Volunteering and RAG

Fundraising and Volunteering are two fantastic ways to feel part of the York community, get involved and give back. Thousands of students get involved in fundraising and volunteering on campus and in the local community each Year at York.

YUSU Volunteering and RAG are different to other student groups as students do not have to pay any joining fees, but can instead get involved with a free membership that is open to all!

In 2018/2019...

  • 741 students got involved in YUSU Student-Led Projects and one-off activities
  • 11716 hours were volunteered by students
  • 25 one-off opportunities were held for students to get involved in
  • Over £120,000 was raised for Charity Partners by our students!
Click on the tabs below to find out more about how to get involved in Volunteering and Fundraising in YUSU:

YUSU Volunteering

Volunteering is about choosing to give your time, energy and skills to something that matters to you. YUSU Volunteering supports and runs a variety of volunteering opportunities at York. These range from regular projects where you can form long-term relationships and watch programmes grow, to engaging and exciting one off opportunities that are aimed at benefiting the local community and students, in and around York.

There are a number of ways you can get involved, from volunteering with one of our student-led projects, giving an hour of your time with our one-off opportunities, volunteering for your college charity partner or volunteering with our careers and placements team.

YUSU Volunteering Projects

Our student-led projects work with children deliver volunteering programmes within schools and the local York community, covering a range of key areas such as children and young people, the arts and health and wellbeing.

You can sign up to our projects online by purchasing a ‘free membership’ and any student can get involved. Although a project may have guidelines in place that requires a volunteer to attend training or obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which can be obtained for free with YUSU.

Search through our projects below, and follow the page links to find out more about what the projects offer, and how to get involved.

Start your own Project

Can’t see something in the list below that you’d like to get involved in? Then start your own! If you’re thinking about ratifying a student group under YUSU, there are a few steps you’ll need to complete. Ratifying brings you a whole host of benefits, including access to financial aid, a free presence at Freshers’ Fair, a spot on the YUSU website, and dedicated staff support for your operational management - but we hold our groups to a very high standard, so you’ll need to be sure it’s the right thing for your group. Your application will be reviewed and voted on by Volunteering Committee. Once you have their approval, you’ll have to complete some documentation before you are formally ratified. Read through our Guide to Starting a New Project to get started, and complete the application form.

Want to find other ways to get involved in volunteering? Check out the university's opportunities here.

Volunteering Committee

Volunteering Committee is chaired by the elected Volunteering Officer, and is made up of a range of student representatives from all years and faculties, each responsible for a different aspect of volunteering at York, who help to provide the most fulfilling and impactful volunteering opportunities to students at York, represent all volunteers, supporting them to improve their volunteer experience and choose whether to ratify new volunteering projects.

The 2019-2020 Volunteering Committee are:

  • YUSU Activities Officer: Ollie Martin
  • YUSU Volunteering Officer: Christopher Oldnall and Will Wilson
  • Press and Publicity Coordinator: Sally Deacon
  • Secretary and Treasurer: Catherine Morris
  • Careers Contact: VACANT
  • Colleges Coordinator: Henrietta Catley
  • Student Groups Liaison: VACANT
  • Community Liaison: Isobel Standen
  • Events Coordinator: Hope Shooter
  • Internal Events Liaison: Joel Beardmore
  • External Events Liaison: Laura Jackson

For more information on Volunteering Committee, or to apply for the vacant roles, please email [email protected]

Volunteering Committee Meeting Minutes are available here.

Volunteering Resource Hub

We want our student leaders to be as informed as possible, so we created the Volunteering Resource Hub to help answer all your questions about running your student group. From finance queries to health and safety concerns, if you have a question the Resource Hub is the best place to start.

DBS Checks and Training for Volunteers

Some of our YUSU projects re quire volunteers to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check covering children and young people or vulnerable adults.

DBS drop-ins take place in Autumn Term every Thursday 2pm-4pm in YUSU. Check our guidance on if you need a DBS Check to volunteer with a certain project and guidance on any documentation you may require here. If you have any questions regarding training or DBS checks, please contact [email protected]

Volunteering Impact

"I have loved my time doing MEG, not only does it show you the power of music on members of the local community, it helps you love music even more! MEG has been such a huge influence during my university time that it has convinced me to train to be a primary teacher next year."
Music Education Group Volunteer

“Nightsafe volunteering is a very rewarding experience. For me, Nightsafe really helped build my confidence and has given me the opportunity to learn new skills, meet some great people, and become part of a project and team that I can be proud of for the rest of my life.”
Nightsafe Team Leader

“Joining OpenMinds is one of the most positive things I have done at University. I feel as though I am making a real difference in mental health education in the local area, which is something I believe to be truly important. Taking on a more active role has given me the opportunity to work with people who share my passion and also want to make a difference. I am so thankful for the experience.”
OpenMinds Committee Member

"Joining Tea and Coffee Club was the best decision since starting studying at the University of York"
Tea and Coffee Club Volunteer


'Angels in the Orange Coats': What's it really like working for NightSafe?

