Why did you decide to volunteer on the One-Off programme?
Volunteering is one of my hobby which I like the most and try to do during weekends both warwick volunteer On and Off programme. During volunteering, not only I help people around me but also I learn a lot from them, make new friends from different parts of world, learn different culture, ideas, skills and many more. As I am a postgraduate research student and mostly involved in independent study therefore do not get much time to work with groups of people. Therefore, by volunteering I can spend my weekend by interacting with group of local community or fellow university students and gain self-confidence to work as a team. Most importantly, volunteering gives me happiness and joy!
What have you gained from volunteering?
As mentioned, volunteering allowed me to mix up with diversified group of people, make new friends, learn their skills, and share mine too. I learned a lot from each activity.
Like in case of –
- Hedge laying - Learned from Coventry locals to make a natural hedge as a boundary
- Woodland path clearance – Learned to clear away forest path for people to walk through thick woodland. It gave me an idea to distinguish between old and new tress branches and techniques of cutting down old ones
- Planting bulbs – Learned the technique of digging soil and putting plant bulbs
- Chinese New Year Celebration – One of the best of mine, I learned about Chinese culture, calligraphy, crafts making and more importantly dumplings!!
- Canal Clean-up – Learned how to find an object inside water by Coventry local people. Most interestingly the need to keep our surroundings clean
- Canley Pop up café – Bringing local people close and motivating them to know each other and socialise
- Himalayan Balsam – Learned the removal of Himalayan balsam plants which eat up a lot of water and fertilizer from ground and harm other plants nearby
- Arts in Park Festival in Lemington Spa – Learned team skills, setting up stalls and assisting local visitors
- Kenilworth Dog Trust – Taking care of dogs, and understand their behaviour, I enjoyed this one a lot!!
What difference do you think you have made to the community?
I believe even though it might not have brought a huge difference but by planting at least one plant bulb and spending time with local people and dogs might have brought some positive changes among every one of us. It may be small positive effect but it motivates us to volunteer further and contribute to the society where we are staying.
What is your highlight / best memory from your volunteering experience?
My best memory (kind of funny) is from Kenilworth Dog Trust programme, where during second half of day, my friend, Rui and I were given the responsibility to play with dogs inside their kennel. During that time, there were about 20 people (as visitors) came there to see dogs in their kennels as a part of their tour. When those people reach our kennel where my friend and I were playing with dogs, they were very surprised and amazed to see “people inside kennel playing with dogs”. We all started laughing among ourselves since we were on other side of the kennel door sitting with dogs and people watching us from outside.
What advice would you give to students who want to get involved?
I would recommend to students that Warwick Volunteers is one of the best platform to meet new people, integrate with local community, and know their culture, festival, food etc. During weekends there is always some volunteering opportunity and students should try to participate in them. Like in my case I was able to know how in England people care about their natural biodiversity (hedge laying/Himalayan balsam/planting bulbs), social celebration not only home but also international festivals too (Chinese New Year). Last but not the least, do enjoy volunteering and at the end of day do have some good memories to share with your friends and family.
Name: Ishwar Kapoor
Year of study: Second Year
Subject of study: PhD in Engineering