Students Staff

18 February 2013

Ambitious week of student volunteering hailed as a big success

Colchester Campus

A group of University of Essex Volunteers

University of Essex students are celebrating after completing one of the most ambitious volunteering projects in the county’s history.

Over the course of last week, more than 200 students from the University of Essex Students’ Union’s volunteering network, vTeam, ran a staggering 19 volunteering projects, delivering help and support to hundreds of local people.

Projects ranged from renovating community meeting rooms to teaching local school children about Chinese New year and giving part of Greenstead a facelift by painting a row of 14 unloved garage doors.

Student volunteers also braved wintery conditions to build a wooden causeway through marshy woodlands in Alresford, allowing residents to enjoy this pretty spot, and undertook a mammoth clean-up of the riverbank in Wivenhoe, rescuing everything from ‘For Sale’ signs and desks from the River Colne.

“This week has been the most ambitious challenge we’ve ever taken on, particularly because of the bad weather”, said Keith Rowland, Community Volunteering Manager for the University of Essex Students’ Union. “The fact that our volunteers were out every day in such high numbers just shows the extreme dedication that students at this University have for making a positive difference to local people’s lives.”

The Students’ Union’s vTeam initiative runs volunteering projects throughout the year, supporting everyone from local schools and nurseries to charitable trusts and homes for the elderly. So far this year a record 800 students have signed up to volunteer through the vTeam.

One such student is Nastasia Alexandru, a 2nd year, Combined BA Sociology with Human Rights, who gave up her time to volunteer with Art Club and feels that she has benefitted from the experience, “Volunteering through the vTeam has been a really important part of my time at University and has given me the chance to do something good for others at the same time as picking up new skills for my CV, which is something that I know more and more employers are looking for. Seeing a smile on the faces of all the people we’ve helped this week has definitely made all of the effort worthwhile.”

The week also benefitted a number of charities and good causes. “Students from the University of Essex have generously given time and effort into assisting Action for Children to complete a range of fundraising activities, including helping with our Big Egg Hunt in London’s Covent Garden last week”, said Lyndsay Wood from the Action for Children charity. “The volunteers were all very friendly and willing to help, and without their energy and dedication our event would have significantly less impact. We look forward to working with volunteers from the University again in the near future.”

Notes to Editors
A high resolution picture of the vTeam can be downloaded at:

To find out more about the vTeam’s achievements last week, for interviews or for further photographs please contact Keith Rowland in the Students’ Union on 01206 878953 or

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