Fiona’s 15 for Student Hubs Challenge

Posted on: 20 May 2022

As part of our fundraisers this year, we’re sharing stories from our #Team15 who are taking on the 15 for Student Hubs Challenge. You can read Sophie and Sorcha’s story about their 15 hour walk here, and below our Partnership and Development Director Fiona talks more about the inspiration and training she’s been doing for her challenge. 

It’s Fiona here, Student Hubs’ Partnership and Development Director! I’ve written many blogs for Student Hubs in the nearly two years I’ve been working in this role, but this one feels much more personal. I wanted to share why I’m currently fundraising for Student Hubs, what I’ve been up to, and how you can get involved. You can also watch my short video here for a quick roundup of what I’m doing and why!

What I’m doing 

Back in December 2021, our CEO Sim and I sat down together in the winter days before the holidays to discuss what fundraisers we wanted to launch for the spring/summer period. The topic of how to celebrate our 15th birthday had already been on the horizon, and a fundraiser felt like a great way to begin to raise awareness about the work we’ve been doing across the Student Hubs network. We also liked the idea of giving people a personal challenge which has always been an engaging way we’ve fundraised in the past with the team. From the fusion of these two ideas, the 15 for Student Hubs Challenge was born. 

For me, I knew fairly quickly that I wanted to use this challenge to motivate me. After a busy period in my personal life, I wasn’t in the habit of running as frequently as I wanted to, and from running previous races, including the Great South Run and the Southampton ABP Half Marathon, I knew having a set goal which required a training plan was a surefire way to get me on track again. 

Thinking about the Student Hubs values, it also felt important to be ambitious. I could do just one 15k – but where would the challenge be in that? Doing three seemed like a good way to be consistently running into the summer, and I could focus on trying to improve my times throughout the training cycles. 

You can see all of my training updates, including various photos of my red face from running, on my JustGiving page here.

Why I’m doing it 

When I was a fresher at the University of Southampton, I found Southampton Hub’s stall in the Freshers Fayre and signed up to what turned out to be the first term of Schools Plus delivery in the network. The volunteering opportunity meant connecting with people I might not otherwise have met; getting to see parts of the city I never would have ventured to; and connecting with young people in a unique and engaging way. It was the start of a journey which had me thinking less about going into the publishing industry after graduating, and more into roles where I could make an impact on young people and the community. 

But my student experience is only a small part of why I fundraise. Really the biggest way in which Student Hubs has shaped my life is as a staff member. I was the Southampton Hub Manager from October 2017 to June 2019, and rejoined the staff team in May 2020 as Sales Director. The culture of Student Hubs, the connections and relationships I’ve developed with the staff team, and the personal development I’ve done during and through my employment here has been game-changing. I really believe in the vision and mission of Student Hubs, and I see all of the incredible effort and thought which goes into delivering the fantastic work our teams do across the network. Where my role is externally facing, I also get the privilege of seeing how potential partners and connections engage with the concept of our work: people think what we’re doing is fantastic, meaningful, and really do understand the impact of it and why it’s important. 

Fundraising is just a small part of helping us to do what we want to achieve as a charity, and it’s a great way to engage people in discussion and raise awareness for all the wonderful things Student Hubs and its team have and will continue to achieve in their Hubs and communities, and with students across the UK. 

How you can get involved

Match fund our journey – if you’re a potential corporate partner and you’re interested in my challenge (or any of our fundraisers in general!), reach out to me directly at

Fiona Walsh

Fiona is Student Hubs' Partnerships and Development Director. She leads on university sales, alumni and corporate fundraising, marketing strategy and external relations. Fiona started her social action journey as a student volunteer with Southampton Hub.

Tags: Impact, People and Culture

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