Double degree student, athlete and volunteer

Double degree student, athlete and volunteer

Amelia Morgan is a fourth-year University of Canterbury Law and Geography student. Amelia started volunteering during high school as a Duke of Edinburgh award participant and continued as a school sports prefect, sports rep at her university hall of residence and helping groups such as the UC Student Volunteer Army, UC Sport and a Student-Athlete Commission for University and Tertiary Sport NZ. Amelia was one of two NZ reps that attended the 2017 FISU Volunteer Leader’s Academy in Russia. Amelia is a student-athlete herself, having represented for track and field.

Image: Amelia (second from left) and fellow UTSNZ Student Athlete Commission reps.

You started volunteering at a young age – what drove you to do it?

Truthfully, volunteering feels like a selfish act. From a younger age, it has generated copious amounts of self-satisfaction and warmth when helping others. For a long time, I was unable to give as much as I would’ve liked to volunteering organisations alike. However due to my step back in track and field I have been able to give my time more freely. There is no denying the satisfaction generated when pouring your heart and soul into something and it pays off or you witness someone truly benefit from the efforts. Thereby, in all honesty it is this feeling that drove me to volunteer and give back from a younger age.

How did volunteering help shape who you are today?

Volunteering and involvement with volunteer-based organisations has enabled me to appreciate and truly understand the amount of hard work, time and resource put into any event or organisation. I have learned the importance of delegation if you want to achieve projects to a high standard and the need for clear communication to facilitate this. Meaningful communication, and connection with those you are working with ensures that the group of volunteers function to their best ability and actually enjoy the task at hand.

You help so many different organisations in so many different ways – which has been the most fulfilling moment for you? Why?

Being a student-athlete myself, working for sporting organisations to empower and enhance student-athletes’ overall health and wellbeing has been incredibly rewarding. I have been working closely with UC Sport and their recently established Student-Athlete Development Programme. This has been a close passion of mine, as it highlights and emphasises the importance of creating a community-based culture for student-athletes at the University of Canterbury.

There is no doubt I tend to favour sport volunteering and sports administration when compared to other areas. This is due to my undying passion for sports and athletes alike, the commitment and work ethic required to be an athlete has driven me to want to help these athletes and completions run as smoothly as possible.

If you were to pitch the skills you’ve learned through volunteering to a potential employer what would you say?

A key learning, I took away from FVLA 2017 was about the volunteer movement and the significant value of volunteers in the sporting world today.  Great emphasis was given to the fact that although volunteers are often perceived as ‘free labour’ and the lower tier of a sporting event or competition, they are in fact the backbone of any success, and if the volunteers are not happy and motivated, the event will lack real success and enjoyment for all of those involved.

For any event or sporting need, planning is essential for success. Athletes, coaches, management and volunteers alike perform better when things flow and day-to-day activity is planned in detail.

You were identified as a volunteer leader in 2017 – what do you hope to see in the student volunteer space in 2018?

I have diversified my time a little bit this year which truly excites me. I have become more heavily involved with the University of Canterbury’s club scene and have earned an executive position on one of the largest social clubs on campus. This is an exciting challenge I have set for myself to give my time to something completely different. This has been very rewarding so far as I have been able to throw myself into the complex administration involved in hosting major social events and recruiting paid members during the new academic year.

I have maintained my involvement with UC Sport and UTSNZ during 2018. I hope to continue learning from the incredible board members of UTSNZ and get a true understanding of the complexities of this entity. I hope to continue developing the student-athlete community we are trying to establish at UC Sport, and am looking forward to being a part of the leadership group within this academy.

Note: this blog was originally posted on the Volunteering NZ microsite for Student Volunteer Week 23-29 April

Posted: Monday 18 June 2018