Enough with the bad press. Last week students came together to show what they can do for you

 

The 22nd-28th of February, a week in which student volunteers around the UK gain recognition for the work that they do, much of which helps services that wouldn’t be able to run otherwise. Student Volunteering Week, run by NUS and Student Hubs, sees colleges and universities play host to events that show off the talent and contribution of young people to the so-called ‘Third Sector’.

While the NUS has always been a great supporter of student volunteering, this shows commitment to a cause for the people putting in the hours without being paid for their work. As a volunteer myself, I didn’t start in order to get recognition or thanks. It was simply a way to fill my time with something positive, making a tiny difference to a bigger picture. As such, along similar lines, Student Hubs has pushed a social media campaign called #IVolunteerBecause, getting thousands of tweets in the last few days.

This social action on Twitter not only shows the popularity of volunteering today, among young people, but also the huge difference it can make to volunteers and those who benefit alike. While there are volunteers like me and others who do great and vital work, I cannot emphasise enough the praise I have for those who do lifesaving work everyday as student volunteers for the Mountain Rescue and Royal National Lifeboat Institute, as well as similar organisations. Without such organisations and the student volunteers that work with them, many more lives could be lost every year.

Unfortunately, much too often, there is a bad reputation that young people get from British press coverage which doesn’t represent them fairly. So, as part of Student Volunteering Week 2016, I call on the British media industry to publicise some of the amazing things that young people can achieve, both through volunteering and other methods.

Aside from this, it appears that in weeks like this, we, as student volunteers, must shout above the noise and promote the work that so many young people contribute, all out of their own goodwill and kindness.

The student population, as a whole, may not be interested in volunteering; however, the very fact that so many people have participated in Student Volunteering Week has to be a positive outcome. This is a chance every year for students to show the world what they can do just by putting in a few hours every week. It can make a massive difference if we unite to make a change. What could you do, as students, to make a difference? Give it some thought. You’d Be Surprised!