NUI Galway Students Attend National Volunteering Conference
Monday, 6 December 2010
Students from NUI Galway recently attended 'Building a Voice for Student Volunteering', a National Conference where students from over 15 colleges across the island of Ireland gathered in anticipation of the EU Year of the Volunteer in 2011, to share experiences and ideas on the impact of third level student volunteering. It was sponsored by Campus Engage, the HEA funded network to support civic engagement within higher education in Ireland. The conference provided a space for student volunteers to meet together for the first time with an opportunity to share effective practice and create 'how to guides on student volunteering. The forum took the approach that the experts in student volunteering are the student volunteers themselves and addresses were delivered by students for students. Richard Manton, Student Volunteer in NUI Galway says: "I found the conference to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative. From the outset, the informal and open nature of the event was clear - emphasis was placed on the pooling of ideas by those actively involved in student volunteering, rather than a series of lectures. I found that I was able to draw from my own volunteering experience and discuss with others the best ways to build a voice for student volunteering in Ireland." In the last seven years there has been an upsurge in student volunteering activities across the third level sector with the ALIVE Volunteer Programme at NUI Galway, Trinity Volunteer Opportunities Forum and Dean of Students Roll of Honour, the Uaneen Programme at DCU, DIT's volunteer programme, President's Award for Volunteering at UL and GIVE at LIT. All of these recognise diverse activities that students undertake as volunteers within a community that ultimately gives them an extra edge on graduation. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at the University says: "NUI Galway has built of its rich history of student engagement and activism to lead at the forefront of pioneering student volunteering programmes across higher education in Ireland. Our students benefit enormously from national opportunities to meet fellow student volunteers and highlight their contribution to society." This event is the first in a series of Campus Engage sponsored events that will harness and recognise the positive contribution that students make through volunteering to community. During 2011, the We Volunteer! mobile exhibition showcasing images of diverse student volunteering contributions will travel across Ireland and Europe.