Have you ever thought about volunteering?
The second year of my degree includes a module called Community Engagement, which requires me to do at least thirty hours of volunteering with a local sustainable development project. Some people think it’s unfair to expect us to work for free when we’re paying £9,000 per year for the pleasure. I do see their point, however they’re not really taking it in the spirit it was meant – I think it’s very progressive; it’s a good way of putting our theoretical knowledge into practise. Also, I’ve wanted to do volunteering for ages but I’ve just never had the time, what with paid work and education. This allows me a space, you could almost call it a justification, for doing it – because I get graded on my contribution and that grade will go towards my final qualification.
It’s completely up to us to find a placement, and I’ve already chosen mine. I’m going to work with a local group called Hanover Action for Sustainable Living (HASL for short). I wrote about them on Earth Baby awhile ago, when I first found out about them. Basically, they’re a smallish group of friends and neighbours from part of my city. They raise awareness about how to live more sustainably and why it’s important that we do so. As far as I can gather, they hold film screenings, get guest speakers to do talks, and they have a community vegetable garden where they hold weekly gardening drop-in sessions and workshops.
It all sounds really cool, and hopefully I’ll meet some lovely environmentalist friends as well! I’m planning to try and do a bit more than gardening, like maybe I’ll offer to help organise some events or something. I also thought I could take photos of the garden every week and post them on this blog. Although to be fair it’ll be winter soon so they might not be too impressive.
Anyway, in response to my email they told me to come along to their next group meeting, which is on Tuesday at 8pm. I haven’t met these guys in person yet so wish me luck!