Giving back to the community

Alice Siegwart

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Education and Social Care
Course:BA (Hons) Education Studies
Category: Education

18 October 2017

My time as a volunteer with Anglia Ruskin Students' Union has enabled me to develop a variety of skills, including teamwork, communication and social responsibility. Plus, it's great to be able to give back to the community.

I volunteer with the Students’ Union in Chelmsford. I work on the People’s Patch allotment project, as well as being part of several societies as a committee member and a few other one-off opportunities.

I've been involved in holding meetings and events for different societies, which have involved tournaments, a themed tea party for Global Week and an afternoon tea session. I've also worked closely with the volunteering co-ordinators regarding the People’s Patch, especially around the time I won the Green Pitch, which involved a lot of budgeting, team work and time management in order to get everything planted and watered at the right time.

I like being able to get my hands dirty (literally!) and growing a variety of vegetables that can be donated towards the local Sanctus homeless charity. It's great to be able to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere towards students too, that can inspire them to get active and get more involved with Fairtrade or organic products. It’s nice to be able to give back to the wider community, as well as to the students that have made my university experience so nice!

My time as a volunteer has enabled me to learn and develop a variety of skills: teamwork, communication, and social responsibility and budgeting being some of the most important. Being able to budget properly and teamwork are probably the two biggest skills I’ve developed over the past year as a volunteer. It’s given me an insight into my own personality as well as areas that I could improve upon. Other skills such as literacy, project management and self-management I’ve also been able to develop, but on a smaller scale. 

My primary role has been a volunteer for the People’s Patch, which is an allotment project directed towards growing a variety of produce for the Sanctus homeless shelter. During the year, we attempt to grow as much produce in the allotment and the greenhouse as possible, which involves a lot of hard work to sow, water, take care of and reap the beds to do so. It has opened my eyes to the wide variety of volunteering roles inside and outside of the University, as well as allowing me to develop as a person. It’s enabled me to gain valuable, transferable skills outside of my course. I’ve been able to network with other students as well as people outside of the University that I can gain additional experiences with. It's shown me that no matter what the role, you can always gain something from volunteering that can be transferred to other areas of work.

Alice Siegwart receiving a volunteering certificate

Anglia Ruskin's Students’ Union Volunteering Coordinator, Tracey Hall, said this about Alice:

"It has been an absolute pleasure to have spent time getting to know Alice and it has been a privilege to watch her grow and gain confidence in her abilities. At times she has been a life saver for our department with her willingness to turn her hand to help with any event or activity we have needed support with. Alice has also encouraged her fellow students to engage with the SU’s activities, hoping that they too will enjoy all that the Union has to offer. We would like to thank Alice for being part of our ‘student family’ over the past two years and we wish her every success as she graduates from ARU."


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