By Ami Gade, Bachelor of Cyber Security
I was a Student Advocate for the National Student Volunteer Week Campaign 2023, which was held during August 7th – 13th. My goal was to create awareness about the significance of volunteer work and encourage peers at Macquarie University to get involved. This year’s theme for #NSVW23 was 'Give. Grow. Belong' which highlights the acts of personal growth and the strong sense of belonging that volunteering offers. As the Student Advocate, I had the role of promoting this year’s theme and motivating students at Macquarie to make a positive difference in the community.
During NSVW I have been actively promoting #NSVW23 on campus by sticking posters around the campus and communicating with peers about the campaign. I have put up posters in different areas of the campus, so students of all fields have access to them. I wore my specially provided Student Advocate shirt with a name tag so peers could identify me and freely communicate with me. I was also wearing a lanyard with the QR code of the #NSVW23 campaign so students can get access to the promotional page. Those two days were a highly enjoyable process for me as a few students, teachers were interacting with me and wanting to understand the campaign even more. I was genuinely surprised at how much passion and willingness they had to volunteer in the community and some of their outstanding volunteering commitments that they had. I also realised that each person that I talked to has a common interest to connect with communities that have similar interests and feel a sense of belonging.
I have also actively given out NSVW stickers, QR code stickers as well as special NSVW pins to students who valued volunteering or had related experience. In Central Courtyard and near 12 Wallys Walk I was communicating with the students and spreading awareness about the #NSVW23. For those who supported volunteering and valued its benefits I gave NSVW stickers whilst for those who had commendable experience as well as strong passion, I gave out NSVW pins to recognise their efforts. This was also an engaging process for me as I was able to comfortably connect with like-minded students who support volunteering and its benefits. I was also able to get inspired by some students due to their strong volunteering commitments which made me feel immensely proud as a student advocate. I was grateful to recognise their efforts in making a positive difference in the wider community.
Throughout the week I was also connecting with societies and clubs such as the GLP to promote #NSVW23 through their social media pages. I sent emails to selected groups and clubs such as the GLP kindly responded and supported the campaign through their Instagram and Facebook pages. I was very grateful for their support in celebrating the volunteers’ efforts in various communities.
I was able to find out about the Student Advocate role by reading GLP Upcoming Opportunities emails. I learned more about the role by researching online through websites like Volunteering Queensland and National Student Volunteer Week. I was very eager to apply and straight away filled in my application details. The application process was very easy and straightforward, taking approximately 30 minutes to complete. The process involved answering questions about myself such as what university I attend and why I wanted to be an advocate. I also had to attach my resume and share my volunteering experiences. I highly recommend all students who are eager and passionate about volunteering to apply for the role so you can make a positive difference to the Macquarie University community.
As of now, I am very keen to take more volunteering roles as it helps me to be connected to groups that share similar interests and views as me. As a proud Indian, I would love to connect with my community and volunteer at social and cultural events. This involves organising functions, assisting with decorations, tech support as well as connecting with executive members. I would also love to work for non-profit charity organisations and help those who are underprivileged and are in desperate need of assistance.
Overall, my experience as a Student Advocate was very rewarding and enjoyable and I am very grateful to have this opportunity to promote volunteering at Macquarie University. I am also very honoured to have this opportunity to recognise and celebrate volunteering efforts in the community. I hope it empowers other members to also make a positive change. If I had the opportunity again to become a Student Advocate, I would certainly apply to be one. I would also encourage other like-minded students who are highly driven in volunteering to apply for the role of Student Advocate NSVW in the future.
To find out more about National Student Volunteer Week, click here.