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UCL events news and reviews


Volunteering and networking at the i-Rec 2015 conference

By ucyow3c, on 22 July 2015

pencil-iconWritten by Jacopo Spatafora, MSc student at the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

i-Rec 2015 conference

i-Rec 2015 conference
(Image courtesy of Jacopo Spatafora)

It’s the beginning of July. While writing my thesis, I receive a forwarded e-mail from my friend, Helen: “Might be of interest – i-Rec 2015, held at UCL from 6 to 8 July. Volunteers needed for organising event.”

Wondering if sacrificing three valuable study days for an event was sensible or insane, I signed up…

i-Rec is an international conference, taking place every two years since 2002. It is a meeting point for practitioners and academics specialising in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

A multifaceted event

The UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit, with global expertise in disaster-related practices, joined i-Rec 2015 to help share its research, comparing ideas based on past findings and future trends.


Creating Connections 2

By news editor, on 8 June 2012

John Braime, Volunteering Services Unit

What happens when you put a roomful of academics, postgrad students and other UCL staff together with people from London’s community and charity organisations?

In the spirit of curiosity, this is exactly what we did on 30 May at Creating Connections 2, held in the Roberts Building Foyer at UCL. The idea was to find new and unexpected areas for collaboration between UCL and local communities.

In a way, it was a bit like speed dating – with all of the uncertainty that that format entails. Could we find a happy match between a mathematician and a youth group, an archaeologist and a refugee charity, a librarian and staff at a nature reserve? We were determined to find out.

The event itself was the product of some creative connecting – between UCL’s Public Engagement Unit, the Volunteering Services Unit and local resource swapping network Camden Shares.


UCL commemorates over 36,000 hours of volunteering this year

By news editor, on 8 June 2012

Andrew Chapman, 4th year Medicine

Members of UCL FoodCycle and UCL Marrow

On the evening of the 31May, the Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) held its annual volunteering awards ceremony in the Roberts Foyer, UCL Engineering Building.

This celebratory event is now in its ninth year, and recognises all of the many student volunteers and the time they have generously given over the year. The event was certainly well attended, and we were honoured to host many distinguished guests, including Mayor of Camden Heather Johnson and Vice Provost (Education) Professor Anthony Smith.

John Braime, Volunteering Manager, began his opening address by reminding everyone just how important student volunteering is for bringing together volunteers, staff and people from the community. He passed on a massive thank you to all student volunteers for their hard work and time so kindly donated.

Torch bearers
Amy Evans gave an address, in her role as UCL Union Sabbatical Officer (Student Activities), and recited one of the nominations sent to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) for three of our students to be torch bearers in the Olympic Torch relay this summer.

She was delighted to tell us that all three would be bearing the torch over the coming months. She also noted the work done by UCL Women’s Rugby, for which they had won an award.

Crowd shot

Professor Anthony Smith commented on the dramatic increase in the number of volunteers over the past 10 years and even put it into figures, saying that 1,550 volunteers had given more than 36,000 hours this year. This was equivalent to more than nine years of work, if put in by just one person. He recounted some of the positive feedback the VSU had received from representatives in the community, also noting the skills that volunteers had developed during the course of the year.


Looking back (and forward) at student volunteering

By news editor, on 6 February 2012

UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit is marking a decade of facilitating student volunteering with a photographic exhibition in the South Cloisters.

The VSU has also produced a document – Student Volunteering: UCL’s Commitment – that outlines the university’s ongoing dedication to voluntary services. Ben Davies was at the joint launch event on 30 January.

Twenty-two photographs currently line the walls of UCL’s South Cloisters. Taken over 10 years, they show a variety of seemingly mundane activities: individuals gardening, having a cup of tea and a conversation, or preparing some children for a game of netball.

The scenes depicted are of the everyday, but they are also hugely important, for they are scenes of the minutiae that many of us take for granted in our lives, and without which we would be lost: company, conversation, welcoming surroundings and fun.

For the past 10 years, UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit has harnessed and encouraged the energy of the university’s students in helping to provide these often underappreciated necessities to those, both in the local community and further afield, who cannot access them easily.