Bangor University Peer Support Volunteer of the Year 2015 Awarded
When mention was made that the Peer Guide to receive the Peer Support Volunteer of the Years 2015 had texted her students to see if they were making progress with accommodation arrangements for next year, student Hannah Lee began to suspect that her name was about to be called out to receive Bangor University’s annual Award.
The nominations for Hannah showed her commitment to helping her student before their arrival, during the settling in period and beyond and reflect the appreciation of the students she assisted. They included: ‘Got in touch before I came to uni … offering to help with getting ready’; ‘Met me and showed me where to sign in’; ‘Introduced me to other new students and Peer Guides - this was greatly appreciated or I would have stayed in my room all week’; ‘Didn’t push us to drink and still made us welcome at the events’; ‘Will help anytime’; ‘A brilliant Peer Guide’. These comments were, of course, in addition to the fact that she was still in touch with and supporting her ‘new’ students at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences.
The University’s Peer Guiding Scheme, one of the first and, in proportion to student numbers, one of the largest in the UK, helps first year students to settle to University life. The Scheme matches up new students with ‘Peer Guides’, current second and third year students who act as mentors, arranging social activities, showing students around and generally giving advice, from the best place to shop - to signposting where to go in the University for academic or other support. At the end of the year, all the first year students whether undergraduate or postgraduate, are invited to nominate volunteers for the Annual Award. This year, around 430 undergraduate students across the University’s academic Schools supported their peers while settling in to University life while new postgraduate students were similarly supported by almost 60 Postgraduate Peer Guides.
The 19 year old student from Chesterfield in Derbyshire, was one of over 40 Peer Guides at Bangor University who had been nominated for the Annual Award to recognise the student that goes ‘above and beyond’ to assist their fellow students. The award was made at an event at which all the volunteers are thanked for their valuable contribution to the student life at Bangor University.
Hannah changed her university application at the last minute, without having visited Bangor University and only realises when she’d arrived that she was at one of the best places in the UK to study Marine Biology and Zoology!
She says: “I applied to become a Peer Guide, as my Peer Guide was so good to me during my first year. I wanted to see what it was like being a Peer Guide. It was a lot of fun but very tiring. The experience put me out of my own comfort zone, so as the Freshers were uncomfortable, I was experiencing something similar- I learnt how to get people out of their shells. I’m not going to be a Peer Guide next year as I’ve been accepted to be a Student Warden position- again they were there for me during my first year and are a great person to turn to also.”
This will also be the third year that Hannah, who is a former pupil of Meadow Secondary School, Chesterfield and Netherthorpe 6th Form College, in Staveley, has worked for the environmental research and expeditions organisation Opetation Wallacea. This year she hopes to study sea turtles. She has set her sights on becoming a marine project manager. Having originally wanted to do field work, she’s realised recently that project managing will enable her to combine diving with other work.
Publication date: 12 May 2015