Gurpal tirelessly works for the University, but he does not stop there. He is the founder of Human Code, a football team that supports young people from marginalised communities to gain access to grassroots football. His club helps give young people a purpose, a focus and an outlet instead of potentially turning to antisocial behaviour. During its time the team has grown, and 17 of the club members have continued to Higher Education, which is down to their dedication and the support of the surrounding community.
Angela is the driving force in producing our Civic University Agreement, which ensures that the people of Birmingham feel a tangible benefit of the University’s programmes and research. Highly involved with the Birmingham Chapter at Citizen UK, she has coordinated the collaboration with Aston Villa FC to create Villa Vision, a project to support school children with access eye healthcare. Alongside this, Angela has reinvigorated the staff volunteering policy and procedure, championing volunteering as a key staff benefit and she Chairs the Sustainable Communities working group, focusing on travel, routes and more provisions for cyclists at Aston University.
Diagnosed with MS at 18, Balraj has overcome obstacles in his life to become the elected President of the Student Union and Founder of the Punjabi Society. Speaking of his journey at university, Balraj joined ENACTUS Aston, working specifically on a project to support refugees with employability skills. During his time as Vice President, Balraj set up the Punjabi Society which started with 60 members and has since grown to 120. Balraj continues to support the MS Society, raising over £350 and delivering an MS Awareness campaign with others who share the diagnosis.
"I’m really proud that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to apply to volunteer at the Games. I’m volunteering in media operations, acting as a link between the athletes and the media. I was a little nervous at first when I saw the role I had been assigned, as it seemed to be vastly different from anything I had previously done. However, the skills, attitude and self-belief that I have developed at Aston University have all supported me in getting to grips with this new challenge."
"I decided to volunteer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as I had previously volunteered at the London 2012 Olympics, and It was the best experience I have ever had. I have been offered the role as a Protocol Team Member based at the Games Family Hotel. Being part of this event means so much more to me as I live in the Midlands, and it highlights the region I grew up in. I am so excited to volunteer at the event and be a part of history being made."
"I was thrilled when I found out I’d been selected to be a performer for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. I’ve always loved to dance – albeit in the safety of my apartment or a Zumba class at the Aston University Gym! – so getting the chance to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this is a dream come true!"