UCD in the Community Volunteering Awards recognise students for exceptional service
Posted 8 November 2023
Over 60 UCD students involved in volunteering activities have had their outstanding contributions to society recognised at the UCD in the Community Volunteering Awards.
Given to those students who have excelled at making a positive change to the University and the wide community, the recipients of the 2023 awards are at the centre of running UCD sports clubs, societies, class rep and peer mentorship programmes, as well as actively contributing to UCD’s strategy ‘Rising to the Future’ through their external volunteering endeavours.
In a special ceremony this month in the UCD Global Lounge 61 students from across the University were recognised for their outstanding contribution to society through volunteering.
There were three award categories available to UCD students, Bronze (20 hours of volunteering), Silver (40 hours of volunteering) and Gold (60+ hours of volunteering).
Gold Awardee Andrea O’Reilly (BSc Physiotherapy, Year 3), Riley Colson (BSc General Nursing, Year 3), Silver Awardee, and Richard Otroshchenko (DN710 Economics, Year 2) Bronze Awardee spoke about their personal volunteering experiences.
|Abhinav Jindal||Graduate Entry Medicine||Year 2|
|Advayta Zadoo||MSc. Data and computational science||Masters|
|Aishling Flannery||Economics||Year 3|
|Aisling Maloney||Law with Politics||Year 2|
|Alan O'Donnell||Mechanical Engineering||Year 2|
|Amit Wasnik||MSc Information Systems||Postgrad|
|Amy Roche||Sociology and Social Policy||Year 3|
|Andrea O'Reilly||Physiotherapy||Year 3|
|Chris Hastings||Psychology||Year 3|
|Ciara Coughlan||Business and Law||Year 4|
|Ciara Donohue||General Nursing||Year 2|
|Clíona Beirne||Animal and Crop Production||Year 2|
|Connor Stack||MSc of Human Rights||Postgrad|
|David FitzGerald||Business and Law||Year 4|
|Deborah Akinlolu||Food Science||Year 4|
|Ethar Al Matar||Medicine||Year 2|
|Grace O'Donnell||BSc Psychology||Year 2|
|Hania Ibrahim||Medicine||Year 3|
|Hannah Kate Costello||BSc Social Sciences||Year 2|
|Jenitta Maria Jimmy||Radiography||Year 3|
|Jinzi Zuo||Digital marketing||Postgrad|
|Jonah Glowatz||International commerce||Leave of absence|
|Ka Yuet Emily Siu||Medicine||Year 4|
|Kevin Brady||Cell and Molecular Biology||Year 4|
|Lakshmi Palavesam||Master of Public Health||Postgrad|
|Mohammed Hassan Obaidan||Medicine||Year 2|
|Mohannad Khalid A Ahmad||Medicine||Year 3|
|Olga Telnova||MSc Supply Chain Management||Postgrad|
|Priyanka Saini||Physics with Astronomy and Space Science||Year 1|
|Rónan Brennan||Theoretical Physics||Year 3|
|Rossa Gilsenan||Social Justice and Sociology||Year 3|
|Soumya Arora||Law and Politics||Year 3|
|Tia Cullen||General Nursing||Year 2|
“This was a truly transformative experience and definitely one of the best six weeks of my life so far,” said Andrea, who volunteering in a rehabilitation camp for children with special needs (spina bifida, hydrocephalus, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy).
“There is a big stigma associated with having a disability in Uganda. Many of the mothers think that there is some pill or cure in Western society that will 'fix' their child. A lot of what we were doing was addressing their concerns and beliefs and educating the mothers around their child's conditions.
