On the 12th of October 2016 the Career Development Centre was proud to welcome over 30 organisations to our first volunteering fair of the new academic year. By now the posters have been taken down and the evaluation forms have been filled out, and all the feedback says the same thing: the fair was a crowning success.
For students it was a valuable experience to network with delegates from the organisations about the nature of projects available. For the organisations, this was an opportunity to connect with students from a University that has a solid record in supporting student volunteering and community engagement.
We were happy to welcome back organisations that have been with us previously, like Family Action, Victim Support and Attend ABI. We also welcomed new friends like HENRY, Spectre and SCYSS. We had charities providing IT and Technology related opportunities like Advising London and Action on Hearing Loss as well as opportunities where anyone can get involved like Team Westminster. The feedback received from participating organisations was overwhelmingly positive. “Excellent turn out of students who were very enthusiastic and engaged in the services and opportunities” said one delegate while another stated that to them “the Volunteer Fair was a big success”.
Academic staff agree, the Volunteer fair can be an invaluable vein of opportunities for students. Dr. Sanjay Joban, Senior Lecturer in the Psychology Department had the following to say: “It was such an enjoyable experience to take part in the Volunteering Fair on Wednesday. It was heartening to see so many organizations represented, both familiar ones as well as new charities attending for the first time such as The Listening Place and Westminster Befriend a Family. I noticed a real buzz of activity and conversations taking place. I also have to say that the whole event seemed to run very smoothly, and this is a reflection of the hard work put in by so many people in the organization of the event.” Harriet Wichtowski, also a Senior Lecturer, echoed Sanjay’s sentiments. She added that “It was great, buzzing with conversation and activity. The sense I got was that everyone felt excited and positive”.
Olga, one of the organisers of the fair was also very pleased with the outcome and stated how happy she was to be part of hosting such an event that welcomed so many partner charities covering a diverse range of disciplines and area codes.
The fair was hosted by the Volunteering Services Team together with the Work Placement team at the Faculty of Science and Technology. Volunteering is only second to paid part time jobs in the list of the most sought after extra-curricular activities by students in Westminster. According to last year’s report, Westminster Students offered a total of 24,000 hours of volunteering. A booklet showcasing some of the best examples of Westminster Students’ commitment to volunteering has also been recently published, which you can access here.
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