Article written by Tay Whelan, Birmingham City University LLB Student.
There are many volunteering opportunities as a law student, or just as a student in general. Your university or college may have opportunities already waiting for you, where charities or organisations are specifically searching for student volunteers. Examples of this include ‘Support Through Court’ which takes on volunteers who can assist clients with the court process, as it can be an intimidating one. It also offers volunteering in the form of taking phone calls, being an adviser, and attending virtual court alongside the clients. Additionally, your university may have a law clinic, where you can volunteer alongside qualified solicitors who advise and assist clients with queries they have. This is a way that legal help can be more accessible to the general public. As a student, it exposes you to a lot of real-life situations and how the law is applied in different cases and scenarios.
Fundraising for charities or non-profit organisations that are close to your heart or hold importance to you is a great way to spread your own personal vision, but also get involved with your university and your community in a way which integrates them both. Within your society at your university, which you most likely do have, it is a good idea to propose a fundraising event to donate to these charities or organisations. It can be anything as simple as a cake sale or similar. Other ways of fundraising individually include getting involved with runs or marathons, a well-known one being the London Legal Walk and the London Global Legal Run, which allows NQ solicitors, students, and those within the legal sector to get involved. Reaching out to friends and families or displaying your involvement on social media will allow you to gain better outreach and potentially more donations.
Christmas is an exciting time for everyone, with thousands of kids and families waking up on the 25th to an abundance of gifts, presents, and chocolates under their tree; however, Christmas isn’t all fun and games for everyone. We must think about those that are unhoused on Christmas day, those who do not wake up around their family, and those who aren’t showered with treats. If you do not have time to spare on Christmas day, which is fair enough, then consider donating gift boxes to charities or festive foods to food banks. If you do have time on Christmas day, many local non-profit organisations need volunteers to help with serving Christmas dinner to those who do not have family or a warm place to celebrate.
Joining a society within your student union often opens up many doors for opportunity, such as pro bono work or fundraising for specific charities and organisations. Many unions have an Earth Society, which holds many events aimed at litter picking or general clean-ups. They also educate students on how to minimise your carbon footprint in order to save the environment. Likewise, every society has a different aim, and many make it a goal to tackle social issues in the local area.Your SU will expose you to volunteering opportunities and ways that you can help other students, even those in local secondary schools, including tutoring or mentoring. Student Hubs, for example, is a national charity that works with universities to set up on-campus volunteer work and allows students to create initiatives in order to tackle social issues within their community.
Not only will getting involved in your community look good on your CV, but it will also give you a new sense of feeling accomplished as you know that you are doing good for the world. It will benefit you and the people around you, and give you many opportunities of which you would have not been shown otherwise.