Student Volunteering Week will be from February 5 to 11 this year. Did you know students in the United Kingdom have been involved in volunteer work since the 18th century? Student Volunteering Week is a week to appreciate the student’s impact on their communities and promotes student volunteering. Student Volunteering Week is an initiative of the Student Volunteering Network, with support from Student Hubs and the National Union of Students (N.U.S.). Student Volunteering Network is a network of higher education employees that work together to support student volunteering activities. During Student Volunteering Week, students and student unions across the country participate in volunteer activities such as fundraising and tree planting.
History of Student Volunteering Week
The history of students in volunteer work can be traced to the evangelical revival of the 18th century. During this period, religious societies cropped up in various universities in the United Kingdom, working with student volunteers to support the sick and prisoners. By the early 19th century, missionary associations in Scottish universities, Oxford, Cambridge, and London medical schools started sponsoring mission work abroad.
From 1883, the university settlement movement spread across the United Kingdom, including major cities like Glasgow, Manchester, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Oxford, and Cambridge. Students that were part of this movement volunteered their time, especially during vacations, by participating in visits and summer camps, providing services to local people, and engaging in sports competitions. The Student Christian Movement (S.C.M.) was started in 1893 and has since grown to be considered a national student body for social education. By 1908, the organization had 130 college and university branches and a membership of over 5,000 students.
The role of university students during the First World War was significant, and it helped build interest in volunteering in the United Kingdom. These student volunteers helped provide support to Belgian refugees, engaged in fundraising efforts for the war, participated in farm labor camps, and worked with the Red Cross to provide first aid. They also offered support for post-war relief efforts for Russia and central Europe. Due to the conditions and needs of those times, students in England and Wales came together and formed the National Union of Students of England and Wales (N.U.S.). The N.U.S. was also a crucial part of aid efforts and post-war relief activities in the Second World War.
From the 1960s onward, Britain saw a rise in the number of voluntary and campaigning movements made possible by student volunteers. Amnesty International, the Child Poverty Action Group and Shelter, and Voluntary Service Overseas are a few of the organizations founded during that period. Also, in the 1960s, student volunteer work shifted from purely social service to broader community action. That led to increased government investment in student volunteering, the introduction of the Student Community Action and Student Hubs, and the birth of various rag groups and student volunteering week.
Student Volunteering Week timeline
University religious societies start organizing student volunteers to support the sick and prisoners.
Students in England and Wales introduced the National Union of Students.
Student volunteer organizations move from social service to community action, leading to the birth of the Student Community Action (S.C.A.).
Student Volunteering Network with support from the National Union of Students and Student Hubs, launch Student Volunteering Week.
Student Volunteering Week FAQs
How can you volunteer as a student?
To become a volunteer as a student, you need first to discover what causes you’re passionate about and join an organization that aligns with that cause. Check your school or local community for organizations with projects or activities around that cause. Or you can do research online.
Why do students volunteer?
Students primarily volunteer to create a positive impact in their community and the world. They also volunteer to develop soft skills, gain work experience, and build a network of friends and relevant contacts.
What are the types of volunteering?
The main types of volunteering you are likely to find opportunities for as a student include volunteering with animals, green volunteering, sports, and tourism volunteering, volunteering in hospitals, and social impact volunteering.
Student Volunteering Week Activities
Participate in your university’s S.V.W. activities
Every year, the Student Volunteering Network is commemorated at several campuses throughout the United Kingdom. Typically, it is organized by the student union or a branch of the Student Hubs. Check to see if anything similar is going on at your school. If not, you can collaborate with a group of friends to plan fun and impactful events for each day of Student Volunteering Week.
Do fundraising for charity
There are several fundraising activities you can organize to support your favorite charity. You can arrange a student or community relay race, sell baked goods, or open a GoFundMe campaign and promote it in your school and on your social media pages.
Yes, we know that one week is too short for volunteering abroad. But you can make a commitment to volunteer abroad during your school break later this year. Sign up with an organization that offers international volunteering opportunities, choose your preferred duration, and start making preparations to travel abroad. Organizations that offer overseas volunteering opportunities include Eurodesk, Raleigh International, V.S.O., and A.I.E.S.E.C.
5 Amazing Facts About Volunteering
Women love volunteering
According to United Nations Volunteer (U.N.V.) research, 57% of volunteer work globally is handled by women.
Married people are more likely to volunteer
Married people volunteer more than singles and people with other relationship statuses.
Employer-supported volunteering is not welcomed
People are less likely to volunteer their time through employer-supported volunteering.
Africa is the global volunteering destination
People prefer volunteering in countries on the African continent to anywhere else in the world.
Statistics have shown that recent graduates and employed people make up most of the population that volunteers internationally.
Why We Love Student Volunteering Week
Student volunteering is exciting
There are many exciting possibilities you can have by volunteering as a student. Aside from gaining friends and building connections with people worldwide, you can become a part of a community project that brings new opportunities and makes life easier for the locals. Volunteering abroad allows you to explore new countries, cultures, and traditions and broaden your knowledge and perspective. Use this Student Volunteering Week to begin your volunteering journey!
Student volunteering helps make the world a better place
Volunteering for Sustainable Development Goals’ projects such as clean water and sanitation, no poverty, and quality education improve disadvantaged people’s living conditions, open new job opportunities, and better secure their future. It also takes people volunteering their time and resources to tackle global issues such as rapid deforestation, climate change, and wildfires.
Student volunteering offers work experience
Aside from its benefits to communities and the world, volunteering also improves students’ career prospects. Volunteering allows you to apply what you learned in school, learn new skills, and solve real-life problems. All these make you stand out from the rest of your peers who did not volunteer.
Student Volunteering Week dates