Did you know that many Warwick societies run outreach projects in the local community? From leading music theatre workshops for young people or running English conversation club with refugees to raising awareness about global issues in primary schools, Warwick societies’ members have a big impact in the community around campus. This week, to celebrate societies’ community engagement, we’ve invited Amy from Warwick ChemSoc to tell us more about their outreach projects and how much she’s enjoying her volunteering experience.
This article is published part of the Creative Warwick campaign.
“Volunteering has become an important part of my university life thanks to Warwick ChemSoc and its outreach programme, which gives students the opportunity to make a difference in the local area. I have been involved in outreach since my first year of university and intend to continue in the future, as it’s such a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
“For key-stage 2 students, ChemSoc run the Inspire Science Club, where students can conduct their own science project over the space of five weeks, and we are currently working with younger students too- visiting them every week to teach them about rocks, soils and fossils. Outreach also organise DoTryThis@school, a scheme that is run in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry in order to encourage students to choose scientific subjects and possibly consider a future in science.
“Then there’s the Inspire demonstrations, (my personal favourite) where we get to show the children the wonders of dry ice, and also run a ‘household chemistry’ session. This includes fun experiments with regular products that can be found at home- think vinegar and bicarbonate of soda volcanoes and lots of mess! These workshops are so much fun for the children (and the volunteers!). It’s great for the children to get hands on with science, and they never fail to be amazed by dry ice.
“However, the Warwick ChemSoc Outreach team doesn’t just organise for volunteers to run demonstrations and classes in schools in the local area. There are so many other areas of outreach to get involved in, from showing students around the undergraduate labs at the university to the recent Xmas Science gala, which was a huge success.
“One of my outreach highlights from the last year was definitely the Big Bang Fair, held at Coventry’s Ricoh arena. With everything from live demonstrations to interactive workshops, the fair encouraged local children to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths. ChemSoc ran two stalls at this event- one workshop making ‘milk art’ where the children learned about surface tension, and another large area dedicated to our infamous dry ice demonstration. Hundreds of children visited us throughout the day and it was a great experience to meet so many budding scientists! Not only this, but the day really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Presenting a demonstration to a small class in a local school is one thing, but presenting to a crowd of fifty was more than a little daunting! However, I think this is one of the best things about volunteering- not only do you make a difference to others, but you also get to challenge yourself and achieve things you might not have thought you could.
“Over Christmas I was also involved in ChemSoc’s second annual ThinkScience conference, which aimed to inspire sixth-form students by inviting them to campus for a day of mini-lectures from Warwick’s very own academics. It was interesting for me to see the planning that goes into organising such a huge event, but it was even better to help out on the day! Members of the outreach team introduced lectures and helped make sure the day ran smoothly. Most of all, it was great to interact with the students that came to campus, and the idea that we might have inspired at least one to consider studying a scientific degree is so fulfilling!
“When it comes to volunteering at university there is really something for everyone to get involved in, and I would definitely recommend that they do!
Find out more about ChemSoc on their website: warwickchemsoc.co.uk
Your society could also get involved in the local community! Whether you wish to set up a new project or need support with an existing one, get in touch through our society volunteering page.