“What made my volunteering experience was the people. This was made, not only by my fellow volunteers, which were a remarkably like-minded group, but also the local Ugandans. We forged strong connections and learned so much from them. Their unwavering spirit and warm welcome was incredibly touching.”
|Beyza Ozbek||MSc Digital Marketing||Postgrad|
|Claire Doherty||Sociology and Social Policy||Year 2|
|Hayfa Fatima Soobratty||Undergraduate Medicine||Year 4|
|Iva Sharma||Bsc Computational Social Science||Year 1|
|Jane Creevy||Dn750||Year 3|
|Jason Lee||Commcerce International - Chinese||Year 2|
|Katie Caffrey||BSc. Human Nutrition||Year 2|
|Riley Colson||BSc General Nursing||Year 3|
|Yiling Sun||Economics & Finance||Year 2|
Silver Awardee Riley Colson, part of the UCD Volunteers Overseas Society and who helped setup ‘Conversation Cafes’ for Ukrainian refugees to improve their English, said one of the most rewarding aspects of their volunteering had been “witnessing the transformation in the lives of those I've had the privilege to work with”.
“Through this experience, I've come to realise that making an impact isn't always about grand gestures; sometimes, it's the consistent acts of kindness that create lasting change.”
“I think that’s part of why I’ve really enjoyed volunteering with UCD’s St. Vincent de Paul society,” said Richard Otroshchenko. “Every night feels important, most of the people you help are so genuinely grateful, and it just feels like I’m making a positive and important contribution to my community.”
|Aditya Reddy Billur||Undergraduate Entry Medicine||Year 3|
|Aimee McFadden||Children’s and General Nursing||Year 2|
|Aisling Kearns||Law with Social Justice||Year 3|
|Alshema Mousa||Architecture, Urbanism & Climate Action||Postgrad|
|Chloe Ní Mhurnáin||Integrated Nursing - Children's and General||Year 2|
|Emma Casey||Psychology||Year 3|
|Jonas Kager||BSc Economics||Year 2|
|Matthew Hamer||History & Politics||Year 2|
|Miranda Bauer||BA Modern Languages||Year 4|
|Mohammed Hassan Obaidan||Medicine||Year 2|
|Rachel O'Dwyer||BA Joint Honours in English and Irish||Year 3|
|Raveena Dwarika||Medicine||Year 4|
|Renzhula Na||Digital Marketing||Year 1|
|Richard Otroshchenko||DN710 Economics||Year 1|
|Shania Lee||Medicine||Year 2|
|Vedanti Borate||Msc. Data and Computational Science||Postgrad|
|Wen Xin Bong||Bachelor in Commerce||Year 2|
Volunteering activities honoured at the UCD in the Community Volunteering Awards included UCD based activities, like the UCD Saint Vincent De Paul Society, UCD Festival, UCD Peer Mentors, UCDSU, UCD Green Campus, UCD Lyons Farm, University Observer, Enactus UCD, The College Tribune, UCD French Society, UCD Traditional Music Society, UCD Karate Club, UCD Volunteer Overseas, UCD LGBTQ+ society, Student Legal Service Society, UCD Alumni Volunteering, and UCD Literary and Historical Society.
Outside of UCD, students contributed to community organisations such as Jigsaw, Oxfam, 50808 - Text About It, Children in Hospital Ireland, Dublin Simon Community, National Council for the Blind Ireland, Foodcloud, Culture Night, Dublin City Volunteer Centre, St Patrick's Festival, South Dublin Community Volunteers, Gorm Media, Saudi Students Club in Ireland, Enable Ireland and SAOL Women’s Project.
Friends and family of the awardees were welcomed to the ceremony by Professor Joe Carthy, Director of UCD in the Community, who thanked the awardees for their contributions and encouraged them to continue volunteering into the future.
Guest speaker Associate Professor Hilda Loughran, from the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, spoke about the importance of volunteering as a means of social inclusion and the value of volunteering in building student’s sense of belonging to the UCD community.
The UCD in the Community Student Volunteering Awards were established in 2020 with the aim of celebrating and recognising student volunteering in the community and in UCD activities, such as clubs, societies, peer mentoring, class representatives and the SU.
The Awards draw on a strong tradition of student volunteering in UCD, both on and off campus.
For more information on the Awards, visit here.
By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Theresa O'Leary, UCD in the Community)
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