Engineers Without Borders UK volunteer wins Student Volunteer of the Year Award

A student at the University of Bristol has fought off tough competition from students across the UK to win the 2015 Student Volunteer of the Year Award.

The president of Engineers Without Borders UK’s (EWB-UK) Bristol University branch, Conor McGlacken, won the award as part of the annual Student Volunteering Week celebrations.

Bristol Engineering Student wins Student Volunteer of the Year Award

Photo: Student Hubs / Graham Read

The judges from Student Volunteer of the Year Award said that Conor stood out as a clear leader:

“We were impressed by Conor’s commitment to go above and beyond to effect change and innovate within a national charity. From improving and expanding EWB-UK projects, supporting his fellow volunteers, and representing the student body at the highest level as a Trustee, Conor has not only demonstrated his passion for social and environmental issues, but also for providing meaningful volunteering opportunities to his peers and inspiring them to get involved. We can’t wait to see what he does next.”

Conor was shortlisted for the award with four other candidates. They attended the Parliamentary Celebration Event in the House of Commons on Monday February 23rd, where the winner was announced. His prize was £1,000 to donate to a charity of his choice, which he chose to donate to Engineers Without Borders UK.

Conor, who is currently studying Engineering Design at Bristol University, was nominated for his work in helping the local community, having volunteered on engineering outreach projects in schools across the UK and Nigeria.

Bristol Engineering Student wins Student Volunteer of the Year Award

Conor with engineering students at The University of Nigeria, Nsukka

He is the President of Engineers Without Borders Bristol, a student society that is part of the international development charity Engineers Without Borders UK, working towards a world where everyone has access to the technology they need for a life free from poverty.

Starting in the EWB Outreach program, Conor delivered workshops on engineering in development to school children, before leading volunteers in his second year to reach out to over 300 Bristol school pupils. As President, he leads a committee of nineteen students and oversees 150 weekly volunteers in various projects, and has engaged engineering students to be proactive, socially responsible global thinkers.

Talking of his volunteering experiences, Conor, 21, said:

“Every year I’ve been volunteering with Engineers Without Borders UK. I’ve been able to take on more responsibility: branch volunteer; branch outreach coordinator; regional coordinator; student trustee and now branch president. That experience has given me a varied range of experience volunteering at all levels of the organisation.”

He also gives advice to students looking to go into a volunteering role for the first time. “Talk to people. It’s easy to be intimidated when it seems like everyone knows so much, but everyone remembers when they started out. If you want to make your cause your career, it’s not going to happen by accident. You need to invest time and find funding to get trained properly. Learn about your field by attending conferences. Universities and others have many pots of money you can apply for if you can sell yourself.”

Student Volunteering Week (SVW) 2015 takes place from 23 February to 1 March 2015 and aims to bring together individuals and organisations across the UK to celebrate the achievements and impact of student volunteers in their local communities; encouraging and inspiring more students to volunteer. Read Conor’s blog and find out more here:

For further information on Engineers Without Borders UK and how to get involved, visit, or to find out more about Engineers Without Borders Bristol.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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