On Friday 22 March, the Royal Holloway Volunteering team will attempt to break a Guinness World Record - 'Most Nationalities Collecting Litter'. We recently caught up with Luke Russell, Volunteering Coordinator, to discover more about the team's record attempt and the other activities Royal Holloway Volunteering have planned for the rest of the term.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role within Royal Holloway Volunteering?
My role is Volunteering Coordinator and my main responsibilities are recruiting volunteers for a wide range of community projects. I also manage our volunteer Project Leaders and do a good deal of admin related to volunteer hours, Passport points, social media and impact measurement. I have been at the university for almost four years now, and my last big achievement was taking a lead on the Royal Holloway Festival of Volunteering last year.
2. We understand that on Friday 22 March the Volunteering team will be attempting to break a Guinness World Record. Could you tell us a bit more about what this record is, and how the team are attempting to break it?
The world record we are trying to break is the one for “Most Nationalities Collecting Litter” and we need representatives of over sixty different nationalities to take part. These representatives can be students or staff and the attempt will take place at 1pm outside the Boilerhouse. This will be our third attempt to break the record. The two previous times we got very close, with thirty-seven different countries represented each time. This time, we need a bit more of a push if we are going to get into the official Guinness World Record book!
The Volunteering team are working together with Runnymede council as well as Voluntary Support North Surrey to hit our target. When we held the events in the past, we had a fantastic time cleaning up campus, even if we did not quite break the record. Here’s hoping that third time’s the charm! The attempt will only last one hour, so if any staff feel like taking a quick break on a Friday afternoon, then this will be a fantastic way of doing it! Interested participants can sign up online.
3. Why have the team chosen to try and break this record?
We are very fortunate here at the College to have such a diverse community of students and staff members, so this record seemed like a fantastic way of getting people together, united in the goal of cleaning up our campus! It also feels like a record we can actually break, and is certainly a lot safer than “Most blow torches extinguished with the tongue in one minute” (40, in case you were wondering).
4. Has Royal Holloway Volunteering got any other events coming up?
The next big event we have will be the Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards, taking place on Tuesday 4 June. This is a great way of recognising the amazing work of volunteers in the local community, and last year we managed to hit more than 11,000 hours of volunteering! As we get closer to the event we will be opening nominations for the awards, so if any staff know of students who have activily volunteered this year, please let me know!
5. What has been the most exciting volunteering project that you have worked on?
The Festival of Volunteering last year was amazing. It was great to have so many incredible local and national charities together on campus, and we have had positive feedback from partners and volunteers who attended. A big circus tent, live performers, community partners stands and a healthy dose of September sun all came together to make a truly incredible day. I also think the Festival was a great way for teams across the university to come together and deliver something exciting and different.
6. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am a Scout leader so I spend quite a bit of time planning activity nights and trips. This last week we have been using axes, nails and saws to turn leftover pallets into camp furniture! I went to Japan a few years ago and came back with a love of building plastic robots and Japanese cooking, so I am always looking to perfect my ramen recipe. I also like watching really bad horror films!
7. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway and within Royal Holloway Volunteering?
The Royal Holloway Volunteering team are incredibly supportive when it comes to interesting new ideas. The Festival of Volunteering and even the World Record both started out as being wild ideas that eventually snowballed into reality, and it is wonderful working in an environment where those ideas can develop into something great.