A new campaign to log the thousands of volunteering hours students and staff at the University of Gloucestershire undertake within the local community and beyond aims to go one better this year.
Bank It, a joint initiative by the university and its Students’ Union, has set a challenging new target to ‘bank’ 20,000 volunteering hours by the end of 2016-17 academic year. The campaign aims to build on the success of last year’s, which achieved 18,000 hours.
From volunteering work with Girlguiding groups and coaching local sports teams to being a school governor or giving up time to fundraise for local charities, students and staff from the university dedicate many unpaid hours to the Gloucestershire community and further afield.
Last year’s ‘Bank It Student Volunteer of the Year’ was Charlotte Cutler, a third year studying BSc Health Community and Social Care. She devoted 361 hours to volunteering as a Homeless Health Care Assistant with Homeless Healthcare Gloucestershire and as a conversation partner with the NHS Speech and Language scheme. Charlotte is looking forward to getting involved with more volunteering opportunities again this year.
Charlotte Cutler said: “It may sound like a cliché, but devoting time to help other people in the local community is extremely rewarding. There are plenty of organisations in Gloucestershire that rely on volunteers - they are the lifeblood of many organisations and clubs. I manage to juggle my studies with my volunteering roles - meeting lots of new people and developing my skills too.”
Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, said: "At the University of Gloucestershire, we are committed to playing a full and active part in the life of the community. One way of doing this is through students and staff getting involved in volunteering and fundraising activities. They put enormous time, effort and enthusiasm into a huge range of good causes, and we are very proud of the contribution they make.
“Bank It is an excellent initiative that enables us to capture and celebrate the vast amount of volunteering time our students and staff contribute to the community in Gloucestershire and further afield, especially to help individuals and groups facing difficulty and disadvantage. Volunteering plays an important role in helping our students build their skills, confidence and capabilities, as well as helping shape their future plans. Volunteering is also our way of giving something back, and playing our part in promoting the well-being of the community in which we live and work.”
Rosie Hillas, Students’ Union Community Officer, said: “I am tremendously passionate about students making the most of their experience during their time at this university. Making space for some voluntary work can really add value to their overall university experience, so the Students’ Union is very excited about the launch of the new Bank It campaign for this year.”
For more information about Bank It visit www.glos.ac.uk/bankit.