Tell us your social action story!

Posted on: 15 October 2014

Wednesday 29th October will see the launch of a landmark study into the history of student social action. A Social History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond 1880 – 1980 by Dr. Georgina Brewis is a long view of the experience of going to university in Britain over the last century. Encompassing volunteering, campaigning, fundraising and protest activities, Dr. Brewis demonstrates how voluntary action has been central to the emergence of a distinct student movement in the UK.

Dr. Brewis is a long-time supporter of Student Hubs, and our co-founder Adam O’Boyle worked with her on some research for an early incarnation of this study. We’re thrilled to be referenced in the completed book, and very pleased to be sponsoring the launch on 29th October in London. You can register to attend online.

To commemorate the launch, here in Hub HQ we’ve been reminiscing about our own social action histories and how they have shaped our lives so far. Now, call us nosy, but we’d love to hear from more people about what social action means to them. This is a call-out to our partners, sector friends and students everywhere to share your personal social action histories with us.

It doesn’t have to be much: a photo and caption will do; you could write a short blog or even film yourself on your phone speaking about your experiences as a volunteer.

We know that there are some amazing stories of social leadership out there just waiting to be shared and celebrated – it’s stories like those that get us into the office every morning. To give you some inspiration, here’s what some of our team have had to say…

colombia translation

Lucy Walsh, Winchester and Southampton Hub Manager This is a picture of me translating for a group of young Colombian rugby players who came over to the UK on a sports diplomacy trip. In Colombia, government and social organisations alike are turning to the enduring draw of sports to break the cycles of bloodshed that continue to govern much of the country… I translated on two separate occasions for rugby teams from the regions where violence is heaviest in Colombia… The embassy invited me to accompany the group as I’d recently returned from a period working and volunteering in Colombia. I’ve found that the more I do and get involved in, the more opportunities come up. Volunteering has opened doors for me and given me countless opportunities. It’s not always been as glamarous as translating for ex-rugby stars, but it’s always been fun! 


Pippa Smith, Imperial Hub Support Officer For me, student volunteering has been an opportunity to act on my political and social beliefs. The transition from thinking to doing has brought me into contact with wonderful, dynamic people and shaped my future career plans.


Harry Jenkins, Oxford Hub Projects Support Officer This photo was taken when I was a student coordinator for LinkAges, an intergenerational community volunteering project. We took some of the residents from Isis House (a residential and nursing home for the elderly in East Oxford) who are confined to wheelchairs ice skating last Christmas – it was probably one of the funnest days volunteering I’ve had!

Please send your social action histories to by 27th October.

You can buy a copy of Dr. Brewis’s book online (£60), or pick one up at half price and get it signed at the book launch.

STUDENTS: you can ‘recommend’ this book to your uni library, too!


Zoe Conn

Zoe is the Communications Manager for Student Hubs. She works on digital media, campaigns and policy to spread the word of the Hub and is based in the London office.

Tags: Social Action, Third Sector

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