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Celebrating student volunteering

Posted on 09/06/2010

Luka Blackman-Gibbs wins Student Volunteer of the Year.

The hard-work and dedication of student volunteers at Royal Holloway, University of London was celebrated with a special awards ceremony.

Guest speaker Georgia Boon, Head of Volunteering at Oxfam congratulated the 900 registered student volunteers at the College on all their efforts, and highlighted the role and importance of today’s volunteers and the impact they have on society.

Other guests included the Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Margaret Roberts, and representatives from Volunteering England, and Surrey vinvolved.

Acting Principal Professor Rob Kemp, who hosted the evening, said, “Royal Holloway’s Community Action Volunteering Programme has been incredibly successful in building bridges between the College and the wider community, as well as enhancing the quality of life in disadvantaged sections. With the enthusiastic encouragement of Phil Simcock and his Community Action Student Team, several hundred Royal Holloway students have volunteered their services during this academic year. I strongly believe that big high profile events like these will help to make the volunteer culture at Royal Holloway as much a part of student life as playing sports, joining a society or going out to the Union, for students realise that volunteering is fun, enhances their transferable skills and builds community spirit.”

Volunteering accreditation certificates were awarded to those who had given more than 30 hours to volunteering during the past year as well as awards being handed out in specific categories. Absolute Harmony was awarded the Volunteering Society of the Year and the College’s Basketball team walked away with the Volunteering Club of the Year. Oxfam and Rotary Club of Egham were named as the Community Partners of the Year and Michaela Niemela, Jon Saunders and Jerome Lock won the Project Leaders of the Year award for their efforts in organising Christmas volunteering events. Sukanta Chakravorty was hailed as the International Volunteer of the Year and The Mayor′s Cup for Student Volunteer of the Year 2010, presented by Cllr Roberts, was awarded to Luka Blackman-Gibbs, who is studying Ancient History with Philosophy.

Luka was commended for her initiative to come up with a scheme called ‘Study Buddy’ which pairs up students from different nationalities to share language and cultural experiences. With the help of the College’s Annual Fund, Luka has spent the past 10 months getting the scheme up and running .The project involves recruitment of volunteers, planning and delivering meet and greet sessions, purchasing relevant materials and organising networking events. For many involved, this has helped build self-confidence in a safe focused environment where friendships can be fostered naturally across the nationalities represented within the College.

As well as this project, Luka has also found time to commit as a regular youth work volunteer at Egham Youth Centre’s generic drop in evening sessions.

John Cundy, Englefield Green PCSO, said, “Luka is much respected by every member of the club and has a natural ability to engage with and communicate effectively at all levels. Luka has been instrumental in organising and managing activities in the course of the evening and her bubbly, happy disposition adds to the overall ambiance and success of this venture."

To find out more visit: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/volunteering/VolunteeringAwards2010.html


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