This week, Georgia, a Music and Spanish graduate, talks about her experience with a month-long volunteering opportunity with Headingley LitFest in her final year. She gives an insight into her role in the project, and shares what the benefits are from volunteering alongside your studies.
My role volunteering at Headingley LitFest:
This year I took part in the Headingley LitFest as a volunteer. This month-long project had a number of different opportunities, and the committee were very happy to accommodate the volunteers’ desires and needs. I helped out with the setting up of a couple of events, as well as writing a review of the film screening event Jauja. I also played a significant role in the promotion of events through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
Previous experience required:
Absolutely none! Headingley LitFest are just looking for some friendly faces that want to engage with the local community and experience the rich literary heritage right on our doorstep.
Why Headingley LitFest was such a great opportunity:
Landing this opportunity could not have been easier! After an initial meeting with a committee member, I was ready to start promoting and writing.
Throughout the festival I was introduced to some of Yorkshire’s greatest authors, poets, musicians and many more. A particular highlight for me was the Women of Mystery event, which was a panel of some incredible crime writers, and we as an audience had the chance to unravel their processes and inspirations. I also got to meet and get to know more of the local community, to meet people who had lived in Headingley their whole lives, and it was a pleasure to hear their stories. And of course I got to make friends with other students I had not met before. Overall, taking part in the festival was an incredibly enriching experience.
The benefits of volunteering:
Not only was volunteering great fun, but also I had the chance to develop some useful skills for my CV. Being involved in the social media campaign meant I could improve my problem-solving skills, as well as developing my initiative and creativity. A lot of the time I had to think outside the box to find a way to promote particular events and engage students that would be potentially interested in attending.
The lovely thing about volunteering with Headingley LitFest is that you aren’t just randomly assigned to events: you get to decide which events you’d like to see, and then you help out as much as you want to. You also put in as much as you want to get out: you can just help put out some chairs for one event, or you could attend every event and write as many blog posts as your heart desires!
While most of the students involved in Headingley LitFest study English (which obviously makes sense for a literature festival) the project involves a much more diverse range of events which can appeal to many different degree programmes. As a student of Music and Spanish I managed to find a few events that covered both aspects of my degree!
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to get into volunteering! Many students believe that it’s too much commitment, but honestly, The Volunteering Hub has such a wide range of opportunities, you can always find something to suit you (yes even you, final year students!)