A celebration of ‘Volunteering Together’ took place at the Meeting House last week as part of Interfaith Week.
People of all faiths and none give their time and energy to helping others in the community, and this is often a way in which people of different faiths, and those of no particular faith, come together in a common cause.
Volunteering is this year’s theme for the nationwide Interfaith Week. It is linked to the recognition, in this Jubilee year, of Her Majesty the Queen’s sixty years of faithful service.
The event was an opportunity for students to meet organisations within and outside the University that invite people to volunteer with them, and to learn about what they do and what kind of help students can give. More than 25 organisations, ranging from small local groups to nationwide and international charities, and representing different faiths and cultures, were displaying what they do and chatting with students about the possibilities of volunteering.
At the formal launch today the Director of Chaplain Services, Vaughan Rees, welcomed all those who came, and congratulated them on the work they do. ‘You work hard day in day out, year in year out’ he said, ‘and sometimes you probably feel it is a thankless task. But it is hugely appreciated by many people who are helped by it, and today we want to celebrate it and say a big thank you.’
Volunteering, he said, is encouraged by the University not only as a way in which students can gain skills that improve their employment opportunities, but also because it is a vital part of the all-round education for life and citizenship that is more than academic qualifications.
He thanked all whose help and advice had contributed to the event, including the Students’ Union, Glam Edge, Glamvol and Interlink. He also thanked the students who are part of the Meeting House family, especially Pouria Islampour for his creative design for the posters. Most especially he expressed gratitude to the Associate Chaplain Susan Stevenson for the excellent way in which she planned and organised the event.
Euros Evans, Head of Careers and Employability Services formally opening the event, talked about the University’s Glam Edge initiative which provides students with a ‘passport to employment’ based on their volunteering activities. Speaking from his own experience, he said that one of the effects of volunteering is that we learn more about ourselves. Volunteering helps us gain transferable skills in team work, management, communication, decision making, problem solving and other areas. He commended all those who attended and took part, and encouraged students to take up volunteering opportunities.