Humans of UniCrew: Aliyah Ali

Today we have for you another superhuman volunteer! Meet Aliyah, a real volunteer battler. We quiz her about how she gets her kicks from getting out in Dunedin communities and encouraging change through various volunteer projects.

Hi Aliyah, Why are you passionate about volunteering?

I always say that volunteering is a selfish passion of mine. It simply allows me to do what I love, while also helping others. What I think people don’t understand about volunteering is that you are not only helping other people, but you are helping yourself too. Volunteering provides you with an invigorating experience. I love the whole package — the first enthusiasm you have towards helping a cause, through the problem-solving journey, and seeing changes coming from your efforts. Helping create change makes me feel like I am part of something larger than myself. I have become invested in the lives of many of the amazing people I have met along the way. At a certain point I began to feel I wasn’t just volunteering, but living a way of life.

What are volunteering project are you excited about at the moment?

There are honestly so many projects, just check out the UniCrew Database (yes, that was some shameless advertising). However, in my role as a Community Relations Representative, I have had the opportunity to work on two of my own projects. This has been super exciting for me, right from the get go, as they have been my babies and have finally come to life. The first project is Sidey Lunch where every Thursday we hold a lunch for the Caversham community. The Sidey crew help prepare the lunch and set up, then join everyone to eat. Obviously, the soup is too delicious to pass up. A combination of meeting lovely people and yummy food makes this a perfect opportunity for us to unwind from student life.

Brain Gains is the second project, which is a homework club held at Corstorphine Community Hub. If I could use any word to describe this community it would be ‘whanau’. Everyone welcomes you with open arms and is incredibly supportive of each other. The kids are hilariously cheeky, so you definitely don’t have a dull moment with them, and teaching them certainly keeps you on your feet. These two communities are vastly different, but the one thing they both possess is strength and support. I couldn’t be a happier volunteer and I am excited to see how we can keep expanding on these projects, hopefully with more volunteers 😉

What volunteering opportunity would you love to explore in the future?

Well, I once was a Pippin in the GirlGuides. Having the opportunity to work with GirlGuides to connect previous GirlGuides within the university would be a great project. I would also like to explore more communities that have little projects and are in need of our fun UniCrew volunteers. Our communities are what make up Dunedin, so helping the locals to improve their neighbourhoods would be something I would love to further explore.

 Which 4 people, dead or alive would you invite to a dinner party?

Ahhh only 4! This is so difficult. I would first and foremost have to go with Kate Sheppard, only because I have written every social studies project on her since I was in year 3. Queen Elizabeth I because she was a fierce ruler and I am kinda obsessed after having watched so many documentaries on her. D.H Lawrence, because he was a controversial literary artist that decided to resist the norms and continued writing regardless of negative reaction to his work. The last one would probably have to be a toss up between Christopher Nolan because I have to know more about his obsession with flawed heroes, or Sigmund Freud. They are both individuals with very intricate understandings of the human mind. Hmmm… I can only imagine how interesting this dinner would turn out to be.

Want to join Aliyah in supporting our local communities? There are plenty of options on the UniCrew Volunteer Database to choose from!

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