The Low-Down on Being an Inspiring Leaders Intern

Hey! I’m Ellen Fearon, a final year Law & Politics student at Queen’s University, Belfast. Along with my studies and being Vice President of Enactus Belfast, I’ve also gotten the opportunity to work as a student intern in Volunteer SU this year! I started in September, and let me tell you it’s been a hectic and incredible few months! I have the role of being Volunteer SU’s Inspiring Leaders Intern. Inspiring Leaders is a programme for students volunteering in positions of leadership, supporting them to develop their leadership skills and rewarding them for their volunteering efforts.

You don’t often get to hear people saying that they love their job, but trust me, I love my job! As ridiculous as that sounds, I’m going to give you some insight into all the cool things I got to do this month that will explain why I love it:

Application reviews - students are amazing!

After reading over 150 of the applications for Inspiring Leaders, I was so blown away by how incredible some of the volunteering that students do in their communities and in Queen’s is! We have students running clubs and societies, going above and beyond in their roles as course and school reps, & volunteering in their local communities to improve the health and living standards of those around them! All of this while keeping up with uni work & maintaining a social life …… I think a round of applause is in order. In any other situation, I’m sure reading 150 applications might become a bit monotonous, but every person’s experience in volunteering was completely unique, and it was so clear how much this experience meant to people!

This is one of my favourite parts of the job.  Getting to read about student’s passion for volunteering and leadership is so worthwhile! What’s even more amazing, is getting to be a part of the process of rewarding them for their efforts!

Dunadry Hotel Residential

One word: phenomenal. Despite helping to set up and welcome the leaders and students at this, I also got the opportunity to be one of the participants on the Inspiring Leaders November Residential. First off, it was really heart-warming to see all the other students enjoy the 2 days away at the Dunadry Hotel so much, after helping to organise it for the past few months. I know a few people who made friends for life through the programme which is a massive reason it’s always so successful!

On my part, I meet some amazing people and had so much fun finding out about my own personal leadership personality and bonding with people who are so similar to me in this way! It was also really cool to get to meet different leaders coming from business backgrounds, politics, community work, academics and student leaders too! I got some fantastic advice that I can use in everyday life & learnt what leadership is really about!

I also had some really nice food & drinks but that seems slightly less important… thankfully there were no hangovers!

I also get the opportunity to be involved in other initiatives within Volunteer SU…

Homework Club Co-ordinators Forum

This is hands down one of my favourite things that I’ve gotten to do in the last month.  I was asked to sit in and take notes in a forum with all of the amazing people who co-ordinate the different Homework Clubs that Volunteer SU partner with.  Just getting to sit in on this meeting, meant that I too got access to Volunteer Management training delivered by Volunteer Now which was really inspiring and helpful to me! I also got the opportunity to record some really positive feedback on the tutoring that our Homework Clubs volunteers do across Belfast.

Ps. Getting coffee & tray bakes from Café Krem doesn’t hurt at all.

Cavaliers in Need Cuddles!

Ok, so, honestly I wasn’t overly involved in this but I feel like any chance to play with dogs during your work day deserves a mention! I got to take some cute photos of the pups during the Cavaliers in Need Festive Cuddle Day… which got me in the festive spirit and took away all the stress from my uni work! Every day is different in Volunteer SU and small stuff like this really makes me appreciate that this is a really unique opportunity!



5 Reasons Why Being a Volunteer SU Intern is So Good!

Hey! I’m Ryan Lavelle, a second year Philosophy with Politics student here at Queen’s. I’m also a student intern in Volunteer SU where I get to help other Queen’s students find their perfect volunteering opportunity. I work specifically on the Homework Clubs initiative which allows students at Queen’s to help local children and young people build their study skills and confidence. What I like most about my role is promoting the value of service and volunteering throughout my own university whilst also helping fellow students develop themselves personally and professionally.

I’ve only been an intern in Volunteer SU for two months. Two months isn’t that long of a time, but I already feel like I have accomplished so much and have fitted into the team really well. From the office banter, to the unbelievable amount of emails, to the tea breaks, it’s all been good – and as I look at my (busy) calendar for the upcoming academic year, I’m excited for what’s ahead. Here are five reasons why I love being a student intern in Volunteer SU:

1. The new (temporary) Students’ Union building!

As some of you may know, the Students’ Union has temporarily moved from its old location, opposite the Lanyon Building to two locations nearby.

As much as I’d like to say that I spend my time in The (new) Speakeasy, myself and my Volunteer SU colleagues are situated in the office on the 2nd Floor of Students’ Union Elmwood. It’s pretty great, although it was daunting at first walking in as the newbie intern. After a week or two it felt like normal and everyone has been ace. We’ve also been doing Volunteer SU drop-in sessions since the start of the semester every Monday at 2-3pm, so if you’re reading this and you’re curious about what all we do here, pop in and we can have a chat – don’t be afraid of coming on in, if I can do it, you can too.

2. The pizza!

Anyone who has been to a Students’ Union event before might know that Domino’s pizza is the heart and soul of our lunchtimes. In October we had our Homework Clubs Induction Training an initiative I am particularly involved in) and aside from booking rooms, facilitators and so on, I knew ordering the pizzas would be the make or break decision. How much is too much? How little is too little? Do we need vegetarian pizzas? Vegan pizzas? In the end we ordered 42 pizzas. That’s a lot of students and guests to feed, but we did it and it worked a treat. Anyone interested in Homework Clubs can read about it here, or you can come to our drop-in session with any queries – we are recruiting for Homework Clubs volunteers again in the run up to Christmas, so keep an eye out for the application going live!

3. Meeting new people!

When you start a job with the Students’ Union, you better be prepared to meet loads of new people. One second you could be having a conversation with a senior figure within the University and the next you could be listening to questions from an enthusiastic, excited fresher. Since joining as an intern, I can’t begin to count how many people I’ve met – the rest of the Volunteer SU team, Enterprise SU, Marketing, the Student Officers, Homework Club Co-ordinators, representatives from Belfast City Council… the list goes on!

4. The merchandise and freebies!

Upon starting as an intern in Volunteer SU, Lucia – my new boss – gave me and fellow intern Ellen goodie bags full of Volunteer SU merch and freebies that have literally saved my life at times – shout out to the spaghetti measurer! If you saw us at Freshers’ Fair, you may have got a few freebies yourself. If not, I’m sure you’ll see our stall again at various events throughout the year….. with an abundance of pens, lanyards, note pads, highlighters, card holders, and, of course, spaghetti measurers!

5. Helping other students find their perfect volunteering opportunity!

At the heart of my job is helping Queen’s students to find their perfect volunteering opportunity, so that they can give back to the community whilst also developing their own personal skills. Although I am officially the Homework Clubs Intern, I feel valued in a whole team of people who work together in promoting different volunteering opportunities to students. I have volunteered myself previously in my local community as a Millennium Volunteer (and still try when I can), so I’m quite passionate about having and promoting a strong volunteering ethos. Being a student intern in Volunteer SU allows me to do just that, and it’s great! Volunteering can lead you to great places, allowing you to meet a whole bunch of people that may one day become your best pals - so why not try it this year?

Volunteer SU Logo

Drop-In Session

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Mondays, 2-3pm 

Lucia Kearney
Volunteer SU Manager

phone icon 028 9097 3951
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address icon Second Floor
Students' Union

Vivienne Courtney
Volunteer Support Officer

phone icon 028 9097 3305
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address icon Second Floor
Students' Union

Margarita Petkova
Volunteer & Community Support Officer

phone icon 028 9097 3277
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address icon Second Floor
Students' Union

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