Third year physical education student Alyssa Feener just received silver, having already received bronze. Since the beginning of 2012, she has also completed the requirements for a gold award, which will be given out next year. Ms. Feener is hoping to be on that list as well.
"Volunteering has always been very important to me. Volunteers made such an impact on my life growing up that I wanted to give back. I am the type of person who doesn't like to have a lot of spare time and I was delighted when I came to Memorial and realized how many opportunities there are here."
Ms. Feener is a Memorial Ambassador and has been a LEAP assistant coordinator for the past two years. She volunteers for both fall and winter orientation, the Memorial Student Leadership Conference, I Love MUNdays, Let's Talk Science, Best Buddies, Student Volunteer Bureau and POST. This year she has also volunteered for the Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City, Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, Take Back the Night and the CIBC Run for the Cure. In April, Ms Feener will be travelling with Coalition for Kids International to Poland to deliver gifts to terminally ill children.
"I volunteer because I absolutely love to do it. I have met amazing people, formed lifelong friendships and developed my character. My volunteer experiences have shaped me into the person that I am. I find myself volunteering for whatever event comes my way and I have no intention of stopping. In a country and province where we are so privileged it is our responsibility to use what we have been given to bring happiness to the people around us."
Second year HKR student Michael Monks was awarded bronze at the V.I.P. ceremony. He's been volunteering since Junior High School. He's volunteered in Orientation 2011, L.E.A.P. 2011 as well as Shinerama and is on the HKR Student Society.
One of the reasons he started volunteering was the social benefits. "Coming from a small rural area in Newfoundland to a place like Memorial, I did not know very many people but through my volunteer experiences I have developed friendships with people beyond this province and even this country."
Mr. Monks said he also gets some personal benefits from volunteering. "I got the chance to develop certain skills. For example, communicating with people at events such as Orientation and LEAP. These skills could be transferred to the classroom from group discussions to class presentations. In all, my volunteer work has been an enriching experience that continues to motivate me to volunteer."
The V.I.P. awards, which took place on Feb. 29 at the Confederation Building, were presented by Lieutenant-Governor John Crosbie and Nick McGrath, minister for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, Labrador Affairs and the Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector.
Since 2005, the V.I.P. program has presented more than 850 awards, representing more than 25,000 volunteer hours donated by Memorial students. The program, an initiative of the Student Volunteer Bureau ‒ a partnership between Career Development and Experiential Learning and Memorial University of Newfoundland Students' Union, began in 2003 and encourages students to track their volunteer efforts both on and off campus. In addition to volunteer hours, participants must take part in activities that will enhance the development of their career path, self-awareness and leadership abilities.