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YUSU Elections 2017: Alice Driver & Jasmine Pledger (Volunteering Officer)

Image: the University of York Students' Union, edited by The Yorker
Image: the University of York Students' Union, edited by The Yorker
Image: the University of York Students’ Union, edited by The Yorker

Alice Driver and Jasmine Pledger are running together to become the Volunteering Officers of YUSU in the 2017 elections.

What inspired you to run for the position?

Last year we both held positions on the Volunteering Committee and it was really interesting and also fun to help plan sessions and activities for students. Within this role we also loved chatting to students about their past volunteering experiences whether that was in York or back at home. We just have a real passion for volunteering from our own experiences and we decided to run for this position so we can share this passion with the aim to get more student’s involved in volunteering and emphasise how important it is for personal development as well as careers development.

What makes you different from the other candidates?

Our roles as Events Coordinator and Treasurer have given us knowledge on how volunteering operates at York, which we can use if we were to be elected. As a result of this, we not only have great proposals that we wish to implement, but our inside knowledge gives us the advantage in knowing how we are going to put them into place and make volunteering more successful and make volunteering inclusive to all.

As there are two of us running for this position, it also means we can put double the amount of time into this role too!

How would your policies change student life at York?

For those students that have wanted to get involved in volunteering but have had concerns about the long term commitments that comes with some of the projects (side note – we are fully supportive of these projects but know that some people are already involved in so much or have work and academic changes each week so might not be free every Wednesday at 3pm for example), we want to implement ‘Make a Difference Days’ which will be held fortnightly giving the students the opportunity to get involved in one off events that still gives them experience for their CV.

What challenges do you expect to face in this position and how will you respond to them?

We expect it to be a challenge to get student’s who haven’t previously volunteered to engage with volunteering, we believe this is especially the case for second years and onwards as they are less likely to engage with fresher’s fair where many of the projects take on new members etc. In order to combat this we want to make sure our Make a Difference days are open to all and make sure information is available to both freshers and other years. 

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

Jasmine: One of my favourite parts was Langwith Refreshers 2016. I hadn’t seen my flatmates over Christmas so it was really nice to be back living in York again, and refreshers felt like we were celebrating the end of January exams, and we were all getting along considering at the end of Term 1 when we last saw each other, everyone was a little bit stressed out with end of term deadlines, so it was nice to do something social!

Alice: My most enjoyable part of Uni was meeting a variety of people from different backgrounds. I’ve been able to meet all these people by joining in with college events and different sports and societies. 

Why should students volunteer?

As well as it being important to gain volunteering experience skills for CV’s and to be more employable, the most rewarding thing about volunteering in our opinion is the difference it makes, whether that is to people, animals or anything else in-between! This morning we volunteered at Tea and Coffee Club and had an opportunity to chat to elderly residents living in York. We find opportunities so important as it’s not only bridging the gaps and helping to reduce a stigma of young people/students, but also just chatting to the residents about our studies, home life and their stories provides a contact for those that are disconnected or isolated within society. All of this is just really rewarding, we only gave an hour of our time, but it can potentially make such a huge difference to their lives.

As told to Amy Banister