How volunteering can change your university experience for the better
“Social action takes many forms. It can range from donating money to good causes to creating campaigns or running community-based events. I love making a change by getting hands on and volunteering in my community.” — Niamh Harrington, Bristol Hub One off Volunteering Coordinator
Volunteering in your local community, as Niamh has said, can take many forms. But the one thing it always does is connect you with others, and make positive change. Over the past academic year, we at Bristol Hub have supported over 180 students to engage in social action, and here is how it has impacted everyone.
How volunteering enhanced wellbeing
85% of our student volunteers agreed that participation enhanced their wellbeing during university. Where there are many challenges to university, such as loneliness, academic pressures and an overwhelming amount to do, volunteering provides a space to escape and connect:
“I am grateful for the friendships and connections I have formed with individuals who share the same passion for creating change. These experiences have reinforced my belief in the power of collective action and have motivated me to continue advocating for positive societal transformation.” — Audrey Lo, Bristol Hub Campaigns Coordinator
“I am a PhD student which gets lonely sometimes. It was good to be a part of a team, work together, and make friends. I think it really impacted positively to my social wellbeing.” — Social Innovation Programme volunteer
“I was struggling to find a feeling of worth at uni and studying for my course didn’t give me a feeling of making a difference. This activity helped me find that purpose.” — Climate Action Bristol volunteer
How volunteering enhanced academic experience
Some of you may think that volunteering takes away from your academic time and development, but I am here to tell you quite the opposite! 50% of our volunteers agreed that their participation with us actively increased their engagement with their university course:
“I found that by participating in volunteering it had a positive impact on my mental health and made me more motivated to attend university as it increased my mood. I think that the benefits of volunteering on my mental health definitely increased my engagement in my university course.” — LinkAges volunteer
“It showed me the impact that a person in my interested career can have, i realised the importance of communication skills, which reflected on my behaviour when in seminars and engaging with uni personnel” — Social Innovation Programme volunteer
“This activity is highly relevant to my Consumption, Environment and Sustainable Development courses. It encourages my passion for this course because I could apply the knowledge I learnt from this course to this practical activity.” — Climate Action Bristol volunteer
“Politics is a part of my course, I not only learnt new things about the content through the material and the other volunteers, but also gave my learning a sense of purpose” — Inspire Debate Change volunteer
How volunteering connects you to your community
You are in a new city, sometimes even a new country, and trying to build new friendship groups — and sometimes it is isolating. 98% of our student volunteers agreed they met people they otherwise wouldn’t have met and 70% felt they built a sense of belonging to their local community:
“I felt a greater sense of belonging to Bristol as a place. Giving back to the community here has made it feel more like home.” — Schools Plus volunteer
“Venturing into parts of Bristol I had never been to and getting a different perspective on people’s lives!” — Climate Action Bristol volunteer
“Being involved in a different community (other than uni). It is also really inspiring to help a community, learn from them, and to see your ideas come into fruition.” — Climate Action Bristol volunteer
“It was nice to form a community of people who met weekly. It aided and helped me settle into the first year.” — Schools Plus volunteer
“I really enjoyed volunteering with Linkages because it allowed me to make a difference but also connect with the Bristol community outside of the university bubble.” — LinkAges volunteer
Overall, volunteering is a space for you and your community together. We collaborate to grow Bristol to be the best space for all and volunteers are fundamental to making that happen!
Interested in volunteering next year? Check out the Bristol Hub volunteering opportunities or look through Bristol Student Union groups and external opportunities! Got questions? Pop us an email at email@example.com.