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Spotlight on Volunteering
Universities and IOTs Celebrate the Achievements of their Student Volunteers
To celebrate International Volunteers Day 2019 University College Cork along with 9 other universities and institutes of technology have come together through the Campus Engage initiative to launch their first ever student volunteering annual report to highlight the activities and achievements of their students.
“Student volunteers play such a constructive role in communities, often providing vital services for excluded and vulnerable people. Volunteering is for all and that idea of inclusiveness translates into the work student volunteers do daily across the country. Today is a day to celebrate volunteers and our report highlights some of the students who are helping achieve a more inclusive future for all.” - Colm O’Hehir, Campus Engage Officer
An Impact Assessment of Irish Universities, conducted by economists Indecon, revealed that in 2017/18 over 17,500 student volunteers donated three million hours of their time to causes both at home and abroad, at an estimated value of €28.4 million to the exchequer.
studentvolunteer.ie is an online tool that supports students wishing to volunteer in their communities. The portal is the first of its kind globally - a national volunteering database specifically created for higher education students. It was developed in 2016 by ten third level institutions through Campus Engage.
There are now more than 1000 organisations and 14,000 students registered on the website, with over 4,000 new student registrations in the 2018-19 academic year. Through studentvolunteer.ie, new student volunteers have clocked up a total of 39,746 hours through volunteering opportunities promoted. Overall, students successfully volunteered for 3,391 opportunities.
One such volunteer is University College Cork social studies student, Vera Stojanovic who founded Better Together in 2016. Her charity works to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of women living in Direct Provision in Cork.
UCC, through the Quercus scholarship program and the University of Sanctuary initiative, has allowed Vera access to valuable supports and resources that helped support programmes run by BetterTogether. Working with UCC allows the charity access to a group of volunteers with a diverse set of skills and experience. As well as running yoga classes, volunteers also organise a large variety of activities such as summer camps, games nights, accessing employment courses and clothing drives. Recently student volunteers implemented an employment skills training course, which had over 40 women asylum seekers participating.
“There is no greater satisfaction than realising you have made a difference to the life of someone else. Giving your time to help others is giving a piece of yourself, it is food for the soul.”
Learn more about becoming a student volunteer: