Professor Sarah Purdy on the University’s brilliant alumni volunteers

As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, I know how invaluable alumni volunteers are to our University community.

There are over 2,400 alumni across the world who act as Bristol Volunteers. These volunteers help in so many different ways, whether that be through mentoring students, organising activities for fellow alumni or sharing their experiences of Bristol.

After the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown, we had to act quickly to move our programme of careers events online. Over the past 18 months, alumni have shared their expertise with over 900 attendees through our online Bristol Connects Live career events. These panel events helped to inspire students and recent graduates interested in education, the environmental sector, the creative industries and more.

This year, volunteers also supported students who were feeling isolated during COVID-19 lockdowns through our Bristol Voices programme. Alumni were paired with students who remained on campus and would call them regularly for a friendly chat. It was fantastic to see the boost this provided to our students.

In response to the pandemic, many of our incredible medical students graduated early to join frontline NHS services. We reached out to doctors in our alumni community and were overwhelmed by how many offered to mentor these junior doctors, acting as a unique source of guidance in a truly daunting time.

To all of the Bristol Volunteers out there: thank you. We’re so grateful for your efforts and for the huge impact you have on our students and graduates.

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