Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Volunteer's Week : A huge Thank You to all our Alumni Volunteers

Students at the Quad
Wednesday 1st June 2022

Volunteers’ Week gives the Development and Alumni Relations (DARO) office the opportunity to celebrate the time and effort that alumni volunteers have given to Queen’s over the past year.

Running from June 1 to 7 annually, Volunteers’ Week allows us to acknowledge the amazing contribution of all our volunteers, whether they are helping to bring together alumni on campus and around the world or setting new students and graduates on the right career path.

Ian Moore, Head of Alumni and Supporter Engagement, said:

“Alumni volunteers make an incredible difference. Each and every volunteer gives their time and expertise so generously.

"They are amazing role models, highlighting how graduates can maintain links to their former classmates and friends as well as forging new connections with the next generation by helping Queen’s, and members of the Queen’s family, advance to fulfil the immense potential that exists.

“Thank you. We are hugely grateful to all our volunteers for the support that you continue to give to Queen’s University.”

We’d like to highlight the work that our alumni volunteers invest into Mentoring, providing Placements, Recruitment, Association Governance and providing a Profile.

Mentoring

Alumni mentors provide essential guidance to current students, recent graduates and staff on their career options and skills in their field.

Working across all kinds of subjects at Queen’s, mentors use inside knowledge of their industry to pass on the tricks of the trade, inspiring mentees to be confident and enabling them to take advantage of exciting opportunities in the world of work.

Mentors provide a supportive framework to students, which can be hugely beneficial in terms of professional and personal development, while affording both mentors and mentees the chance to build their interpersonal skills and develop their networks.

Providing Placements

When alumni introduce us to their organisations, opportunities are uncovered that can benefit both the organisation and current Queen’s students through placement opportunities.

This can range from one-week placement, to a summer internship, or to a full-time paid placement during the academic year. Work-related learning can even occur virtually, with individual or groups of students.

Many academic programmes already involve a work-related study module, which many students consider to be valuable experience gained as part of their degree. As well as the professional development opportunities, students and graduates also have the chance to experience the work culture of their prospective employer.

Working with alumni, Queen’s can develop bespoke employability programmes which help to build a strong connection with the university, creating a mutually beneficial relationship for employers and potential future employees.

Student Recruitment

Queen’s alumni also give back to their alma mater by sharing their experiences with those considering studying at Queen’s, demonstrating the value of a degree from Queen’s in their chosen industry directly from someone who has attended the University.

As a volunteer in this key area, the individual graduate may speak at online recruitment events, stand with us at careers fairs or network with potential students at virtual events. 

This provides invaluable support to the University’s recruitment teams, helping to inform and inspire the next generation of students living locally or from around the world. 

Association Governance

Once they leave Queen’s many graduates miss the buzz of the campus and keeping up with the life of the University. Alumni associations and chapters bridge the gap between Queen's graduates and the University all around the world. 

These groups are run entirely by volunteers, who take up the challenge of arranging an events programme which appeals to all alumni, ranging from informal get-togethers and sports events to lectures and ‘black-tie’ dinners.

The largest network is the NI-based Queen’s Graduates’ Association (QGA), which is open to all graduates and final year students of the University. There are also networks in Scotland, Dublin, London, the US, China and many other cities and countries, all led by committees of passionate volunteers who care deeply about Queen’s.

Profile Provision

Many graduates volunteer their personal endorsements for specific courses or qualifications that they have undertaken at Queen’s. Sharing their experiences with others potential Queen’s students, often working in very similar careers, can help to sell the advantages of a particular professional qualification or degree course. 

An alumni profile, detailing their career path, can be massively beneficial to students starting out in the same field. Volunteers can often provide a current student with a road map for their future career, highlighting pitfalls to be avoided, opportunities that they may not currently be aware of, or even flagging up extracurricular activities which will make a CV stand out from the crowd.

DARO also recognises the efforts of exceptional volunteers through the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award. The current holder is Andy Wells, who has dedicated much time and enthusiasm to rowing at Queen’s over the past 50 years. The 2022 Alumni Volunteer of the Year will be announced shortly.

Alumni Relations Volunteer Manager Natasha Sharma, who has been working with graduate volunteers for over a decade, commented:

“The dedication, loyalty and contribution of alumni volunteering always impresses me! 

“Volunteering is making a huge contribution to Queen's - to our students, to our staff and to our young alumni. So I would like to say a very sincere thanks to all our alumni volunteers who are so important to the University. You are all amazing!”

For general enquiries about this story, or to submit graduate news items, please contact Natasha Sharma, Alumni Relations Manager, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast.

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