March 7, 2016, by Laura Estrop
Philanthropy, volunteering and enhancing the student experience…
By Karen Ang
…are all recurring themes from the House of Lords Alumni and Cascade Evening. On 24 February 2016, alumni, staff, and projects including the Equestrian Club all gathered in Westminster, London to promote generosity at the University of Nottingham.
The House of Lords is not just for Lords, but also for students, alumni and staff who advocate philanthropy at the University. I was lucky to be invited by the University’s Impact Campaign to highlight the Equestrian Club’s Inclusive Riding Sessions. Quite a change of scenery from the muddy riding yard on a Wednesday afternoon!
For many students, sport, whether recreational or competitive, becomes a significant part of university life and brings opportunities to lead, volunteer, and be part of a supportive community. As Inclusivity Officer for the Equestrian Club, I work with disabled students to ensure these opportunities and benefits remain open to all students. Our therapeutic inclusive horse riding sessions, which are aimed at students who have a disability or mental health condition and the House of Lords Alumni Reception gave me the opportunity to speak with alumni and donors about our fantastic programme.
At the Reception, student run projects supported by Cascade grants were showcased to highlight how donors have affected the student and greater community. We explained how the Inclusive Horse Riding Sessions promote inclusivity, and how we can bring the mental and physical joys of sport to all. We were able to share stories of our disabled students, how we have improved their student experience, and how we empower them to develop the sporting community they are part of.
As I stood there talking to alumni, I thought about how volunteering has taken me much further than the stables, I’ve had the privilege of visiting the Royal Society, the Nottinghamshire Sport Awards, and now the House of Lords. I thought about why sport volunteering is not just important for clubs and the community, but also for individuals. When someone volunteers, they begin to see a sport through someone else’s eyes and understand why it is both challenging and rewarding to someone else. I think it is very easy to become engulfed into the university bubble, and volunteering is a way to expose yourself to other people’s stories and experiences. When you volunteer, especially with individuals with a disability, you learn what you really love about your sport, and how to bring that to others.
Whether you’re a student with a disability, mental health condition or someone who wants to volunteer for our Inclusive Riding Sessions, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or get in touch with the Disability Sport Officer email@example.com.
Images curiosity of UoN Impact office, taken by Alex Wilkinson Photography.