Over 450 Trinity College students were commended at the Dean of Students’ Roll of Honour ceremony in Trinity College on April 18th for their participation in extracurricular, voluntary activity both inside and outside the College. The Roll of Honour aims to recognise the learning outside the classroom which students gain through extra-curricular voluntary activity.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald T.D. addressed the honourees saying, “The level of commitment shown by you over the course of the year in addition to your studies and other commitments is a truly impressive achievement and one of which you should be immensely proud, just as you should be proud of the positive impact that you have had on your communities. The individual decisions that you have made in giving your time and skills are really decisions to participate in the future of your communities and are the essence and foundation of democracy”
Dr. Amanda Piesse continued: ""Getting you all together today to articulate and to demonstrate and to mark your contribution is in large part an acknowledgement of the part that you, as individual students, play in helping to develop our collegiate impact on both the local and the global stage. You are, quite simply, the lifeblood of the College.”
Student volunteers Niall O'Mahony (student society committee member), Alex Sloan (of the JCR) Karina Korotkevica (Citizens Information Service translator) and Clare Daly (volunteer with Jobcare on Pearse street) with Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Dean of Students Dr. Amanda Piesse and Provost Patrick Prendergast.
Trinity students engage in a great variety of voluntary causes ranging from the travellers’ rights organisations, to debate coaching, to development work overseas. In applying for the Roll of Honour, students were required to critically reflect on their expectations and experience and articulate the learning acquired through their voluntary activity. Their activity was then signed off on by an appropriate representative of the volunteer programme. These activities benefit the student in terms of confidence, knowledge and transferable skills, while the community gains additional resources through the creativity, skills and positive attitude brought by student volunteers. Voluntary activity by students also has the potential to develop civic-mindedness and a lifelong commitment to community service.
Minister Fitzgerald’s support of the Dean of Students’ Roll of Honour serves to underline how students can positively impact on the community through active participation in unpaid formal and non-formal, social, cultural, political, inter-personal and caring activities. At the event each student received a certificate in acknowledgement of their efforts.
Dean of Students, Dr. Amanda Piesse with members of the Committees of several of Trinity's sports clubs who were included on the Roll.
Remarks by Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the Roll of Honour Ceremony 2012
"I am delighted to be here this evening at this most important and prestigious event and would like to thank the Dean of Students and those of you involved in the Roll of Honour process for inviting me to join you this evening.
Tonight we are honouring over 450 active citizens who in addition to their studies have taken precious time out to get involved in a range of volunteering activities. This is testimony to the fact that volunteering in Ireland is alive and well.
There is no doubt that we are living through a time when volunteering is needed more than ever. The economic shock that we recently experienced is, I believe, prompting a reassessment of priorities across many spheres of society – economic, political and social - and has created an appreciation on a personal level of what is most important in our lives i.e. our health, family, friends and community: all key patterns in the rich tapestry that support and strengthen our social fabric.
So I am delighted that against this backdrop we are now seeing a significant increase in the number of people getting involved in their local communities and in the work of special interest groups with an estimated one in six people involved in some kind of voluntary work. This is a very encouraging trend which, I feel, demonstrates a powerful force in the development of community and betterment of society.
And turning to tonight’s event, it is clear that volunteerism and active citizenship is also powerful force in Trinity College.
We are here to honour 468 of you who have taken on extra-curricular activities on campus, in the local community, in your own communities and as part of international volunteering experiences. These activities range from running for student office, acting as class representatives, volunteering aboard, teaching lifesaving skills, running student clubs and societies, visiting the elderly to mentoring peers, organising intervarsity sporting events, campaigning for justice and much more. This list shows the range and diversity of the voluntary activity and opportunities open to all of us to engage in; all areas where we can make a positive difference in the lives of others and for the collective good.
The level of commitment shown by you by investing a minimum of twenty hours over the course of the year in addition to your studies and other commitments is a truly impressive achievement and one of which you should be immensely proud, just as you should be proud of the positive impact that you have had on your communities. The individual decisions that you have made in giving your time and skills are really decisions to participate in the future of your communities and are the essence and foundation of democracy.
It is also important to mention the learning that each and every one of you has derived from your active citizenship and to acknowledge that while contributing to society, you have acquired transferable skills that promote your own personal development and competences which will enhance your personal and professional lives.
I would encourage you to continue to contribute to social life, to the development of local communities and the welfare of society as a whole. Essentially, this is an investment that pays dividend to the provider and recipient, and in turn offers a multiplier at many different levels of society.
Never underestimate the potential of your contribution to your community, to our society. It is only through our human efforts that we can make change happen, that we can do better. That includes your efforts. Never underestimate your potential.
Within my own Department, the contribution of volunteers to youth services, projects and clubs is highly regarded and indeed in many instances many of these services and initiatives could not operate as they currently do without the support and dedication of its large volunteer base. On an annual basis, some 1,100 paid youth workers are supported by over 60,000 volunteers, evidence indeed that volunteering is part of the every day fabric of youth work. Indeed, this volunteer-led provision has proven to be the bedrock of the youth provision. It is through voluntary activities, that the so much youth work is provided for and participated in.
I believe that the principle and practice of volunteerism is one of the most significant and sustainable resources the youth sector possesses and as such organisations and agencies working with young people need to continue cultivate, support and develop their volunteer base and policy and decision makers need to support this work.
The ethos of volunteering and the need to nurture it has been recognised by Government through our support of a network of some 22 local volunteering centres across the country. These centres are putting people who want to volunteer in touch with community and voluntary or non-profit organisation seeking volunteers and are providing a host of supports to volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations.
Finally, this is an evening of celebration, an evening of confidence and of thanks. It’s an evening of celebrating and valuing that unique willingness of human beings to engage in voluntary activities; which is not a case of people putting themselves out for others; but clearly and purposively to put themselves in for others: in to the lives of the people and communities with whom they meet and engage. I thank you for your valuable work, commitment and investment and wish you every success in the future."