At 11am on Wednesday we’re hosting a Societies in Schools drop-in session in YourSpace, in collaboration with York Students in Schools – a project now celebrating its 25th birthday!”
Volunteering is a massive part of the University community, with the majority of students having enjoyed it – possibly without realising. Freshers every year are herded about by their dutiful Second & Third Year Contacts (STYCs), who endure the gruelling schedule of clubbing every night for a week to ensure freshers get home safely at the end of their night. The YUSU Volunteering site lists 16 different ways for students to volunteer, ranging from Nightline to working with Theatre in Schools. They also offer three categories of volunteering; one-off opportunities, projects, and volunteering through colleges.
Colleges tend to have partner charities, which is one of the ways volunteers can be involved with college volunteering. The one-off opportunities involves having RAG-lets to help out at fundraising events.