We spoke to graduate Hannah Greenwood to find out more about the service that keeps students safe at night . . .

Read more

Nightline: The service that's 'all ears'

Paige Street tells us about what it was like to be an 'anonymous listener' . . .

Read more

'You have the ability to cure cancer.'

Marrow volunteer, Anie Hu, tells us her story of cancer recovery and the importance of the stem cell register . . .

Read more

One-off Volunteering

YUSU also offer a range of low commitment, flexible opportunities for you to gain experience. Boost your CV and get involved.

One-off volunteering is a way to get involved in a range of different events and opportunities that fit around your availability. As a student we understand that you have many other commitments, alongside coming to University to get a degree!

Volunteering doesn’t have to be long-term to make an impact, you can still make a difference by giving an hour of your time.

"It was very fun and rewarding, and a great opportunity to get involved in Roses without competing."
Roses 2019 Event Steward


Microvolunteering is another way you can get involved and make an impact in a small amount of time. It requires no application process, training or checks, and can take just minutes to complete.

See the list of opportunities from a range of organisations below:

Microvolunteering Opportunities

Be my Eyes

Support a blind or low-vision person for visual assistance through video calling. From checking expiry dates, distinguishing colours, reading instructions etc.

Definition Of

Contribute by defining a word, with every two approved definitions, a donation of a lunch to a hungry child will be made.

Free Rice Game

A free quiz game, where each answer you get right, the World Food Programme donate 10 grains of Rice to help end hunger.


Helping worldwide campaigns and supporting inspiring activities through an app.

Galaxy Zoo

Assist professionals in classifying research on how galaxies are formed looking at telescopic images of distant galaxies.


Solve a puzzle and help genetic disease research.

Pocket Protest

Receive a text when someone is in need or support and contribute to defending free speech and stand up for human rights.


Post a smile on a sick child’s face by sending letters, cards, emails or gifts to seriously ill children and their siblings in the UK.


Listen to music whilst raising money for communities in Indonesia for free.

ZSL Instant Wild

Take part in conservation work and support the future of wildlife by identifying animals in images from across the world.

Raising and Giving (RAG)

YUSU RAG is run by a committee of students who organise a range of fundraising events across the academic year, and aim to support and inspire other students to get involved in raising money for charity.

YUSU RAG offers a range of opportunities for students to get involved in, from international Treks and Challenges, to fun on campus events and campaigns.

Core Charities

YUSU RAG elects a number of core charities each year which will be supported by RAG during the academic year.

With almost 500 votes cast, the successful YUSU RAG Beneficiaries for 2019/2020 are:


SNAPPY is a local York Charity supporting children and young people with a wide-range of disabilities, providing them the opportunity to engage in activities, enjoy new experiences, have fun and make friends.


SASH carry out their work in North and East Yorkshire, and offer support and accommodation to young people aged 16 to 25 facing homelessness.


BEAT is the UK’s eating disorder charity, and work on research, awareness training, supporting healthcare professionals, online and regional support services as well as phone and email helplines that are open 365 days a year.

Treks and Challenges

Last year, students raised over £60,000 getting involved in National and International Treks and Challenges, trekking Machu Picchu, volunteering at an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand, trekking and building a playground in Western Uganda, running the Budapest Marathon, and climbing the Three Peaks, all for charitable causes!

This year, YUSU RAG are offering a host of different treks and challenges for students to get involved in.

Climb Kilimanjaro with Dig Deep:

Trip dates: August/September 2020 (8 days)

Location: Tanzania

Fundraising Target: £2500

Registration Fee: £440

This is your chance to reach the Roof of Africa whilst supporting Dig Deep’s vital work in rural Kenya.

This coming year Dig Deep are aspiring to raise more money and deliver more projects in rural Kenya than ever before. By taking on the epic six day Kilimanjaro trek, you will help to transform lives by providing access to clean water, sanitation and facilitating hygiene and menstrual health training to communities and schools in East Africa.

Email [email protected] for more information


Elephants and Hill Tribes with Challenges Abroad and the Futuresense Foundation:

Trip dates: 15th August 2020 - 30th August 2020 (15 days)

Location: Thailand

Fundraising Target: £1,850

Registration Fee: £300

Volunteer in Thailand on the Elephants and Hill Tribes programme, working with elephants and volunteering at a grassroots level in local communities. Your first week will be spent in the rural hill tribe villages, working on education and renovation programmes in partner schools that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Your second and final week will be spent in our partner Elephant park, home to over 70 elephants, as well as buffalo, cats and dogs! You will help with the daily runnings of the park, including preparing breakfast and feeding the Elephants!

