Hundreds of student volunteers support Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games success


(lr) Shenomi Rupasinga, Abigail Edwards, Eliza Ball, Cully McDermid, Gabriella Drysdale-Reid, Semilore Adebayo, Hannah Alderson, Aastha Popawala, Meera Ramamurthy, Ellen Murgatroyd.

From courtside assistance and first aid to stage construction and from athlete support to social media, students from across 9 of our local universities have volunteered their expert skills to ensure this year’s commonwealth games does Birmingham proud.

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, said: “Playing host to the Commonwealth has been a huge collective effort that has shown the very best of civic spirit right across our region. I pay special tribute to the contribution our students have made. The effort they have put into supporting events with their time and commitment is truly remarkable and I thank them for it.”

Andrew Newman, Director of Workforce and Volunteering for Birmingham 2022, said: “The Commonwealth Collective has been crucial to the delivery of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and every single volunteer, no matter their role, has made a huge contribution and ensured that all of our spectators have had a fantastic experience. We’d like to thank all of the students from the universities and colleges from across the West Midlands for supporting the Games.”

Playing host to the Commonwealth has been a huge collective effort that has shown the very best of civic spirit right across our region.

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor

Here’s what the student volunteers had to say about their experiences:

Shenomi Rupasinghe
University College Birmingham
International Tourism Business Management student
Role: Media content gatherer, Team Scotland Digital

“The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was an amazing opportunity and I loved every moment. The office atmosphere I felt during my position for Team Scotland was eye-opening. I never thought as a 23-year-old that I might enjoy such a role. I am now considering a career in this field.”

Abigail Edwards
University College Birmingham
Hospitality and Events Management student
Role: Games venue infrastructure/Keys to the City support (Birmingham 2022 Festival)

“I’m very grateful for the opportunities the Commonwealth Games has offered me. I have been able to experience a variety of different areas within the events industry during my placement year. But most of all, I have enjoyed the community atmosphere that the Games have bought to Birmingham and all the amazing people I have met along the way.”

Eliza Ball
Recent graduate, University of Birmingham
Role: Athletes Village entertainment hub

“As part of the entertainment hub volunteer team at the Athletes Village at University of Warwick, I’ve been playing games with the athletes all day. I was part of the welcome ceremonies and got to see different activities including the New Zealand team perform the haka which was awesome.”

Cully McDermid
University College Birmingham
Global Events Management student
Role: Media content gatherer, Team Scotland Digital

“My experience of the Games has been amazing. It has been intriguing to see how the social media and website works behind the scenes and it has given me an insight into this side of events. I really enjoyed it. It has been really fun and special to experience all of Team Scotland’s successes and I have gained a lot of valuable knowledge. I am very grateful for being given this opportunity.”

Gabriella Drysdale-Reid
University College Birmingham
Adult Nursing student
Role: Batonbearer

“I was nominated by my uni to be a baton bearer. It was an amazing experience as I was warmly welcomed by the town of Market Bosworth and had all my family and friends there, waving and cheering me on as well as the local community and other batonbearers. Being able to share stories and hear what others were nominated for was inspirational and it was great to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them. I met many local figures including the mayor, and even had an interview with BBC Radio Leicester. Birmingham 2022 will go down in history and I will not forget it.”

Semilore Adebayo
University of Birmingham Trauma Science student
Role: First responder

“As a first responder, I’ve been catering to any medical needs, from sun cream to fixing up scrapes and bumps, making members of the public feel comfortable. In addition to helping keep people safe, seeing the Opening Ceremony was amazing. It was so great to see it live after the rehearsals.”

Hannah Alderson
University of Birmingham Physiotherapy student
Role: Physiotherapist

“As a student, there aren’t many occasions where you are presented with such an unreal opportunity – the Commonwealth Games has been an experience of a lifetime. We have been able to develop our skills whilst engaging with an array of incredible performers from pro dancers to puppeteers, experiencing such a variety of roles within the umbrella of physio. Never would I have imagined, treating a patient as a 10m bull strolled past.”

Aastha Popawala
Aston University
MSc Strategy and International Business
Role: Team Member EVS (Event Service Manager)
“I am so happy and proud to be the part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games . It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am very blessed that I was able to contribute and witness something so extraordinary.

Meera Ramamurthy
Aston University
MSc Business and Management
Role: Event Services, Team Member, General

“I chose to volunteer at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to gain the wonderful experience of the spirit of the city and its people. Additionally, this is the first time I am volunteering and being at the games is the best opportunity to kick start my volunteering journey

“Being an international postgraduate student in Birmingham, at a time like this is the most fortunate any student could be. Being part of the volunteering collective has been the most wonderful experience so far. Meeting numerous volunteers from different walks of life, interacting with them has been the most exciting aspect of the journey.”

Ellen Murgatroyd
University of Birmingham Dentistry student
Role: Chair of the resuscitation for medical disciplines committee And Oral Health advisor in the Athletes Village

“As Chair of the resuscitation for medical disciplines committee, I’ve helped deliver teaching for volunteers acting as first responders, refreshing their skills and issuing certificates. It has been great to be involved in a unique experience to meet lots of new people and deliver specialist support. I’ve loved working with the athletes and have even been recognized as ‘oral health girl’ outside of my post.”

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