What is Student Volunteering Week?

This year marks the 20th year of Student Volunteering Week here in the UK, which celebrates all of the hard work student volunteers up and down the country do. SVW is all about recognising the impact that you, as a student, can make when taking the opportunity to volunteer whilst learning how social action can create positive change. Over the last year, many face to face volunteering opportunities were cancelled due to COVID-19, including those run by your Students' Union, but many of our volunteers have taken part in lots of virtual volunteering and fundraising during the pandemic, including for the NHS. There are so many benefits you can gain by volunteering from developing your skills and building on your CV, meeting new people, helping the community, improving your wellbeing and having fun.

Students are often at the forefront of promoting different social issues and interests. These actions can be traced back into the nineteenth century, where the Student Community Action was introduced after the Second World War and continued into the 20th Century. Last year's campaign was extremely successful with 60 colleges, universities and Student Unions from all over the UK taking part. In total, over 55,000 students were involved in various types of social activities during the week.

Although Covid-19 has stopped us from doing the majority of the things we enjoy, volunteering has been able to adapt so you can still have incredible opportunities from the comfort of your own home.

Your Student Union's updated volunteering services include:

  • Volunteering from home roles with local charities
  • Socially distant and volunteering from home roles with Student-Led projects
  • Virtual volunteering fairs
  • Extra support and guidance to help keep you safe during the pandemic

If you’d like to find out more about SVW or volunteering at your Students’ Union, contact the team at volunteering@shu.ac.uk, or you can visit our volunteering page. The team also work alongside Voluntary Action Sheffield, you can find out more about them here. 


We chatted to Hallam volunteer, Connie, who volunteers with the student-led volunteering group, Beyond the Body, through the Students' Union. Beyond the Body volunteers deliver workshops to teenagers exploring topics around body confidence and self-esteem. Listen to the podcast below to find out more about the group.


Student Volunteering Week Events

Even though many face-to-face volunteering opportunities have been cancelled across the country due to COVID-19, you can still get involved with some virtual volunteering opportunities courtesy of the Student Volunteering Network. Find out how you can become a volunteer for the Commonwealth Games next year in Birmingham in a Zoom session on Monday 8 February from 3 pm. You can also attend a virtual session on ‘Is Voluntourism Ethical?’ on Tuesday 9 February, 6 – 7 pm which will cover how you can volunteer ethically. You can register for these events by clicking the links above or to find out more about these events click here. 

SU Virtual Volunteering

Just because we’re in lockdown, doesn’t mean that you can’t volunteer with your SU! We have a wide range of virtual volunteering opportunities on our website that will help build your CV, help the community and allow you to have fun. From becoming a dementia friend, using languages to translate text online or working as an English or Maths volunteer, there are lots of virtual volunteering opportunities that you can get involved in through your Students’ Union. 


Volunteering: Drive-in Musical Theatre
12th June 10am - 7pm
Meadowhall, S9 1BN
Volunteering: Tough Mudder Yorkshire
31st July 9am - 1st August 4pm


Fundraising as a Volunteer

This year, we want to get as many student volunteer groups as possible to take part in fundraising. This can be for local charities or maybe a charity that you hold close to your heart. Some examples of local charities our volunteering team have chosen include:

  • City of Sanctuary
  • Food Hall
  • Steel City Squash

Some ideas for fundraising events include:

  • Sponsored walks, runs, cycling, stairs climbing etc
  • Baking, craft, races, and other active competitions
  • Dress up your pet to look like a player of your sports team or member of your society
  • Art sales and auctions
  • Virtual pub quizzes, tombola, and raffles
  • Netflix or Amazon Prime watch party and sell your own at home cinema tickets
  • Get together with other societies and teams to do joint events

If you're interested in volunteering with your Students' Union or hosting a fundraiser if you're a current volunteer, please email volunteering@shu.ac.uk with any questions you have and your plan. Let us know which charity you decide to fundraise for and how much money you raise, and we'll talk you through the donation process afterwards!

Information for staff on Student Volunteering Week 2021

You don’t have to be a student to get involved with Student Volunteering Week, staff can get involved too. The ‘Is Voluntourism Ethical?’ event is open to staff as well as students. You can sign up here. To find out more information on how you can get involved, visit The Student Volunteering Network.