Queen's University and Ulster University graduations: Full results and pictures July 3, 2015
How Paul has given his time to help regenerate lives of less fortunate
A student whose volunteering commitment and entrepreneurial drive has helped support the homeless community in Belfast is celebrating his graduation this week.
Paul Loughran, who is graduating with a degree in Business Information Technology, co-founded Regenerate NI, a student-led community organisation that gives homeless people in Belfast the opportunity to gain part-time jobs in regeneration projects.
Paul, from Belfast, came up with the idea for Regenerate NI when he joined Enactus Belfast, a Queen's programme that encourages students to develop social projects that support disadvantaged people in the community. Since it was founded in 2013, Regenerate NI has gone from strength to strength. Twelve Queen's students now work on the programme, providing support, training and employment opportunities for homeless people across the city.
Along with his work on Regenerate, Paul has also received international recognition for his volunteering work at Queen's, winning the Queen's Student Union President's Award For Student Achievement, as well as Volunteer of the Year from the Union of Students in Ireland.
This year he also sat on the steering board of the Mind Your Mood mental health campaign at Queen's, while he was selected as a Northern Ireland Social Ambassador for a project working with 10 Downing Street. And for the last two years, he has been on the board of directors for CAUSE, one of Northern Ireland's biggest mental health charities.
Paul has also been elected to the Queen's Students' Union Council for the past two years and was elected to serve as the Students' Union Vice President for Community for 2015/16.
He said: "I helped start Regenerate because I wanted to make a difference in society and support those people who are vulnerable or have gone through a tough time in their lives. It has proved a great success and I'm proud that I was involved. During my time at the university I feel I've had the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of my fellow students.
"Queen's is renowned for creating global citizens who are workplace-ready after graduating and I believe I have accomplished both attributes. A degree from Queen's is more than just a qualification, it helps you aspire to achieve your goals in life."