Volunteering news

Find out about the latest volunteering opportunities and read what Surrey’s alumni volunteers have been doing in recent months.

Thank you to our international volunteers

We are very grateful to the many international alumni who give their time each year to support the alumni community and student recruitment in their country.

This year our international alumni ambassadors have played a crucial role in guiding prospective students and answering their questions about Surrey.  We have welcomed international graduate volunteers at overseas recruitment fairs, enjoyed hearing from alumni guest speakers at applicant receptions in Asia and the USA, held applicant and alumni networking receptions in key countries and have benefitted from alumni stories and testimonials featuring in many marketing publications.  

We’re also delighted to be working with alumni leaders on Surrey Alumni Clubs in Hong Kong, Dubai, China and self-organised socia events in Norway and Shenzhen during 2018-19.

If you live outside the UK and would like to find out about supporting recruitment and alumni activities where you live, please get in touch.  


Students inspired through mentoring programmes

“My mentor helped me talk through all of my thoughts and ideas so that I could think out loud - and she probed me when I sounded uncertain to find another option.”

The advice given to PhD student Shamini Holloway from her mentor Maria Evangeli, a PR and brand specialist, has been a crucial factor in helping her to set up her own social enterprise business.

Shamini is one of hundreds of students who each year benefit from one of the University’s mentoring programmes. All of our mentors are volunteers who share our aim to help students build a solid foundation of skills from which to launch a variety of successful careers.

In Shamini’s case, the University’s social enterprise team paired her with Maria, to help her develop her MAGIC Wand hemp shake, an industrial hemp-based drink that addresses issues related to nutrition, obesity and the environment.

She said: “My parents did not go to university and were not entrepreneurs, so I did not have the support to talk through any of my ideas, ambitions or hair-brained schemes. Surrey is doing a wonderful job of giving students that opportunity to develop through listening and training.”

Through the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Student Mentoring Programme, final-year students are brought together with more than 40 industry mentors from around the world.

The pairing of Tourism Management student Ellie Rooks and Surrey alumna, Pat Boadu-Darko, went beyond learning new skill sets and gave them both an insight into different cultures and communities. Pat’s company, pbdTravel International, runs tours with the primary objective of encouraging people (in particular migrant Africans) to see more of London and the UK in general.

She was keen for Ellie to learn more about the motivating factors behind her business and invited her to a celebration by a predominantly Ghanaian and Nigerian community in Woolwich, Southeast London.

Pat said: “Her appreciation of the culture and values of the gathering that evening went a long way to inform her critique of the company and suggest new ideas which have had a positive effect on our operations. In return, through our mentor/mentee relationship, I got a peep into her community in Spalding, Lincolnshire - a community I plan to visit in the not too-distant future!”

The true worth of mentoring often extends beyond university and becomes a long-lasting connection. MBA student Sreekanth Sasikumar has valued his relationship with MBA alumnus Paul Stone, former Vice-President of Strategy and Portfolio at Shell International, as part of the Surrey Connect Mentoring Programme.

“My mentor has introduced me to new business connections to help with my career progression. I will cherish our relationship beyond this MBA and I am sure that Paul will be a guide throughout my career,” he said.

We could, of course, not do all this without the volunteers who give so generously of their time. Professor Marco Mongiello, Executive Director of MBA Programmes, summed it up: “We are extremely grateful to the mentors who have succeeded in a wide variety of fields and who are willing to share their stories. The opportunity to tap directly into the knowledge of successful people, discuss their stories and the lessons learnt in achieving those remarkable results, is tremendously effective in helping the students to build their own careers.”

Celebrating the stories of Battersea

The marvellous support we have received from Battersea alumni for our Build our History project has enabled us to create a lasting record of student life – encompassing lectures, sporting successes, social activities and high jinks!

The response to our initial call for graduates to come forward with memories and memorabilia was overwhelming and we have been able to swell the archives considerably and record 80 oral histories to date for posterity.

To celebrate our legacy and the project’s success, we held a Battersea Showcase event in September 2016 attended by more than 200 alumni and guests. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a Battersea timeline commemorative wall in the Austin Pearce foyer. This will be a permanent reminder of our heritage, and starts with the founding of the Battersea Polytechnic Institute in 1891 through to Battersea College of (Advanced) Technology and the transition to Surrey in the 1960s.

During the course of the Battersea Build our History project, we were delighted to receive many artefacts which give a true picture of student life. These included exam papers, student magazines, scarves, music tickets, programmes, letters, posters and, of course, many many photographs.

We are very grateful to the many alumni have attended archive days or volunteered more regularly in the archives department, arranging and sorting records and identifying photos and artefacts. One of these is Harriett Nailon, who graduated in Hotel and Catering Management in 1967. She was also one of our volunteers trained to conduct oral history interviews.

She said: “Capturing these memories is brilliant and is a fantastic way to celebrate the Battersea legacy. The stories I have heard since being involved with the project chime well with my own experience of Battersea in that we were very conscious of the privileges further education afforded.”

We would like to thank all our volunteers for their unique and wonderful stories and the artefacts they donated which capture Battersea’s essence and help bring history to life. 

We are very grateful to all the alumni ambassadors who kindly volunteered at the University Open Days on Friday 5 July and Saturday 6 July 2019. Alumni ambassadors play an important role at our information fair, providing first-hand anecdotes and advice about student life at Surrey, talking about the career paths open to graduates after completing their degrees, and answering questions from prospective students and their parents.


If you would like to help out at a future open day, applicant day or recruitment fair in the UK or overseas please get in touch with us at alumni@surrey.ac.uk 

Get in touch

If you would like to share your volunteering experiences, take part in a programme featured above or suggest a feature idea please contact us at alumni@surrey.ac.uk