20,000 Hours of SOUL in 2018
In 2018, UTS students logged an incredible 20,160 hours of community volunteering through UTS SOUL Award and a record 150 SOULies graduated from the Award program.
UTS SOUL Award is an extra-curricular social leadership program run by UTS Shopfront at the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion where students complete 90 hours of volunteering in the community sector and a series of workshops around social issues, leadership and project management.
Here are a few stories from those 20,000+ hours.
Shancy Chen volunteered 200 hours with the Welfare Rights Centre, a role which, she says, “Exposed me to the flaws in the social security systems and the areas, such as the pension system, which require urgent reform.”
Through her volunteering, Shancy says she came to realise the “importance of advocating for social change and in assisting the most disadvantaged groups in navigating the complexity of the legal system.”
Portia Watson put her dance skills to good use - spending 88 hours teaching adults and children with disability how to dance with Danceability Australia. Portia says the experience helped her to see, “Disability is not a person’s defining feature. Everyone has personalities and emotions that are not determined by their disability.”
During 2018 Mei Lin Liu raised more than $8,000 for WaterAid Australia, an organisation determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. Through her volunteering, Mei Lin saw that, “generous and kind-hearted people do exist and are willing to give back to society.”
However, a highlight was getting to hang out with Masterchef Adam Liaw!
It doesn’t happen often, but Spanish exchange student Inigo De Juan Razquin managed to complete the UTS SOUL Award in only one semester through his volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Australia, Lentil as Anything, Create Foundation and DigiVol.
Working as a citizen scientist with Digivol identifying Australian wildlife, Inigo reckons he now can identify the Eastern Grey Wallaby by the colour of hair between its ears. As well, he thinks his volunteering activity with Conservation Volunteers and Digivol have made him “a bit more Australian.”
Three SOULies - Patrick Young, Helen Ngo and James Downie - spent 2018 working for people affected by imprisonment and targeting the abuse of authority against other vulnerable individuals who are incarceratedthrough Justice Action. Together they contributed almost 300 hours of their time with Justice Action advocating for the rights of people detained in prisons and hospitals.
Changing Women’s Lives in Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, one in 17 women die as a result of pregnancy related issues. During 2018, Erica Sufani volunteered as the Communications and Social Media Assistant with the Aminata Maternal Foundation that empowers women in Sierra Leone focusing on maternal health and the creation of sustainable communities.
Erica says volunteering in this role was a unique opportunity as she worked closely with the CEO and Chair of the Board, which gave her a deep insight into how not-for-profits and charities are run at higher levels of management.
Other organisations where SOULies volunteered in 2018 included:
Amnesty International Australia
Assistance Dogs Australia
Asylum Seekers Centre
Broadway Food Coop
Cancer Council NSW
Conservation Volunteers Australia
Food Bank NSW
Girls Programming Network
Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter
Marrickville Legal Centre
NSW State Emergency Services
Orange Sky Australia
Our Big Kitchen
Positive Life NSW
Pyrmont Ultimo Landcare
Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre
The Smith Family
Starlight Children’s Foundation
Surf Life Saving NSW
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Sydney Story Factory
Take Kare Safe Spaces
Ted Noffs Foundation
The Fred Hollows Foundation
Welfare Rights Centre
Western Sydney Homeless Connect
Women’s Community Services
Youth Action NSW