You know, I can answer this question by just re-reading the Union’s page ‘What is Imperial Plus?‘ and paraphrase the things I read there.
However, I figured that would not be as interesting (and as easy) as me just writing on what Imperial Plus has meant to me so far, and what experiences I’ve had until today.
I initially learned of the Imperial Plus (let’s abbreviate it to IP) scheme in an e-mail from Imperial before the Autumn term started. Of course, I read the page linked above, but I finally understood it when I attended a volunteer fair in the Great Hall in the South Kensington campus on the 13th of October, 2015.
Community Connections (CC)
There, I met the current Deputy President of Education, Chun-Yin, who answered my several questions on IP and CC.
I believe there were more than 20 organizations in the room, and they all had links with Imperial College, facilitating connections that Imperial students can make with these organizations based around London. This is Community Connections.
In the fair, I spoke with representatives of the numerous orgs., which mainly included charities. Through the process of jotting down my e-mail several times and saying I’d return to sign a form, there was one charity that I had a strong interest in – Kith & Kids.
I believe I already touched up on what the charity does and aims, but I really appreciate their slogan: supporting disability – focusing on abilities.
It is through CC that one is able to find organizations they may be interested in, and through the IP scheme, an Imperial student can log the hours he or she has spent volunteering with that organization.
As an IB Diploma Programme graduate, I have gone through the struggle of recording my CAS (Creativity-Action-Service) hours and later reflecting on all my volunteering activities. However, if it wasn’t due to the pressure I got from initially seeking places to obtain hours, I would not be volunteering as much as I do now.
Volunteering is actually one of the things that makes me happy.
The logging of hours can be done through the Imperial Union website, which every Imperial student has access to with their usernames and passwords.
It’s different from what I’ve become used to in the previous 2 years, but it’s simple and I guess it gets the job done. However, if I could improve it in a certain way, I would like to upload images of my volunteering experiences/memories with the organizations I volunteered with so that a collage can be automatically made, and possibly be used as a template to print a certificate.
Don’t you think it’s a good idea?
Imperial Plus Workshops
After having volunteered with various organizations back home and a few here in London, I feel that I have gained certain skills and traits I did not have before having my first set of hours signed
-I have become less fearful of approaching a stranger and promoting a cause.
-I am able to speak to new people I meet with more respect and attention.
-I have become more conscious of how I distribute and balance my time.
These are just a few things, but I could go on.
What I like about the IP scheme is that there are workshops in which an Imperial volunteer, but I believe a student in general as well, can learn about volunteering skills so you can develop them.
They’re a total of 6, and at the time of writing this, I have attended 4, but my most favourite one was Personal Effectiveness. You can find out about them here.
Students can get recognized with certificates for the time spent and achievements met through volunteering.
They mainly require the student to complete a set number of hours, but one specifically requires writing reflective assignments based on 4 of 6 workshops attended.
Last term there was a celebration evening that I attended, though I hadn’t achieved the minimum number of hours for the first certificate yet. However, it was interesting to meet other volunteers at the event and hear of what they do for volunteering. I also got a chance to speak to the current President of the Union, Lucinda, and meet a recent MEng Biomedical Engineering graduate.
What was most surprising to me was that some students completed 100+ hours in just one term! I find that very difficult to do, so kudos to them.
I’m currently working toward the Volunteer Accreditation certificate, which requires me to have recorded 100 volunteering hours (66.50/100 at the time of writing this) and write 4 reflective assignments based on volunteering experiences or activities and the workshops I attended.
At the moment, I’m part of the Student Volunteering Week (Feb. 22nd – 28th) team at Imperial, and we’re working on several projects to do throughout the week and until then. Stay tuned for an update!
-Franz T. C.