How volunteering with Enactus taught me something new about myself.

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by Irene, MSc Human Resource Management

It’s important to take advantage of the many extracurricular activities available at UWE Bristol. There’s something for everyone, from sports clubs to societies, and even volunteering opportunities. Here’s my experience of volunteering with the social enterprise society, UWE Bristol Enactus.

How to find volunteering opportunities

A few weeks after I started my course, I decided that I wanted to get involved in volunteering. My goal was to get involved in an activity that would relate to my course, which at the time was BA(Hons) Business and Human Resource Management. So I wanted to look at volunteering opportunities in business and admin related roles, but particularly in human resources (HR).

UWE Bristol Volunteering Fair

I attended the UWE Bristol Volunteering Fair on Frenchay Campus, which takes place every year, early in October. There were a huge number of stands from different organisations and volunteering opportunities in areas such as supporting sustainability, helping animals or roles in the museums and heritage sector.

The Fair was an excellent opportunity to network with people. I talked with many representatives from different organisations. Although I didn’t find what I was looking for personally, I would still highly recommend the Fair to everyone. It’s a good opportunity for students to get an insight into the volunteering sector and what it has on offer, plus you’ll also get some freebies.

Finding opportunities through InfoHub

Then, I kept an eye on InfoHub, which is the University’s careers services website. The site advertises job vacancies and other opportunities to UWE Bristol students and graduates. By the end of October, I found exactly what I was looking for on this site – a volunteering opportunity in HR.

This opportunity was available through the social enterprise society, UWE Bristol Enactus. I was mainly attracted to this job due to the skills and experience I could gain in HR, as well as for the social aspects of being part of a society.

In my opinion, extracurricular activities can really help you to meet new people and help you to gain new skills. These experiences can really help you to build your CV as well.

The highlights of UWE Bristol Enactus

I found the weekly meetings really inspiring. Most societies hold a 2 hour weekly meeting, which aren’t mandatory to attend, but I would encourage students to attend the majority of them. Being around determined people who really believed in the cause empowered me.

Regarding the social aspects, we attended some social enterprise activities together, such as a 3-day hackathon by the BBC. This activity was a good opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs from the University of Bristol, as well as professionals. We also organised a Christmas meal and I was invited to some of the other members’ birthday celebrations too.

What I learned from volunteering with Enactus

Reflecting on this experience, I feel that until I joined UWE Enactus, I wasn’t aware of my ability to be a creative and an entrepreneurial individual – this ability had been hidden, waiting to be discovered.

After my first year with Enactus, I applied through UWE Bristol Enterprise to get a grant to try out my social enterprise idea and I was awarded £500. Although that specific social enterprise idea didn’t work out, I learned a lot from the experience.

I’ve now been running my own business for two years. That’s why I would encourage students to get involved in these sort of opportunities as much as possible – you never know what you’ll gain from them.

My advice to you would be to try out different activities that interest you – you have nothing to lose and potentially so much to gain.

Find out more about innovation and enterprise at UWE Bristol.

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