Why do you do it?

Volunteering as a development opportunity

Professor Karen Cox in ceremonial attire, standing behind a lecturn at the Congregations event
  Uni of Kent: "VC" by Uni of Kent.

When I tell people about the activities I’m getting involved in across the organisation, I often get asked ‘Why do you do it?’ so let me tell you why!

Every year I get involved in a number of activities here at Kent which fall outside of the requirements of my role and outside of my working hours. Usually, when I’m telling people that I’m doing these things at least one person will ask ‘Why?’ or sometimes I’ll even get something along the lines of ‘but you aren’t getting paid, so why would you do it, are you crazy?.’

So, what events do I get involved in and why?

 University Congregations ceremonies

Working mainly with staff and not regularly interacting with students, it’s great to take part in the celebration of the core purpose of the organisation – seeing students successfully graduate. I help usher, in the beautiful cathedral setting showing families to their seats, providing directions and generally providing a customer service. It really is a lovely evening to be part of each year. An All-Staff email goes round every year asking for volunteers to help and I really would encourage you to give it a go. If you are interested in volunteering at congregations please drop¬† congregations@kent.ac.uk an email. Congregations events run in July and November each year at both Canterbury and Medway campus’.

Arrivals Weekend

During ‘Arrivals Weekend’ I work with colleagues in the Estates team undertaking traffic management. Over the course of two days we have approximately 5000 students arriving on campus, bringing what seems like everything including the kitchen sink into their accommodation. Many bring multiple cars onto site and/or make multiple drop-offs meaning we have ALOT of vehicles to manage with limited parking capacity. Our role is to keep the traffic moving, managing unloading times, providing directions to registration buildings and allaying the fears of parents as they say emotional farewells to their children. It’s a fantastic weekend – great fun, full of camaraderie, a touch of adversity and occasionally some appalling weather but again it helps connect me to the core purpose of the university and allows me to network with colleagues I don’t usually get to meet. If you fancy getting involved in the fun of ‘Arrivals Weekend’ please contact transport@kent.ac.uk

Volunteering is fun!!!

I also get involved in volunteering outside of the organisation. I have great fun each year supporting our local Canterbury Pride event, where I act as Volunteer Manager supervising other volunteers on the day and helping the organising Committee to plan and set-up prior to the event. To support my personal interests, I volunteer as a crew member at Comic Cons, providing customer service and information support to attendees. These activities can prove to be pretty challenging but each also have their own opportunities for personal development or simply gaining a sense of satisfaction, not to mention having a great time. Networking (I’ve made some amazing friends), communication, customer service, confidence, planning & organisation are just a few of the skills that these events have helped me with over the years.

Sometimes the tasks aren’t so glamorous…………..

Yes that is me all gloved up, ready to clean the portaloos at Canterbury Pride!

but sometimes there are some interesting perks………………

yes that is Jason Mamoa holding me in a headlock (I’m not sure I’ve ever looked happier!) and yes that is Dr Who (the 10th Doctor – David Tennant)