Eight years later we’re still shouting about the benefits of student social action from developing skills to supporting wellbeing to improving employability. Read more about how social action makes an impact on the students we work with and their communities in our 2020/21 impact report. (Editor’s note: 10/02/22)
We could talk about this for hours, but we’ve managed to rationalise all our reasons into 10 handy bullet points. You can’t say we never give you anything.
- There’s a lot to do.
Did you know that every second child in the world lives in poverty? That the 85 richest people on the planet own the same amount of wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people? That in some countries a woman is more likely to be sexually assaulted than receive an education? That every two hours, the UK produces enough waste to fill the Royal Albert Hall?
These problems, along with hundreds of others, need our urgent attention. It’s as simple as that.
- It’s easy to get involved
Changing the ways of the world is no small task. But it is an easy one for you to get on board with. Through volunteering, voting, donating, campaigning, starting a social enterprise or even just learning more about an issue that you’re passionate about, you can start to chip away at the ‘change the world’ to-do list.
There are volunteer centres in most universities; your SU will signpost you to opportunities in the community and around the world; and, of course, your local Hub will keep you up-to-date with all the ways you can shape a better world during your time at uni, and beyond. Just be sure to sign up to The Week so you don’t miss out!
- It’s a great way to meet new people
Sounds like a cliche that your parents might have told you as they nudge you towards that three-week drama summer camp with randoms – but it is true. Giving your time for a project you really care about is an amazing way to meet like-minded people – people who you may never have met otherwise. You’ll never look at that Varsity rugby lad in the same way again after you’ve spent the afternoon planting a community garden together.
- There’s no such thing as one ‘social action skill set’
Everyone has the skills and capabilities to get involved. Whatever your area of expertise – whether it’s event planning or creative writing, crochet or boules – you will be able to put it to good use for a good cause. What’s more you’ll be able to develop loads of new skills. Which brings us on to…
- It’s a gateway to further opportunities
Today, tutoring pupils in underperforming schools; tomorrow… who knows? The social action network (not currently an official body, but we’re working on it) is vast and ornately connected, meaning that the first steps you take into volunteering while you’re at university could lead you to a new area of study, an internship, or even your first job.
- We don’t like to say it but… CV points
While this should never be the main reason you engage with social action, it is worth noting that a massive 80% of employers say that they value volunteering on a candidate’s CV. They’re looking for soft and hard skills which you wouldn’t have been able to pick up in your degree alone; examples of leadership and time management; and commitment to a cause. So, not only will you get that warm fuzzy feeling in the moment, but you could also be quietly securing a graduate job for future you. Win: Win.
- You’ve got the time
Uni may feel overwhelming to begin with – that’s natural, it’s all new. But as you settle into your timetable and get used to the ‘lovable quirks’ of all your new friends, you’ll find that you really can make time for social action. Volunteering for just one hour a week can make a difference to an individual or a community. If you can, take on more of a leadership role to really drive the impact that you’re having. You’ll soon realise that, once you’ve got the bug, you’ll make all the time in the world to pursue your passion.
- You’ve got the energy
It may not feel like it after a Wednesday night on the razz, but, trust us – this is the time to fit it all in. We’ve heard it’s all downhill from 25.
- You’ve got the passion
The great thing about this time of your life is that grumpy deep-seated cynicism has yet to set in. Don’t be ashamed of your interests and passions: university it the perfect time to explore them further. Whether it’s juggling or climate justice, get stuck in: as young people we have the responsibility to embrace the fun, vibrant and dynamic stuff that grown-ups ‘don’t have time for’. If you have a passion, pursue it!
- You’ve got the power and potential to shape a better world
Apathy is our greatest enemy. Don’t be fooled by the dreary headlines and head-shakers. Everyone has the power and potential to affect change, make a difference and, yes, even change the world. Don’t settle for the status quo. You can make it better, and you can start right now.