More than 40 students have signed up to Trinity’s new Ambassador Scheme to volunteer on outreach activities.
Ellie Wood, who studied at Newnham before becoming a Schools Liaison Officer at Trinity, said the response from students had been brilliant.
‘We’re running two training sessions this week and we’re scheduling a third because of the number students wanting to volunteer. The scheme will create a trained and confident group of student volunteers who can lead tours and assist with a broad range of other activities when we host visits at Trinity.’
Trinity is unusual in having two Schools Liaison Officers (SLOs) and together they organise dozens of outreach activities a year: visits to schools, residential courses at the College and the BME student conference, as well as taking part in University fairs and welcoming schools to Trinity.
The Ambassador Scheme formalises the activities undertaken by student volunteers currently and in addition provides training and offers skill development in event organisation, presentation and public speaking.
Student Ambassadors volunteer on outreach activities and many will go on to help out on some of Trinity’s residentials during the summer.
This August Trinity hosted its first residential for Year 11s, who came from as far afield as Wales, Newcastle, Birmingham and Cornwall. The Stonehouse Residential was run in partnership with Villiers Park Educational Trust. The three-day event was funded by Trinity alumnus Richard Stonehouse, who studied Maths at Trinity in the mid-1960s. The residential will run each summer for the next two years.
Feedback from both the GCSE students who attended and the Trinity students who volunteered on the residential was very positive. Some of the school pupils were interviewed for a Cambridge University video. Participants took part in lectures and team building exercises, learnt about the Cambridge admissions process, and teamed up to complete a group project.
Muhammad Manji, in his third year studying Maths at Trinity, is a regular outreach volunteer at Trinity. On the Stonehouse Residential, among other responsibilities, he guided one team of participants through their project.
‘I gained a lot of experience and organisational skills but I don’t think anything tops the pride of watching my team present their group project on horse-sized bees and bee-sized horses. I genuinely learned a lot myself.’
Muhammad said he benefited from access work when he himself was considering applying to university.
‘I owe a lot to students who reached out to potential applicants and schools like mine in order to share experiences, stories and advice from Cambridge. I remember being part of a residential at Oxford and looking up to my mentors and wishing that one day I would be in their shoes – and here we are.’
As a result, Muhammad says he feels a sense of duty and wants to ‘give back’ to the College.
‘But more than that I think I owe it to the people who inspired me to apply, and it’s a small way I can show them my gratitude. Without students volunteering in access I wouldn’t be here and Cambridge would be a much less diverse, welcoming place.’