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QMUL Student: Candice Basson

Monday 10 October 2016

Candice won the Volunteer of the Year award at the Students’ Union Volunteering and RAG Awards 2016, for the dedication she has shown to the local community through volunteering. She has been volunteering with East London Scouts for two years, where she has been working to innovate and make scouting an amazing experience for the children of Bow and Poplar.

What subject do you study at QMUL?
I’m currently studying for an MSci in Particle Physics, but I was in the third year of my undergraduate course when I won the award.

When did you first start volunteering with QMSU?
Towards the end of my first year I wanted something to do over summer and a friend suggested scouting. I got in contact with a Scout Leader through QMSU’s volunteering site and have volunteered at a few more places this year.

Can you tell us about the most memorable volunteering project you’ve done this year?
It’s going to have to be Scouts. More specifically, it’d be the swimming gala. Kids from all groups and all ages enter to compete for the district. We didn’t have that many entered for our Cub or Scout group but somehow our group came second for both sections! It was an amazing surprise and we were all so proud and excited.

How has your two years volunteering with East London Scouts been?
More rewarding and exciting than I expected when I first signed up. I expected to enjoy it but I wasn’t sure about taking on that level of responsibility while at university. Luckily I had some great mentors who made me feel welcome and were happy to help. We’ve had a lot of fun times and I’ve found scouting to be very much like a second family.

Is it difficult managing academic university work with volunteering?
It was definitely more of a challenge when I took on the role of Cub Leader instead of Assistant Leader during my third year, but it’s been worth it. I wouldn’t go back and change anything, except starting earlier. Volunteering, especially with Scouts, has given me a chance to grow more confident which has greatly benefited my studies, for example when it comes to doing presentations.

How did it feel winning the Volunteer of the Year award?
I was shocked to even be nominated/shortlisted and started to think there must be someone else with my name at the university. To actually win the award was amazing and strange. I’m not sure it’s really sunk in yet, although I can’t say no to having something shiny.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining QMSU Volunteering?
Definitely give it a try! There are so many different organisations linked with our university and many are happy to have you try it out before committing to anything. There are also a lot of one-day opportunities if you’re worried about the time required. The QMSU Volunteering team are a great set of people so there’s also that bonus.

What else do you like to do in your spare time?
The last year there hasn’t been a lot of that due to projects and taking over Cubs, but recently it seems to be running after my family’s new puppies, who are adorable, but will take up every second of free time you have.

Do you have any special plans for your future?
Ideally I’d like to stay in academia and research in particle physics.

Bronwen Eastaugh, Volunteering Coordinator in the Students’ Union commented on Candice’s achievement: “It’s amazing how much Candice has contributed to the local community through her three years as a student at Queen Mary. Students like Candice are really an inspiration, and she has been an outstanding representative for Queen Mary and student community volunteering. Congrats to Candice, and all students who’ve dedicate their time to volunteering this year.”

Take a look at some photos from the Volunteering and RAG Awards 2016: www.qmsu.org/blogs/blog/volunteersblog/2016/06/06/Volunteering-Awards-2016

If you’re interested, find more information on volunteering at: www.qmsu.org/volunteering

And don’t forget, there’s volunteering fair at the Mile End campus on Wednesday 19 October: www.facebook.com/events/1233043286727278

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