Opportunities to Volunteer on Campus
Many would argue that volunteering is an essential part of the college experience. It is a fun way to meet people, help others, and – ahem – pad that resume. However, volunteering is one of countless college “essentials” that demand your time and energy, mixed in somewhere between going to the library and tailgating before the big game.
by Alana Patrick
St. Olaf College
And let’s be honest – amidst this busy buzz that defines many students’ lives, it’s difficult to find time to travel to that nursing home thirty minutes away just to volunteer for an hour. The easiest solution? Volunteer on campus. You will save both travel time and expenses, and chances are that your school community could use your help.
Here are some places to get you started:
Most colleges are home to hundreds of student-run organizations. How do you pick the right one for you? Attend a club fair and search for those organizations that are specifically focused on service. Although some volunteer-related clubs do travel off campus to serve, talk to representatives to find clubs whose missions are centered more locally.
2. Campus events
Bulletin boards, flyers, and website advertisements will be your greatest help in finding one-time service-related events taking place on campus. Keep your eye out for well-known sponsors, such as the American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, and American Red Cross. Chances are, these events will be on the larger scale, so gather up some friends and have fun while helping a cause.
If you have a passion for a certain subject, talk to your professor about opportunities to share your knowledge. Many colleges have tutoring systems that allow you to act as a mentor for other students, meanwhile giving you the double benefit of helping the community and staying refreshed on subjects you may have studied last semester.
4. Greek Life
Volunteering is incorporated into many fraternities and sororities. Some – such as Gamma Sigma Sigma and Omega Phi Alpha – have mission statements that focus exclusively on service. Again, look for those organizations whose efforts are centered on campus.
5. Your passions and ideas
Can’t find exactly what you’re interested in? Organize your own service event or club on campus. Usually the process is relatively easy – just round up some friends, talk with an adviser about resources, and you’re on your way!
I do think that volunteering is not something you should miss out on while at college – it is, as I mentioned before, an essential of sorts. At the same time, it shouldn’t stress you out by overloading your schedule. Look for a service project you love to do, and do it. But no need to look too far; chances are, there are plenty of opportunities right in front of you.