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Home > News and views > Five reasons why you should volunteer

Five reasons why you should volunteer

Volunteer judges for the ESU sat at a table

Five great reasons why you should volunteer as a judge for the ESU 

In celebration of Volunteering Recognition Day we wanted to highlight five reasons why everyone should volunteer at least once in their life. There are many ways you can volunteer, all of which will help others – and many of which will benefit you as well!

Here are five great reasons why you should become a volunteer judge at the ESU:  

1. You’ll gain new skills 

From public speaking to mentoring; giving constructive feedback to coaching; volunteering as a judge for our competitions allows you to broaden your skill set and bolster your CV. As student Hamza Nouman, one of our Mace judges says, ‘Judging is a really good way to diversify your attention away from just studying 24/7. At the same time, I think judging the ESU Mace has made me more insightful as well – it’s helped me scrutinise evidence and sources more closely, and to think more clearly about how I present my arguments. I certainly believe it’s made a difference to my grades.’ 

2. You’ll make new friends 

Our judges come from all walks and stages of life, from students to retired lawyers and teachers. But they all share an interest in speech and communication, and in helping young people achieve their full potential. Many are also active in our branches or at our social events, so volunteering with us can be a way into meeting a whole new community.  

3. You’ll learn a lot 

Instead of spending an evening in front of the TV, you could be listening to speeches about digital manipulation or international human rights, or seeing the different ways in which Shakespeare can be interpreted. Always engaging and often surprising, our competitions will give you plenty of food for thought. As freelance author, editor and ESU Performing Shakespeare judge David Baker says, ‘I studied drama and Shakespeare as part of a degree course in English but each time I’ve judged, I learned new things about Shakespeare and performance – both from the expertly run pre-performance workshops [at the semi and grand finals] and the competitors’ performances. 

4. It’s rewarding  

Without wanting to overstate it, watching young people debate complex topics with passion and insight, or holding an audience rapt as they perform a scene, is to have one’s faith in humanity restored. Even if the student you’re judging isn’t the most accomplished speaker or performer, they are still challenging themselves, putting themselves forward and overcoming fears which many adults have not mastered. That alone demands respect though, more often than not, we think you’ll be amazed at the standard of competition. Louis Preston, TV researcher and volunteer Public Speaking Competition judge says, ‘young adults are a lot more intelligent than many people give them credit for and they know a lot more about the world now than I think young people ever have done.’ 

5. You’re making the world a better place! 

Research shows that the better young people can communicate and express themselves, the happier, healthier and more fulfilled they will be. By becoming a volunteer judge with us, you are helping children not only to find their voices but to develop a sense of self-worth and confidence, not to mention an empathy with others, that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives. How’s that for an outcome of a just a few hours of your time?! 

Find out more about volunteering as a judge with the ESU.  


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