…by Riaz / from England / studies Economics / 4th Year (UG)
Before I came to the University of Edinburgh, I had always enjoyed volunteering in the local community, but it was only when I arrived on campus and visited the Freshers’ Fair that I really saw the scope of volunteering projects on offer at the University!
I currently volunteer with two very different organisations, one of which is Best Buddies Edinburgh, a student-led charity which runs a weekly social club for adults with learning disabilities. As fundraising manager for the society, my main role is to organise fundraising events such as selling glowstick bunny-ears to revellers at Big Cheese (our amazing weekly club night at the student union!). I also coordinate collaborations with other University societies, including a very well received visit from the African Drumming Society!
I also volunteer with the Lothians Equal Access Partnership for Schools a.k.a. LEAPS. I am part of a team of over 300 student volunteers that travel across Edinburgh to deliver interactive workshops in schools, with the aim of promoting higher education to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In December I was invited to speak at a LEAPS conference, which was a fantastic opportunity to meet lots of other LEAPS volunteers who are all committed to ensuring that children are not at a disadvantage in attending university because of their background.
These two initiatives that I have the privilege of working with are a very small part of a much larger network of volunteering organisations at the University. I strongly believe that this broad range of projects, made possible because of countless hardworking student volunteers, truly highlights the strong ethos of commitment to supporting the local community. Getting involved in societies and volunteering organisations is a great was to meet lots of lovely people whilst making a truly tangible difference at the same time!