Click to sign up here.

Machu Picchu Challenge for the Futuresense Foundation:

Trip dates: 20th June 2020 - 4th July 2020 (15 days)

Location: Peru

Fundraising Target: £1,850

Registration Fee: £300

Take on a more physical challenge on the Peru Machu Picchu challenge! You will take the infamous 5 day Salkantay trek to the incredible Machu Picchu! On this challenging trek you will pass through jungles, mountains and be at the heart of Inca history. You will also spend 1 week volunteering in the Sacred Valley on one of our community programmes delivering conversational English and STEM workshops and have free time to explore Urubamba and Cusco!

Click to sign up here.

Manchester Marathon for Kidscan:

Date: 5th April 2020

Location: Manchester

Fundraising Target: 300

Registration Fee: 75

Help take on the challenge of beating children's cancer by taking on a challenge of your own. By getting your friends and family to sponsor you, you can raise the vital funds needed to find new treatments, and support the work that Kidscan carry out.

By running the ASICS Manchester Marathon, you will have the chance to push your body to the physical limit, whilst raising money for an amazing cause. Fundraising and training support shall also be provided by YUSU RAG, so what have you got to lose?

Email [email protected] for more information.

Skydive for ClicSargent:

Date: To be confirmed

Location: Hibaldstow Airfield

Fundraising Target:300

Registration Fee: 75

Ever wanted to feel the rush of adrenaline that will last a lifetime? Free fall from 15,000 feet and take in the spectacular views around you. Fulfil your dream this year and help raise money for children and young people with cancer. This Year, RAG are offering students the opportunity to throw themselves out of a plane at 15,000 feet for the Cancer Charity Clic Sargent.

Clic Sargent are here for children, young people and their families when the doctor says ‘it’s cancer.’ We provide financial support to help deal with the cost of cancer, support families to help them stay together following a diagnosis and fight for children and young people with cancer’s rights.

Email [email protected] for more information.

Three Peaks

Date: June 2020 (2 days)

Location: England, Wales and Scotland

Fundraising Target: £650

Registration Fee: £75

The Three Peaks is one of Britain's toughest challenges, going from sea level to the summit of the highest mountains of Wales, England and Scotland.

All Money raised will be going to the National Autistic Society. They are the UK’s leading charity for autistic people. Since 1962, we have been campaigning for autistic people’s rights and providing support and advice to autistic people and their families. They are here to transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic adults and children.

Email [email protected] for more information.

RAG Committee

RAG Committee is chaired by the elected Raising and Giving Officers, and is made up of a range of student representatives from all years and faculties, each responsible for a different aspect of growing and developing fundraising, and inspiring students to get involved.

The 2019-2020 RAG Committee are:

  • YUSU Activities Officer: Ollie Martin
  • YUSU RAG Officer: Sam Meadows
  • YUSU Deputy RAG Officer: Laura Jackson
  • Secretary: Rebecca Wilcockson
  • Treasurer: Abigail Jarvis
  • Colleges Liaison: Will Wilson
  • Student Groups Liaison: Christopher Oldnall
  • PR and Marketing: Eloise Rylance
  • Events: Joel Beardmore
  • Events: Kathryn Sharpe
  • Social Events: Billie Sharman
  • National Challenges Coordinator: Michelle Osei
  • International Challenges Coordinator: Anna McDowell

RAG Committee meeting minutes are available here.

RAG Resource Hub

We want our students to be as informed as possible, so we created the RAG Resource Hub to help answer all your questions about running a successful fundraiser, following fundraising regulations as well as health and safety, room bookings and other event-related support. This Fundraising Guide that was developed by the elected RAG Officers in 2018-2019 also has all of the information needed for getting involved in fundraising.

Fundraise for your own Cause

Although YUSU RAG supports core charities that are chosen by students each year, they’re also here to support you to fundraise for your own cause.

The 2018/2019 RAG Officers developed a Fundraising Guide to support any student or student group interested in fundraising.

College Volunteering and RAG

Most colleges at the University of York provide volunteering opportunities for their students, either through projects that each college committee sets up, or through their local charity partner. You can get in touch with your college RAG and Volunteering representatives to find out more!

College Charity Partners

Each College at the University of York has a College Charity Partner, that JCRC’s and CSA’s decide on every 3 years. This charity partner is usually a local York charity, and students within the college can get involved in both fundraising and volunteering initiatives offered by the charity in collaboration with the college.

College Charity Partnerships for 2019-2021:

  • Alcuin College - St Leonard’s Hospice
  • Constantine College - Refugee Action York
  • Derwent College - York Mind
  • Goodricke College - Changing Lives
  • Halifax College - York Against Cancer
  • James College - Survive
  • Langwith College - Student Minds
  • Vanbrugh College - SASH