Building lifelong friendships via volunteering at RGU

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at RGU through our Student Union’s societies, groups, and networks. International Tourism Management student Alessia shares her experience volunteering with our sustainability group Go Green and building strong friendships along the way.

Starting my volunteering journey

Volunteering is not only a way to give back to the community but also an opportunity to create meaningful friendships. I’ve always wanted to engage in the local community and spend some of my free time helping others. However, usually, I’m either too busy or there are not many opportunities.

So, in September 2022, when I came back to RGU for my final year, I made sure to attend the Fresher’s Fair knowing that some of the Go Green members would be there to recruit more volunteers. I came across this society in first year and I’ve always admired their effort in making a difference by raising awareness on climate change and doing what they can to improve the situation. For example, they run a swap-shop (Kaim Shop), rent bikes, garden, and collaborate with the university to create a more sustainable campus.

Volunteering with Go Green

The really good thing about this society is that members can contribute to social and environmental causes in multiple ways and with flexibility. For example, students can volunteer in Kaim Shop by sorting out donations and creating awareness on the benefits of second-hand items on the environment and on the economy.

Furthermore, volunteering is an excellent way to develop new skills and hobbies, try new things and turn challenges into opportunities. During the first semester, before my schedule became crazy busy between assessments and work, I offered to help out in the shop giving availability for a couple of hours per week. This not only helped me to feel good about myself by knowing that I was contributing to a good cause, but it was also a nice way to relax and distract myself from the assessments while still being productive.

Building friendships

One of the most significant benefits of volunteering is the chance to meet new people. Whether it’s working with a team on a project or engaging with people during events, volunteering allows us to connect with individuals coming from different backgrounds and enrich our lives.

When we volunteer, we are often surrounded by like-minded individuals who share our values and passions and who can add value to our experience within the community and outside. These connections can lead to friendships that go beyond the volunteer work itself. Due to the pandemic, I was only able to join Go Green in my final year but I’m very happy I did because I met amazing people who definitely contributed to my self-improvement.

My favourite memory

My favourite experience that I shared with the committee was actually the first time I volunteered with Go Green. It was the Friday before the lectures started, we met next to a bridge in Torry and spent a couple of hours collecting litter along the river. There were only four of us so it was very easy to get to know each other.

When we were done for the day, we decided to grab some food together in a local coffee shop and that’s where I met the rest of the committee and other members. Among the six of us, we were all from different countries and all invested in sustainability and keen on actioning in own our ways.

Our friendship started that day and it’s still ongoing. We are all very different people but, at the same time, we share some similar interests and goals. In multiple ways, these experiences can help us grow as individuals and offer opportunities for personal development. Each one of ‘The Girls’ has added something to my experience. Whether it is additional knowledge or new ways to see things and approach challenges, it really made the difference and made my final year at RGU unforgettable.

In conclusion, volunteering and friendship are a powerful combination. Volunteering not only gives us the opportunity to give back to the community but also to form meaningful connections with like-minded people. These connections can lead to lasting friendships that enrich our lives in countless ways. So why don’t you give it a try? You never know what new experiences are waiting for you and who you might meet.

Alessia Scagliotti

Have a look at the RGU:Union website to see what opportunities are waiting for you!

Related blogs

RGU Go Green – Join a group advocating for sustainability

Volunteering at RGU – Everything you need to know

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