In my ongoing series detailing all the jobs I have done, I’m slowly getting through the back catalogue. I have done quite a few volunteer jobs down the years and haven’t got round to writing about them all. They are a great way to meet people, help others, improve yourself socially and mentally and you normally get some great perks too.
In 2004, I was living in Bournemouth and while life was busy working as an ice cream seller in Spring and Summers, in Winters I stuck to Hotel work and working in a local shop. But there was so much going on in Bournemouth at the time. Through working for some of the Students Union projects, a few opportunities came up in other aspects of Student Life. You might have read that I took part in the Big Brother Spoof, called the Lock In, I also did the Nerve Radio shows on FM, wrote for the Student magazine and headed out to the forest for a weekend in the wilderness in a secret location (a University TV show called “Locked Out”).
But for a week in September 2004, I was a volunteer and a member of the”Union Crew” also known as “Welcome Crew”. For some, moving away from their families, parents and home town for the first time can feel daunting and scary. You’re out on your own. Since I have personally never felt like that, I sympathised with those who did, so I signed up as welcome crew to help make the new students feel at home in their new surroundings.
We played games with the new students, walked around bars chatting to them and making them feel happy and comfortable in their new place. As a bonus with each shift, you got free entry into the nightclubs and I think some beer tokens, so everybody was a winner.
I recently found my shifts and folder from my time as a Union Crew Rep and I recollected fondly about it. I worked/volunteered for four shifts including handing out keys to new students and making them feel at home in the student accommodation.
Shift 1 – Saturday September 25th 2004: Hurn House 9 am – 12 noon handing out keys, welcoming students.
Shift 2 – Sunday September 26th 2004: In Bar Heat 11 am – 2 pm welcoming students, chatting to them, answering any questions they wanted about student life as well as handing out the remaining sets of keys to them.
Shift 3 – Thursday September 30th 2004: Outside the Talbot Campus Shop again helping answer questions to new students and handing out keys and tickets to the (Re) Freshers Ball.
Shift 4 – Friday 1st October 2004: In the Sports Hall helping set up the place for the (Re) Freshers Fair.
We got to keep our red t-shirts as well from when we were welcome crew and I still have mine and have worn it on my travels! There was also a big night of partying in the Old Firestation nightclub and while I couldn’t find my personal photos from it, I kept the University Magazine which shows some of my fellow crew members on the nights out we had.
I also met two other Northern Irish people in Bournemouth through it – Aaron Adams and Kylie Bell and we watched a few Northern Ireland matches together. In case you wonder why I only did this job once, well it’s only once a year for a week in Bournemouth University that they have the (Re) Freshers Week. in 2005 I was a supervisor in the ice cream stands by the beach and I worked right up to October so I had no time for in. In 2006, I was living in London and in 2007 I was out backpacking, so the chance never arose again for me.
I enjoyed working/volunteering with the Union Crew and recommend everyone to indulge into activities like this. They are good in so many ways – helping others, making new friends, socialising, perks, confidence building. Good memories. My feature in the Bournemouth University Alumni Site this year and I try to visit my old university now when I return to the seaside town. We had a reunion in September 2015 to celebrate 12 years since we first studied there.
Here are the list of my friends that were fellow Union Crew members with me: