Thank you to our 1,500 Bristol Volunteers

Each year, the first week in June is dedicated to celebrating the impact of volunteers in the UK and thanking the millions of people who give their time to help others. We at the University of Bristol have been celebrating our 1,500 strong network of alumni volunteers, and the profound impact they have on the Bristol community.

Bristol Volunteers give time to the University of Bristol by organising events and activities to connect alumni, supporting students through mentoring and sharing career insight; helping the University with invaluable advice; or providing potential students with guidance on making the right study choices for them.


Provide careers support for your alumni community

Graduate employers may reduce their intake of graduates this year. The advice, insight and connections that Bristol alumni can offer newer members of the alumni community are more valuable now than ever. For students and recent graduates exploring their options, the chance to hear from someone further along in their career journey can be critical in making informed decisions about the next step.

Join the Bristol Mentors programme
Bristol Mentors provide crucial guidance and support with career preparation to students who are likely to particularly benefit from your skills and expertise. Mentors are empathetic and good listeners, often have experience of working with young people, and understand the barriers to education and professional success that many students face.

We match mentors with students, and pairs then spend one or two hours per month together (online or, when it is safe to do so, in person) through the academic year. You will be fully supported by the University in your role. Read this story about the impact of mentoring, and read the programme’s details and apply.

Become a Career Expert
Whether you work in the public or private sector, a multi-national company or for yourself, your career path could provide inspiration to others. It’s easy to become a Career Expert through Bristol Connects. If you choose to volunteer in this way, your profile, including your career history and your industry insight, will be available for students and alumni to view. You can choose to be available for students and alumni to connect with on a one-to-one basis, providing help on specialist topics and offering opportunities of your choice. Become a Career Expert today.

Speak at Bristol Connects: live
We are looking for speakers to share their expertise at Bristol Connects: live, our forthcoming online series of career development and networking sessions. If you are experienced in speaking publicly and are willing to share your insights on your industry or ways of working, then we would love to welcome you as a panellist, subject expert or event host.

Panellists and event hosts will speak live, whilst subject experts will provide insight through the event text chat. If you are interested in volunteering for these events or would like to find out more, please contact the Bristol Volunteers team at

We are very grateful for the outstanding contribution of our alumni volunteers across the world: your advice, experience and support have an enormous impact on our students, the alumni community and the University – thank you.

Alumni share their government and third sector career insights with students

A big thank you to our Bristol Volunteers for giving their time and expertise to our final year students and recent graduates, at our London Careers Insight event in early March.

Alumni working in government and the third sector shared their career stories and experiences to inspire students and help them understand more about the sector. From what it’s like to work at the Department for International Development to starting out as an entrepreneur, the alumni panel were on hand to discuss a wide variety of career paths.

The panel members explained how different jobs in different industries can help you get on the career ladder, and that it is fine to compromise a little at the start of your degree to get to where you want to be.

Panellist India Fallon (BA 2014), who now works as a Programme Officer at Youth Business International, highlighted the importance of continuing to develop skills after graduation. For India, undertaking internships and taking part in volunteering programmes helped her to build on skills learnt through her degree and secure her current role.

Sitting alongside her on the panel, was Ella Hopkins (BA 2015), who now works as a Gender Project Officer at Bretton Woods Project. Speaking about the event she said: “It was a real privilege to speak at this event and to hear about all of the other speakers’ career journeys. It was also great to speak to all the other graduates and hear about their plans and ideas” (Ella Hopkins, BA 2015).

All alumni who helped out at the event are volunteers on our Bristol Volunteers programme. Due to the current climate we will not be running any careers networking events for the foreseeable future, however if you would like to share your experience and expertise you can sign-up as a Career Expert on our online platform exclusive for alumni – Bristol Connects.

Become a Bristol Volunteer: Current Opportunities

At the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO) we work with departments across the University to match alumni volunteers with relevant and rewarding opportunities. There are so many different ways to get involved as a Bristol Volunteer and all of them make a huge difference to our community. Whether you give your time or expertise, you’ll be helping to enrich the lives of students and graduates alike.

We’ve rounded up some of our volunteering opportunities below so that you can find the programme that suits you.

Bristol Connects: Share your Bristol experience as a Career Expert

Bristol Connects is an exclusive, online space for alumni, which enables you to connect digitally with your alumni community. The Bristol Connects community is growing all the time, especially now as communicating and connecting online are becoming so important in our daily lives.

We are looking for alumni to sign-up as Career Experts and lend their experience and knowledge to our current students. Share your career insights and advice to support students in their studies and careers.


  1. Register for Bristol Connects
  2. Update your details – download our guide to getting started on Bristol Connects 
  3. Activate your Career Expert profile so that students can access your details and contact you for advice

If you would like to find out more information about becoming a Career Expert, please contact the Volunteers team at

Bristol Mentors applications are open

We are now accepting applications for Bristol Mentors 2020/21. Becoming a mentor is a great opportunity to share your valuable career insight and help students from underrepresented backgrounds reach their goals. Our alumni mentors support students for a couple of hours per month from October to June.

To apply, please complete the Bristol Mentors application form. For more information about the Bristol Mentors programme, please get in touch with the Bristol Volunteers team at

Connect with alumni groups and networks 

Working in partnership with the University, we have alumni networks, professional groups, Halls Associations, sports groups and groups in many places around the world. These groups help members to gain new social and professional contacts, benefit from advice and expertise and gain access to exclusive activities.

To find out how you can connect with our groups, or for more information about starting a network, please contact the Bristol Volunteers team at

Join the Midlands Branch

The Midlands Branch is looking for alumni based in the area to join as members.

The branch enables Midlands based alumni to connect with one another, meet locally and keep in touch with the alumni community and the University. The branch organises events and activities throughout the year to keep its alumni community connected.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member, please contact Tim Drakeford at

To keep up to date with our latest volunteering opportunities sign-up to Bristol Volunteers digest, or explore our ongoing volunteering opportunities online.

Geography alumni get together to mark their Ruby graduation anniversary

Nick Roberts (BSc 1979)

Nearly 40 Geography alumni got together in Bristol last summer to mark the Ruby anniversary of their graduation in 1979. They travelled from very near (Bristol), very far (e.g. Canada, South Africa and New Zealand) and from many places in between for an afternoon get-together full of memorabilia, memories and 40 years of catching up.

The School of Geographical Sciences very kindly hosted the event, allowing everyone the chance to be photographed in the very lecture theatre that they knew and loved from 1976 to 1979. Many partners attended too, and Tony Payne, David Richards and Ed Thomas from today’s teaching staff very kindly gave up their Saturday afternoon to join in the nostalgia, arrange tours and update everyone on Geography at Bristol today. Various other events are now planned for the Class of ‘79, from a walking weekend this summer to possible further Sapphire and Gold anniversary reunions in 2024 and 2029. For further information please email

Photographs accredited to Duncan Unsworth.

Bristol Hong Kong Alumni Dinner, 14 January 2020

Alumni and friends gathered in Hong Kong on Tuesday 14 January for dinner, which was a great success.

The dinner was hosted by the Bristol Hong Kong Alumni Network, the network also welcomed Sir Richard Alan Field, who had just arrived in Hong Kong the day before as he begins his appointment as a Deputy Judge of the High Court of Hong Kong.

A special thanks goes to Hau-yin Raymond Yuen (MSc 2009) for coordinating the event and making it such a success. Events such as these are central to building a strong network of alumni in Hong Kong.

Wills Hall Association 90th Anniversary Celebration

WHA 90th Anniversary - 005
Charles Gunter  (BSc 2006, MSc 2009)

On Saturday 14 December, 200 alumni, current Wills residents and guests from the University and the city, celebrated the 90th Anniversary of the opening of Wills Hall. At 5 pm, David Dewar, Director of Chapel Music and doctoral student, gave an organ recital in the Dame Monica Wills Chapel. From 6-7 pm a drinks reception was held in the entrance and bar areas. The aperitifs included in a specially commissioned anniversary gin, “Old Wills”.

Guests took their seats in the Dining Hall by 7 pm and guests of honour processed into the Wills Hall Fanfare. Brief introductory addresses by the two most recent Wardens, Professors Robert Vilian and Julian Rivers (PhD 2005) preceded dinner, and speeches by the JCR President (1st year law student Terri Boardman), alumnus and Patron Robert Marshall-Andrews (LLB 1965, Honorary LLD 2015) , and our guest of honour, the Rt Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE (Hon LLD 2002, Honorary Fellowship 2017), concluded the evening. Entertainment after dinner was provided by the Bristol Hornstars and Michael Richardson from Special Collections prepared an exhibition of archive materials from the history of Wills and the University which was on display in the Michael Wong Pakshong lounge.

New Year, Become a Bristol Volunteer!

Start the new year as you mean to go on, join Bristol’s strong community of experts by volunteering your time and expertise. We work with departments, schools and faculties across the University to match our alumni volunteers with relevant and rewarding opportunities.

Current volunteering opportunities are listed below. 

Share your career insights with students

London Career Insights event
We are looking for alumni who can share their career stories and give exclusive insights into their industries at our upcoming graduate careers event in London.

  • London, 12 March 2020. *We are particularly interested in hearing from alumni who work in Government or the third sector for this event.

If you could support current students and recent graduates at our London Insights event, please get in touch with the Bristol Volunteers team at

Alternative Careers with an Engineering or Computer Science Degree
The Faculty of Engineering are looking for Engineering and Computer Science alumni now working in non-traditional careers to share their experience with students at a networking event. The date of the event is to be finalised but will most likely be an evening in the week commencing 16 March 2020.

If you are interested in getting involved, please email

Social Sciences and Law’s Careers Week
The Careers Service and Faculty of Social Sciences and Law are organising a week of talks and events for students to enable them to explore a variety of careers, recognise the value of their degree and approach their career planning with greater confidence. If you are interested in volunteering for either of the events below please email

  • Careers in Marketing and Communications – Wednesday 12 February 1 – 2 pm
    Join a panel of alumni to do a short (5-10 minute) talk, followed by audience Q&A.
  • Charity mingle – Thursday 13 February 5.30 – 7.30 pm
    Join an informal networking event for students interested in working in the not-for-profit sector. You would be required to simply come along and chat to our students over refreshments.

Geography alumni careers event – Thursday 6 February, 5 – 7 pm
The School of Geographical Sciences and the GeogSoc student society are looking for alumni to share their career stories with their current students. Join a panel of alumni to share insights into your career path and answer questions from the audience. If you could help students explore the variety of careers available please contact

Careers in Tech Week, 2 – 6 March 2020
Do you work in tech but don’t have a technical background? The Careers Service are looking for alumni to take part in a panel event during their upcoming Careers in Tech Week. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact

Mathematics Alumni evening
The School of Mathematics are looking for maths alumni from a variety of sectors to discuss their career journey with students. You can choose to take part as a speaker or a networker. For more information please contact

Offer your time as a mentor

Faculty of Social Sciences and Law 2019/20 Professional Mentoring Schemes
The Professional Liaison Network (PLN) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law are currently recruiting for their 2019/20 Professional Mentoring Schemes, which match students to a relevant professional who has studied a related degree and is now using this in their current role.

If you fit any of the following criteria and are interested in becoming a mentor, please use one of the sign-up forms below. For further information about our mentoring schemes please contact

    • Studied an MSc relating to social sciences policy and are now working in public policy – Public Policy sign up form
    • Studied an education-related degree or qualification and are using it in your current role – Education sign up form
    • Have studied a finance-related degree and are working in a risk or compliance role within in a bank OR are working within audit or consultancy in a role advising banks – Banking sign up form

Build our global alumni networks

Working in partnership with the University, we have alumni networks, professional groups, Halls Associations, sports groups and networks in many locations all over the world. These networks help members to gain new social and professional contacts, benefit from advice and expertise, connect with other like-minded alumni, and gain access to exclusive activities.

To find out how you can connect with our groups, or for more information about starting a new network, please contact the Bristol Volunteers team at

To keep up to date with our latest volunteering opportunities sign-up to our Bristol Volunteers digest, or explore our ongoing volunteering opportunities online.

Cambridge Branch annual dinner, 20 October 2019

Alison Wilson (BA 1966) 

The Cambridge Branch held its Tenth Annual Dinner on 20th October 2019 in the sixteenth century Hall of Christ’s College Cambridge, a romantic setting for this special occasion. Eighty members and friends sat down to enjoy the superb cooking that the college chefs provided, complemented by wine from the cellars. Previously many of them enjoyed tours of the college with alumna Una Dinning, a professional guide, and a visit to the Old Library where the Librarian had laid out a carefully-chosen selection of rare books. Dinner was preceded by a drinks reception in an upstairs room overlooking the Hall.

As coffee was served, Alison Wilson thanked the many people who had helped to make the dinner a success and mentioned that she would be stepping down as Chair at the next AGM. (Later she was presented with a bouquet.) She then introduced the after-dinner speaker, political economist and Master of Hertford College, Oxford, Will Hutton. Will is an alumnus of the University of Bristol and has an honorary degree. Will had been in London all day on the march for a second referendum and spoke passionately about his belief that Britain should remain in Europe. He generously answered very many questions from the floor, speaking altogether for nearly an hour. Even those of a different political persuasion found it a stimulating encounter.

Over the years the Branch has steadily built up its numbers and has many loyal members who come to all the events. The Committee would like to thank them and the Alumni Relations staff at Bristol for their continued support.