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Students go 'barking' mad for Volunteers' Week

29 May 2008

University of Manchester students will be celebrating World Environment Day (5 June) and national Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) with a city centre Tree-Athlon in Exchange Square, on Thursday 5 June.

Manchester students on tree-lined avenue
Manchester students on tree-lined avenue

Student volunteers from the University will be joining forces with Manchester City Council and Global Xchange volunteers currently over from Malawi to raise awareness of the importance of trees in urban spaces, and celebrate the difference volunteers make to the community.

Student volunteers will be bashing Himalayan Balsam in Didsbury, then heading to the city centre to don tree outfits for a Tree-Athlon, which promises to be memorable and environmentally significant event.

Students will be involved in a range of events during Volunteers’ Week organised by Manchester Student Volunteers (MSV), part of the MLP, Careers & Employability Division of the University.

Andrea Grace Rannard, MSV Manager said: “Thousands of students at the University volunteer each year, and the events we have lined up for Volunteers’ Week will demonstrate the ongoing commitment of students and the University to make a positive difference to the community.”

As part of Volunteers’ Week celebrations, five Manchester University students have been awarded Student Volunteering Gold Awards from national body Volunteering England for their exceptional efforts.

Second-year Physics student Rachel Walsh gained her Leadership award for leading the University to victory as Rookie Champions of the Year at the recent national Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) UK competition. Rachel and her fellow student volunteers worked incredibly hard to established a SIFE team at the University and develop enterprising projects in the community.

Final-year Psychology student Rebecca Kelly won her Leadership award for leading a 15-member strong Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Relay For Life student committee. Now in its second year at the University, Rebecca and her team raised over £10,000 for the charity by organising a 24-hour community relay to increase awareness of the disease.

Final-year Mathematics and Physics student Jill Merrett was also recognised for her work on the SIFE team, and Andrew Smith, third-year Earth Science student, and Kyriakos Hadjikypris, final-year Economic Science student, were awarded for their work with Student Action Group for the Environment (SAGE).

Many of the student volunteers and award winners are also part of the University’s Manchester Leadership Programme (MLP), which combines an academic unit, focusing on socially responsible leadership, and 60 hours of voluntary work within the community.

Notes for editors

1. Images are available on request.

2. Media are welcome to attend the environmental events on Thursday 5 June. Contact Andrea Grace Rannard on 07980 84 00 21 for more details. The best times for photo opportunities are 9.45-11.30 for the Himalayan Balsam Bashing at Simon’s Bridge, Ford Lane, Didsbury; and 12.30-13.00 for the Tree-Athlon in Exchange Square.

3. All of the five students and Andrea Grace Rannard are available for interview on request.

4. Volunteers Week, 1 – 7 June, is the UK’s annual celebration of volunteers and volunteering, and plays a huge part in raising the profile of England’s 22 million volunteers while encouraging others to get involved. www.volunteersweek.org.uk

5. Student Volunteering Gold Awards are a national Volunteering England award to mark exceptional student volunteers. www.volunteering.org.uk/WhatWeDo/Student+Volunteering/Get+Involved/STUDENT+VOLUNTEERING+GOLD+AWARDS.htm

6. Manchester Student Volunteers (MSV), part of the University’s Manchester Leadership Programme, Careers & Employability Division, links students with the local community through volunteering, events and course projects. www.manchester.ac.uk/volunteers

7. The University’s Manchester Leadership Programme (MLP) combines an academic module with 60 hours of volunteering. www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/mlp

8. Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international not-for-profit organisation working nurturing the entrepreneurial skills of university students in a way that is both effective in developing their future careers and meaningful to the community. www.sifeuk.org

9. Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life is a 24-hour community event to celebrate the lives of people touched by cancer and raise money for the vital work of the charity www.cancerresearchuk.org/relay

10. Student Action Group for the Environment (SAGE) is a collaborative environmental group of students and staff from Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University, and Manchester City Council.

- CONTACT -

Andrea Grace Rannard, MSV Manager

MLP, Careers & Employability Division, The University of Manchester
0161 275 2828 / andrea.rannard@manchester.ac.uk