In order to give an insight into volunteering opportunities in Aber, we asked the SU staff and officer team for their experience volunteering in Aberystwyth and top tips on getting the best out of volunteering:
What volunteering opportunities are in Aberystwyth, in the SU and from home?
We have a range of volunteering opportunities (which have been updated to reflect ‘COVID friendly’ opportunities) on our website’s volunteering section.
We also have ideas about how you can help from home.
We'll soon be recruiting for the A-Team too, ready to welcome the new cohort of students in September.
Many of our sports clubs and societies provide a range volunteering opportunities, be it through their activities directly or through additional opportunities. Additionally all the committee members of clubs and societies are volunteers, they freely give up their time in order to benefit the lives of Aberystwyth students.
Additionally, there is also plenty of ways to volunteer in the local community: from Aberystwyth parkrun to local charity shops.
When you were a student, did you volunteer? If so, what did you get out of volunteering?
Martin - Student Support and Representation
As a volunteer officer for the SU it was a chance to support students that maybe didn't have the opportunities I had, make campus and teaching a better place. In a role organising campus entertainment I was able to organise events and activities that brought students together and socialise. Ultimately I got a career in Students' Unions and HE out of it!
Amie - Reception & Finance Coordinator
I volunteered for the probationary services, circles of support and accountability, youth services and for the police as a special constable. I found it to be a fulfilling experience and really helped me develop skills ready for work life after university. It gave me an opportunity to grow as a person.
Amy - Academic and Volunteering Coordinator
I was part of Aberystwyth Conservation Volunteering Society; it was great because it got us out of Aberystwyth doing full-day outdoor tasks, and we'd learn about site management and how to use tools. I was also a committee member for Biology Society and the Octopush Club. I'd never been responsible for ensuring the success of a group before, so I was always trying my hardest to make sure we'd have successful trips and/or competitions. Having to write things like risk assessments and make sure everyone was safe felt like a big responsibility. Being part of a committee really helped to improve my confidence and organisation skills.
Tom - Societies Development Coordinator
When I was a student I got involved in anything and everything environment related I could find. I was the committee member of a Horticultural Organic Growing Society and a society dedicated to supporting the university's botanic garden. One of the best roles I undertook was being a peer guide within my department. I met so many amazing people through this opportunity and it opened up so many doors for my future. From the connections I made, to the experiences I received it was instrumental in building my CV.
What has been your most rewarding volunteer experience?
Molly - Advisor
Working with older unemployed people to help them create CVs and look for job opportunities, I met some really interesting people from all over the world who had amazing life stories.
Helping youth offenders transitioning from youth offending services to probationary services. Helping them build a more sustainable way of living and follow healthier paths. Helping with their CV's, college applications and getting bank accounts, accommodation etc. It was rewarding to see them grow and develop.
Volunteering for a treecycle scheme was a really great day! It created such a brilliant community spirit, and helped to raise a huge amount of money for the local hospice.
For me it is seeing the benefit my actions have on the world. My favourite thing when being a part of any opportunity, most notably a committee member and peer guide, is seeing individuals grow in themselves from what I am helping to provide. That is still the most rewarding part of my job: seeing committee members grow as individuals in their role.
In your own words, why should students volunteer? What do you think are the benefits?
Nate - President
It looks great on a CV, meet new people and get involved in the community.
Catrin - Finance Manager
An opportunity to meet new people & make connections outside of university.
It can be a chance to make a difference in however small a way you choose; it also helps that it often enables you to make new friends, learn new skills and have fun experiences.
It’s a great way to gain practical work experience; a good opportunity to network and it can enable students to meet people from all walks of life and experience things they may never have done otherwise.
An opportunity to develop relationships with the community, interact with a diverse group of people and play a part in the community. A possible chance to learn the Welsh language. Build confidence and skills.
Cleo - Communications Coordinator
Volunteering helps to boost your confidence, not only because you have real life experience (which can be added to you CV), but you can also gain new skills and is a great opportunity to meet new people.
Volunteering is completely different to other activities, because you want to make a difference or help a cause that is important to you. There are so many different ways you can volunteer, and no matter how you choose to give up your time; not only will you develop skills and meet other people, it will nearly always lift your mood and make you feel like you've contributed positively towards something. It's called the 'helper's high' :)
At Aber, you can also gain recognition for your volunteering by working towards the Aber Award
Where do I begin?!
Everything from the people you meet, the experiences you have, to the memories you make. Yes volunteering has its ups and downs, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences for not only yourselves, but to the lives of other people.
Volunteering can really help you to stand out when looking for employment. It is a great way of showing you are proactive, are willing to go above and beyond and that you are willing to give back.
Volunteering in Aber is so easy to keep track of. The union provides a platform for you to not only be recognised for your efforts, but to also keep track of all the work you do. This is invaluable when when trying to remember everything you have done when applying for jobs.