Irish rugby star and Barretstown Ambassador Mack Hansen celebrates University students on 20 years of volunteering

Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteer Programme Coordinator, with Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown, Mack Hansen, Irish rugby player and Barretstown Ambassador, Ruth Keeley, ALIVE Intern, at a special ceremony celebrating 20 years of student volunteering and community engagement at University of Galway today. Credit – Aengus McMahon
Mar 27 2023 Posted: 13:47 IST

At a special ceremony celebrating 20 years of student volunteering and community engagement at University of Galway, Irish rugby player and Barretstown Ambassador Mack Hansen joined students to share experiences of volunteering.


At the event more than 500 student volunteers were recognised for their efforts with an ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering, joining the 15,000 plus students who, over the last 20 years, have given their time and energy to build and strengthen communities. 


The students were acknowledged by University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh for their volunteering commitments with national non-profit organisations such as Barretstown and campus student initiatives. 


The ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme aims to connect students with volunteering projects that not only make an impact for the individual student’s personal and professional development but also creates social change through community solidarity.


Mack Hansen said: “As an ambassador for Barretstown I see firsthand the impact of volunteering and just how much volunteers get from their experience too. I was delighted to join the team from Barretstown and University of Galway for this special event to recognise the fantastic students who have given up their time to volunteer for organisations across Ireland.” 


Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteer Programme Coordinator, said: “Since the pandemic we have now seen a resurgence of volunteering projects and a dramatic increase in volunteer recruitment campaigns from nonprofits, community groups and NGOs. As a result, University of Galway students have taken up the call to action and been volunteering with charity shops, fundraisers, health organisations and environmental campaigns to mention a few.” 


May Queen Tugap, student of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, said: “By giving my time and energy to support cultural events like the Baboro Festival and Music for Galway, I believe I am making a valuable contribution to the community and helping to create a more vibrant and inclusive society, where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy and engage with the arts.” 


As part of its commitment to civic engagement, University of Galway recently launched the first Civic Engagement Scholarship in an Irish higher education institution. The aim of the scholarship is to contribute to building global citizenship skills among students by enabling them to take on community action at Ireland’s leading campus for civic engagement.  


Directed at new entry undergraduate students and valued at €1,500 per academic year for the duration of their degree programme, the scholarship provides training and hands-on skills development workshops, access to specialised conferences and networking, internship experience with the ALIVE Volunteering programme, and insight across a wide range of non-profit, humanitarian and social justice programmes.



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