The University of West London (UWL) is working hard to encourage students to participate in the community through their volunteering week.
The university offered the opportunity for students to help a variety of different charities based in Ealing last week for a range of causes from preventing loneliness to littering.
The volunteering team at UWL organised the week with the hope of integrating students into the local community and making a positive difference, whilst developing skills to showcase to employers.
The volunteering team, comprised of manager Mariana Vieira De Rocha and her colleagues Alison Divers and Grace Brown, had been working tirelessly on the project since November and were glad to see so many students taking part.
Mariana emphasised the importance of the week in changing people’s perceptions about students and emphasising the positive impact that they can have on the community.
She said: “I think usually there is a bit of a negative connotation to what students do in their community, because there’s the idea that all students do is go out, litter, and make a lot of noise at night.
“So there’s a lot of these ideas about students, and actually, weeks like student volunteering week, but just volunteering in general, really allows students to show to the local community that actually that’s not all that happens, and that there is a lot that they contribute, and that they do it willingly.”
Over the course of the week students have created hand-crafted cards to send to people in care homes facing loneliness or isolation, undertaken gardening projects with rangers at Boston Manor and worked at Hounslow FoodBox sorting donations for families in need.
Mariana explained that for the students the benefits of volunteering are two-fold, lending them skills that they could use once they graduate university in the workplace.
Part of the week involves educating students about the skills volunteering equips them with and how they can talk about these skills when they apply for jobs after graduating.
She said the week is a reminder for students “to keep in mind that volunteering is not just for the good of the community, but actually what they get in return is also Incredibly important.”
You can read more about the volunteering that takes place throughout the year at UWL here.