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Why we give our time

Alumni volunteers helping at an overseas event in Pakistan

We asked our alumni why they decided to volunteer for the University.

"Try and remember how you felt at that age - were you aware of all the opportunities and options available to you?

It's almost like being asked, what advice would you give your 18 year old self? You wouldn't have necessarily listened, but at least you would have been armed with a lot more information to go out there and explore the opportunities. There are very few times in life where the world is your oyster; and this is one of them - try and help students understand that (almost) anything is possible."

Kim Rowell (Broadcast Journalism 2006)

"I think it is really important for students to see where they could be in a year or a couple of years and give them a bit of a push to make the most out of the opportunities that are on offer. I think Leeds offers many opportunities for students to shine, so they just need to own them and embrace them and I think it is good for them to hear that from someone else who is not their parents."

Ralitsa Padalaska (Communications 2013)

"I really loved my time at Leeds University and wanted to give back. It's also an opportunity to share some of the stuff I've learnt over the years since graduating, that I think is worth sharing - especially around enabling people to think about their future pathways in different ways. That is, giving them the opportunities to consider alternatives to the standard career paths. A nice bi-product is that I've managed to recruit some students and graduates to volunteer on community/social projects I'm involved in or aware of. It is such a cliché, but it's good to give. As Churchill said, 'we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.' I've specifically found volunteering at Leeds University really positive."

Ed Carlisle (English 2002)

"We all needed a bit of support at some point to get on in our careers, whether that is someone we worked with or someone from the alumni network who was there to offer advice and help us be the leaders that we are now. If I can offer that opportunity to just one student in the cohort each year and help them decide how they can best fit into the work place, then that is a great thing. If you can find just a few hours, it is an incredibly rewarding thing and you never know who you are going to meet at these events. I've made some great contacts and new friends from the business community through coming to these events. While I get some personal reward through supporting the students, it can be quite beneficial to your business as well."

Martyn Nagle (MBA 2007)

"I love Leeds. It is one of those cities where I had such a fantastic time as a student and I have such an affection for the city and it is just so nice to come back and do all of this. To give something back as well to the University, it is something that studying here, having the opportunity that I did at the time that I did was really quite special, to be able to contribute back, then I think it is a really great thing and I'm very happy to do it"

Rebecca Hodgson (Arabic and German 1991)

"It is very rewarding when people feedback that I've helped them make important decisions about their future, or even just given them additional options to consider. It is also a good way to keep in touch with what is happening at Leeds"

John Aldred (History 2000)

"I think anyone who studied here has the ability to help other students through imparting knowledge about their area of work, through imparting life experience and also just through talking. I think as a student sometimes the world outside can be really baffling. Particularly at a point of great political upheaval, great cultural upheaval and great digital upheaval. One of the best things I've found has been being able to talk to people who have been in that position and to be able to talk to them about what I do now and how I can get to where I want to be. Like any network, the University alumni network is great for that. It is also really good to meet people who were in the same position that you were maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago. Being a student is different in 2017 to how it was 20 years ago in terms of technology, but many of the issues are still the same. Students still face challenges around money, around emotion, they face challenges around friendship and learning to adapt into living on your own and I think it is refreshing to be able to realise that those challenges are still very present 20 years on.”

Rowan Collinson (History 2001)


A volunteer says:

"The commitment is not significant but you can really get a lot out of it."

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