University of York students receive award for volunteering work supporting local community

Over 2,041 students gave around 34,201 hours of their time to volunteering and community engaged activities in 2022 to 2023

University of York students were celebrated at the student community and volunteering awards this week, receiving an award for their outstanding contributions to support the local community.

The students volunteer for a variety of projects such as assisting in closing the educational attainment gap, tackling loneliness, and undoing the inequalities in health and wellbeing.

The students who received an award were nominated by 27 diverse host organisations across York. This mirrored the range of skills and the passion that York students bring to the community.

From 2022 to 2023, over 2,041 University of York students gave approximately 34,201 hours of their time to volunteering and community engaged activities. This equated to over £356,374 if they were paid the national living wage.

The ceremony was held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall and hosted by Professor Matt Matravers, chair of the university’s community volunteering committee and BBC Radio York’s Elly Fiorentini. The Lord Mayor of York, the vice-chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery and other members of the university executive board also were in attendance. 

At the ceremony, the Councillor Chris Cullwick, Rt Hon Lord Mayor of York thanked student volunteers on behalf of the city. 

Professor Charlie Jeffery also spoke of their achievements and how students’ work ties in with the institutions core values: “As a university founded on the principle of promoting the public good, volunteering has always played an important role in the experience of a York student.” 

The award winning York students in schools programme (YSIS) was congratulated as it celebrates its 30th birthday with students contributing nearly half a million hours to volunteering in York schools. One YSIS Alumni spoke of the programme and how it helped her choose their path in life. They said: “it was this scheme that made me want to be a teacher. I went on to study a PGCE at York, and have been working as an English teacher for the last (almost) decade.

“I really believe the opportunities YSIS gave me helped form me into the teacher I am today.”

As stated on the University of York website, the vice-chancellor noted that the university is increasingly placing efforts to make a difference to the local community at the heart of its taught curriculum, using their long standing experience of developing community projects that link to academic disciplines. He referenced two credit bearing modules based on the idea of “community engaged learning” that were launched in September (public history and sustainability clinic) with plans for two more next year.  

Chair of the university’s community volunteering committee, Professor Matt Matravers, said: “University of York students have an impressive and longstanding tradition of volunteering and community engaged activities and we are delighted by the numbers of students that continue to give their time to support the wider community.

“Supporting so many aspects of life in York, this year’s awards recognise time spent working with groups from nursery-school age to older citizens, and on issues from environmental impact to cost of living support.  

“The university is, as always, immensely proud of the contribution our students make to the City of York and beyond”. 

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