Royal Holloway Volunteering began as Community Action in 2002 and has grown exponentially, supporting thousands of students to pursue excellent opportunities in the local community.
Be Inspired alumni speakers (L-R) Jaimie Sarah, Isaac Kenyon and Singh Gill
The scheme has an engaged alumni network who often say that their experience as a student volunteer helped them get to where they are today. To offer the opportunity for current student volunteers to hear more about the motivational stories of these alumni, and to provide an accessible online initiative to engage with during the pandemic, the Volunteering team created the Be Inspired talk series.
During a Be Inspired session, alumni are invited to share their career and life journey since graduating from Royal Holloway. Volunteering Manager, Phil Simcock, says “Over the years, we have always found our engagement with alumni to be mutually beneficial. Whether this be networking at our annual Volunteering Reunions at Bedford Square or in the local pub, supporting our current student leaders as a coaches, or attending our Festivals or receptions on campus. Our new Be Inspired initiative continues to be reliant upon the positive and valuable contributions of our alumni too, which we have already seen this academic year.”
Since its pilot in November 2020, four Be Inspired sessions have been held, with another planned for next month. The feedback from students has been very positive, with one describing it as “one of the best talks I have attended at university […] truly inspiring.”
One of the alumni involved, Jaimie Sarah (BSc Psychology 2008), award-winning entrepreneur and speaker, says “I was a student volunteer and I loved it! It was such a rewarding experience giving back to the local community and a really great opportunity to bond with fellow students. I wanted to get involved with the Be Inspired sessions because I relish the opportunity to be who I wish had existed when I was younger, and to share what I've learned with the leaders of tomorrow.”
Isaac Kenyon (BSc Petroleum Geology 2015 and MSc Petroleum Geoscience 2016), Europe Energy Analyst at MapStand, Adventurer and Motivational Speaker, was heavily involved with volunteering initiatives during university. He volunteered as a Be Inspired speaker as he credits his experiences at Royal Holloway for many positive things to have happened since graduating. “I wanted to give back to the Royal Holloway community as I have been so fortunate and thankful for the opportunities Royal Holloway has provided for me,” he says. “The older I get the more thankful I become as life keeps getting better and I have to thank Royal Holloway for a lot of the good things that happened since university.”
Isaac's Be Inspired session
Former student volunteer and Students’ Union President Singh Gill (BSc Physics with Philosophy 2013), a Maths Lead Practitioner and Charity Director, was also compelled to volunteer as an alumni speaker to inspire the next generation. “I engaged with volunteering as a student almost from day one. The Be Inspired series sounded like a great project and a great way of introducing current student volunteers with people who’ve treaded similar paths before them. I was very privileged to be a part of this!”
The Volunteering team hope that the Be Inspired sessions will continue into the future if other alumni are keen and willing to share their journey.
If you would like to offer to be a speaker and inspire current students in their future endeavours then please contact the Volunteering team. They are particularly keen to hear from alumni who were either involved as a student volunteer and/or have gone on to contribute to the voluntary sector in their career or life’s work.