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Looking back on Student Volunteering during the EU Year of Volunteering 2011


Did you know that students across Ireland in 2011 helped to celebrate the EU Year of Volunteering? Through a national campaign, “We Volunteer!” third level students posted their volunteering stories online and contributed to a photographic exhibition which visited every campus in Ireland, Irish Aid, the European Commission in Dublin, and the European Parliament in Brussels!

The collaboration was an incredible opportunity for staff in higher education to highlight and promote all the fantastic work done by students in communities across Ireland.

Press Releases from the Year


St Angela’s College Sligo:



NUI Galway:

IT Sligo:




European Parliament:

Marian Harkin MEP at Launch in National Library January 2011:

The Objectives of the Year included: 

The EU will use the Year to work towards four main objectives:

1. To create an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU; 

2. To empower volunteer organisations and improve the quality of volunteering; 

3. To reward and recognise volunteering activities; and

4. To raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering. 


Visit the EU Citizenship Portal to learn more about the EU Year of Volunteering 2011, and Ireland’s country report:


Some quick facts from the year:

22 to 25% of Europeans are involved in voluntary work
Sport and culture: the main areas for voluntary work
Solidarity and humanitarian aid: the area in which the voluntary sector plays the most important role
Maintaining and strengthening social cohesion, the first benefit of volunteering in the EU



Further Reading:

The yearlong campaign also was featured in an academic book chapter to highlight the significance of the collaboration.

McIlrath, L., & Tansey, L. (2013). Student Engagement Through Volunteering. Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education, 221.


The Campus Engage Post two page feature includes details on the campaign development:

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