Volunteers from the Stirling Student Tenant’s Union (SSTU) have begun to help students move out of university accommodation.
The volunteers have offered to pack, transport, and store the belongings of students who cannot make it back to Scotland due to Coronavirus travel restrictions.
The move comes following the decision by Accommodation Services that all students have to leave their accommodation by July 12 for the properties to be deep cleaned.
This decision proved controversial when international students who could not return to Scotland were told that their belongings could be disposed of if they are not collected.
It has since been clarified that no student’s belongings will be disposed of if they get in touch with Accommodation Services by July 10 and explain their situation.
The first group of volunteers spent the afternoon at Polwarth House packing up the belongings of a student for them to be collected by a courier.
Euan Stainbank, the volunteer leading the team said:
“Today was about showing that the Stirling Community can come together to protect itself. People did the right thing putting themselves in safety back in March and April and we will endeavour to pay back the sacrifice they made for our community.”
The student that the four-person volunteer team were helping reached out on Facebook to thank the SSTU for their help:
“You guys are the best, you really saved me here,” she said.
The Tenant’s Union began organising the volunteer scheme after some students found that organising storage of items could cost up to £750 and that the July 12 deadline was too short notice for some couriers.
A spokesperson for the Tenant’s Union said:
“We started by appealing for volunteers who could help pack, transport, and store belongings for students. So far over 20 volunteers have come forward offering these services, they have now been organised into smaller teams.
“Now we have volunteer teams ready to help every day until July 13. We ensure every volunteer wears a face mask, uses hand sanitiser or gloves and social distances as much as possible as the safety of everyone is incredibly important. This is also in line with the guidelines Accommodation Services have given for having people come and collect your belongings for you.
“From having volunteer teams in place, we have been appealing for students who may need our help.
“If a student is interested, we ask them to fill out a security form to give consent for our volunteers to touch their belongings and liaise with Accommodation Services for them when retrieving their things as well as their contact information to keep them updated on the moving process.
“We also ask that they fill out an inventory form ensuring none of their belongings get misplaced. By doing this it gives students a sense of trust with us and ensures our volunteers can’t make any errors by checking the inventory after packing belongings.
“Our campaign has been a success and we are very grateful to the volunteers who have put themselves forward to help these students who have no other options. However unpaid volunteers should not have to come forward during a pandemic to retrieve and store belongings for students.”
Students can ask for help from volunteers by contacting the Stirling Student Tenant’s Union.
SSTU volunteers are continuing to help other students who are unable to move out of halls.
Featured Image Credit: Harry Williamson