As a student at Croydon College, you will be joining an institution with a remarkable legacy of volunteer projects that have had a major impact on local, national and international communities. Last year alone, over 1,500 of our students volunteered 28,000 hours - lobbying, campaigning, fundraising, awareness-raising and even representing young people at the UN.
We want you to use your time as a student at Croydon College to make your own contribution to that legacy which future generations, in their turn, will nurture and make their contribution to. As a student at the only UNICEF Rights Respecting college in the UK, you are encouraged to recognise the importance of giving your time to others.
In 2014 the College received the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service – the first college in the country to receive the honour, in recognition of our students’ excellence in services to the community. Becoming a volunteer will give you a sense of pride and achievement which will encourage you to aspire to achieve your own goals.
Volunteering helps you, too
Our students say it:
- encourages them to develop skills and confidence to undertake activities they have not considered before;
- exposes them to new and often challenging situations which develop their ability to research a subject, enable them to travel, develop skills that can be applied in their studies and open their eyes to the work of organisations in the local community;
- develops their social awareness and sense of responsibility;
- helps them to become more effective operators due to the training they receive in areas such as student-led decision-making, group work, project-planning, time management, research skills and community networking;
- is an invaluable asset when entering the job market.
Our students have:
- represented UNICEF UK at two events at the United Nations in New York;
- visited Westminster to lobby Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey on climate change;
- been invited by UNICEF UK to meet Home Secretary Teresa May at Westminster to propose improvements to the Human Trafficking Bill;
- taken part in the Commonwealth Flag Ceremony at Buckingham Palace;
- contributed to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals;
- met anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Prince Charles to discuss student volunteer projects;
- worked on projects on a wide range of issues, including domestic violence, female genital mutilation, homelessness and bullying.
Recognition: awards to compete for
The Pledge Award asks you to identify a challenge that is sufficiently demanding but also achievable, and which reflects the ethos of the United Nations Charter.
Your involvement will:
- encourage you to become more confident, self-aware and to take responsibility for your own learning;
- stimulate your ambitions and broaden your horizons;
- encourage you to develop your potential as a responsible citizen in the workplace, the community and society.
Student Life Open Badge is an online representation of the skills you have acquired working through a set of activities. There are a variety of badges you can gain at the College covering a wide range of activities, achievements and skills. A crucial element of earning a Student Life Open Badge is developing key employability skills and recognising your personal development.
I will is a national campaign that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020. As the only UNICEF Rights Respecting College in the UK the principles of the ‘I Will Campaign’ have already been fully embedded across the College through the Student Life Programme of volunteering and the Pledge Awards. A pledge from the College has been made and states that:
- Ensure that all students at Croydon College take responsibility to contribute to the local, wider and global community as a member of society. Student led social action projects in 2014/15 included:
- A range of activities organised to support Age UK with invited guests attending an intergenerational 'Tea and Fun' and the 'Big Lunch' events.
- A student led Disability Fun Day with local school children.
- Lobbying local MPs to support the Child Trafficking Campaign.
- Supporting the Borough Food Trolley with over 2,700 items collected to support vulnerable families during the Christmas period
- Develop autonomy in our students and empower them to shape social cohesion in innovative ways, forming collaborative relationships with other communities in order to bring about social change, whilst developing essential skills for life. Projects included:
- The Student Anti Bullying Group working across the college body to ensure that students are aware of the college and local support services available, and the UNICEF Steering group worked alongside UNICEF UK to promote the Children in Danger Campaign.
- A new group of students have become Domestic Violence Youth Ambassadors have joined with borough Domestic Violence team to promote the importance of healthy relationships across the college body and also in local schools.
- Acknowledge the democratic process of the College's representational structure to ensure that all students are responsible for using their voice to take action on issues of concern to them whilst promoting the college ethos that 'everyone matters'. Projects included:
- ESOL student led a project called 'Speak out for Change' developing their public speaking skills on issues of concern to them.
- As part of the college drive to promote the importance of the elections, students were encouraged to take responsibility to use their vote as part of the democratic process.
- All the curriculum enrichment classes participated in an interactive lesson that highlighted how they can influence change by using their vote. Each lesson culminated in a vote for the current election candidates as part of the College Mock Elections.
- A group of students who are first-time voters met with a reporter who was writing several election supplements for The Times on voting which gave them the opportunity to give their views on the elections.