Former students have spent more than 60,000 hours volunteering at the University of Exeter – beating a target with two years to spare.
The Making the Exceptional Happen campaign started in 2012 and aimed to encourage 60,000 alumni volunteering hours by 2020.
Since the start of the campaign, alumni volunteers have given more than 700 careers talks (benefiting more than 21,000 students), answered more than 1,200 student careers questions by email and provided more than 1,500 one-on-one mentoring partnerships lasting 6-12 months each.
Exeter’s alumni volunteer community is now represented in 80 countries.
“60,000 volunteering hours in six-and-a-half years is an incredible gift,” said Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter.
“It equates to one of our alumni volunteering for the university every hour of every day of every year since the start of the campaign.”
In a message of thanks to alumni volunteers, Sir Steve added: “We could not achieve what we do without you.”
Chair of the Alumni Network Group Steve Edge, who graduated with a law degree in 1972, said: “Gifts of time come in many shapes and sizes, but they all make a massive difference at Exeter.
“Quite simply, Exeter would not be the vibrant and successful institution it is without the support of our alumni community.
“Our hard work won’t stop here, and later this year we will have some exciting announcements about what’s next for our volunteering programme.”
In the 2016-17 academic year alone, more than 1,000 alumni gave their time, 750 of them to support students.
The graduates of 1973 have given the most hours, while the cohort of 2012 have volunteered in the largest numbers.
Natasha Bellinger, who graduated with a law degree in 2011 and is now a barrister, said: “I became a career mentor at the university a few years ago (basically as soon as I could) because my mentor was a source of inspiration and had such a positive impact on me.”
Speaking about her mentor, Exeter alumnus Peter Baldwin, she said: “His wise words helped to guide my career development at a crucial stage and had such a positive impact.”
Lauren Churchman, who studied Spanish and graduated in 2013, now works at BBC 6 Music.
“I came down to Exeter recently along with fellow alumnus and former Xpression FM member Jack D’Arcy to give two talks to students about getting in to music and media,” she said.
“The media can seem mysterious and daunting to try and get into, so I was glad to be able to give some advice to the students and show them that in just a few years, you can achieve anything.”
Making the Exceptional Happen is the University of Exeter’s most ambitious philanthropy campaign to date, aiming to raise £60 million and 60,000 volunteering hours by 2020. If you’d like to get involved or want to learn more, please visit www.exeter.ac.uk/volunteer