#iWill Week and the power of Social Action
Zara Campbell discusses her volunteering story.
We are so pleased to be starting the Southampton Hub blog back up again in time for #iwill week! All of the blog posts that we share will be written by our committee and volunteers, so if you have an idea you’d like to share, please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will be writing about a range of topics — from the importance of social action, to sustainability and environmentalism, to the committee’s volunteering stories.
This week is #iWill Week, which is an annual celebration of the work that young people and #iWill ambassadors, champions and partners carry out across the UK. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on the social action work that you are involved with, or to consider how you could get involved if you aren’t already! Here at Southampton Hub, we are getting involved in the celebrations and reflecting on our own social action journeys and the role we play.
But first, what exactly is the #iWill campaign? It’s a UK wide movement which holds that all young people should be supported and empowered to make a positive difference in their communities and broader society, tackling issues that affect them. It aims to encourage more young people to make a difference in their local communities by getting involved with social action projects, like volunteering, fundraising or campaigning. Over 1000 organisations and 700 #iWill ambassadors and champions from the UK now champion the movement.
Southampton Hub plays a role in getting university students involved in social action projects, and it can be the first opportunity many students have to get stuck into volunteering! We run seven different projects as well as a number of one-off volunteering opportunities for students to get involved with. Like the #iWill campaign, Student Hubs strongly believes in the power of social action, and is passionate about social change created by students.
Changes in our local community happen when everyone does their bit; contributing just an afternoon or one Saturday every few weeks to give something to others can make a huge difference to their lives. Being involved in social action doesn’t just mean volunteering — it can also be about making your voice heard on the issues that mean the most to you.
I’ve been volunteering with Southampton Hub since my first year of university, after receiving an email about opportunities to tutor. Having volunteered with Girlguiding and the Royal Life Saving Society UK before university, I was desperate to return to volunteering and it was the perfect opportunity. I spent the latter half of my first year as a Schools Plus volunteer, tutoring a child once a week in French and helping out at the virtual reading and youth clubs. In my second year, after a summer interning with the Hub, I became the Branch Up Coordinator and helped to run free activity days in Southampton for children facing adversity.
This year, I’m on my year abroad and even though I no longer can physically volunteer on our projects, I’m staying connected with the Hub as the Communications Coordinator. I’m behind all the Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin Posts, and I write The Week, our newsletter that we send out.
Being away from the Hub has given me the opportunity to reflect on how big of a role volunteering played in my life, and I can’t wait to return to Southampton next year to be a part of the projects. Social action has genuinely changed my life for the better and has given me amazing opportunities to meet people who share the same values as me. I have gained so much confidence, and had opportunities to try new things — last year at Branch Up, I got to go donutting, which is something I’d never had the chance to do before! Most importantly, I love seeing how giving up just a small part of my time has had a positive impact on others.
I pledge to advocate for social action and to try to create opportunities to encourage students to get involved and to do good.
Here are some of the rest of our committee’s #iwill pledges!
Our Libraries Plus coordinator, Alex said “I will do more to motivate students to become socially active and help to engage with and improve their communities.”, while our President Nicki pledged to “encourage students to meet new people and advocate for others wherever possible!”
Nadya, our Vice President, said “I will join and support those who wish to make a positive impact in my local community” and Jules, our treasurer has pledged to “encourage students and members of my community to show interest and advocate for social change!”.
If you’re interested in social action, we have plenty of volunteering opportunities at Southampton Hub. You can find out more about how you can get involved on our website!