Student Stories

Learn about the benefits of volunteering from past student volunteers

Why did you start volunteering? What skills did you gain? How has it or will it help you in your employment? KeeleSU wants to hear from you. Email if you're interested in featuring on this page.


Student Stories #1 - Alana on Volunteering  

Find out what Alana had to say about why you should get involved in volunteering.


Student Stories #2 - Erin on being a Volunteer First Aider

Erin tells us all about her experiences as a first aider in the local community.


Student Stories #3 - Tom on Sustainability Volunteering

Tom talks us through sustainability opportunities on and off campus.


Duwaraga Manoharan - Current student

Since joining Keele, I have been involved in a wide variety of volunteering opportunities. One of the first things I volunteered was with the Trentham Monkey Forest where I helped to clear the pathways of the forest. This was so that there was nothing on the paths such as sharp tree branches that can potentially injure either the monkeys or the humans. I then tried my hand at dog walking - something that I never did before as I don’t have a dog. I was surprised at how calm I was at walking the dogs. I then went on to volunteer within the university student community such as volunteering in the library and with HallsLife. Before I came to Keele, I did not know much about the local area apart from the fact that it was near Stoke-on-Trent and it was in the Midlands. With volunteering, I was able to get to know the local area a bit better. I had the chance to visit the Monkey Forest near Trentham Gardens, Greyhound Gap, an animal charity in Kidsgrove that rehabilitates Greyhounds that are no longer racing and a local care home where I did arts and crafts with some of the residents.

With HallsLife, I was able to get more involved with the Student community. I help out during the Welcome Weeks in September where I provide information about activities such as quiz and film nights that happen throughout the year. These events are aimed to help new students integrate better into the Keele community.  I hoped that these events have helped students settle into their Keele and make the most out of what Keele has to offer. Through volunteering, I have learned to become more proactive, confident as well as improving my communication skills - both verbal and non-verbal. Examples of where I have used this has been on the committee for various societies such as Harry Potter, Sri Lankan, Guide Dogs and the Keele Sci-fi and Fantasy Society (Skiffy). I hope to put these skills to good use after I graduate and enter the world of work.


Ryan Stanyard - Graduated in 2018

"Before University, I was sceptical about the role of volunteering, but honestly, volunteering has been an essential part of my development whilst at Keele. Not only has it sharpened my skill-set, but it has allowed me to work with a range of individuals and teams to make a genuine difference. This has ranged from being part of international initiatives to promote STEM whilst overseas in Malaysia, through to mentoring new students and starting up new Networking initiatives at Keele, representing the university at NUS Conferences, University Challenge, or even things as simple as being a Course Rep (SVR) or Dog Walker! Every difference counts, and what you take from the volunteering at the end of the experience is something you just can't quantify.

What's more, your involvement makes a difference - I spent three months working at the Visitors' Centre at HMP Stafford, where they are reliant on volunteers to provide a safe visitation service for family, relatives and friends of inmates. Our volunteering efforts earned us all the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, myself included! If that's not enough of a reason to get involved, all of these efforts look great on your CV, and you also stack up to earn Volunteering awards here at KeeleSU. Having spent over 2,000 hours on volunteering over my three years at Keele (many many unlogged!) I've attained all of the awards available.

I've made valuable connections, memories and encountered challenging situations that overall put me in a position where I'm leaving with a competitive CV and a broad range of experiences to draw on for future situations, whether this is for formal interviews for further work or study, or additional volunteering in the future. It's safe to say without the volunteering I've engaged with, it would have been all that harder to attain my Master's place at King's College London as well as various Consultancy roles and Internships whilst at Keele."



Elizabeth Fordham - Current Student

“I have always volunteered, I started before university, so it was natural for me to continue at university especially as the team has offered so many different opportunities that I many not have had otherwise.

I think students should volunteer for loads of reasons: It’s fun, you get to meet new people/make new friends, it’s something different (outside of your course/societies), you can do it on your own or with friends/peers, feel good knowing that you have helped people and made a difference, volunteering looks good on your CV, you learn lots of new skills that help in all areas of your life.

It’s easy to sign up and lots of the activities are on campus so you don’t have to go far, plus you can often just sign up for 1 hour.”