In addition to providing an education and preparation for a career, your college years are also a time of personal growth and discovery. Many students choose to spend their free time helping organizations, people, and communities through volunteer work, and many have already spent hundreds of hours on special volunteer projects while in high school.
Being a student volunteer benefits many around you—and it is also a wonderful opportunity to develop skills that will help you throughout your time at a college or university.
College volunteer opportunities to consider include:
Service Learning: Some volunteer work is closely related to an academic major, a particular class, or a certification, which gives students the chance to help while being immersed in a potential work environment. Service learning can be a medical relief trip to Central America, a visit to an Appalachian school, or teaching English in an African village.
Community Service: These one-time and ongoing projects allow students to be involved in the planning and organization of service opportunities in and around their community. The programs are usually listed in a calendar and are within a 30 minutes of a college campus.
Alternative Break Program: These programs are set up during school breaks in a domestic location that explore social justice themes, such as how hunger and homelessness affect those in the regional area. Many alternative break programs introduce students to affordable home construction and disaster relief work.
How Do Volunteer Activities Help Students?
Makes a Difference. The impact of volunteerism can’t be overstated. Students who help others without expecting anything in return are gain satisfaction and are inspired to continue offering their time and their services, while learning more about the world around them. When you can take your classroom knowledge and use it to create a better world, you’re contributing to society and expanding your worldview, while becoming an active citizen.
Demonstrates your commitment your community. Giving back to a community—whether it’s one that you were raised in or one that you’ve become a part of during your college years—offers you the chance to improve your community and affect change in the Pittsburgh area through physical labor, project management, marketing and public relations, teaching, or fundraising. Donating your time and talents is not only a way to connect to those around you, it’s also a way to challenge yourself.
Improves your resume. Employers are interested in passionate, well-rounded students who have a good academic record but also have used their skills to help others. Many human resources professionals, in fact, will ask interviewees specific questions about their volunteer experience and use the answers to construct their overall impression of a student. Volunteering means that you’re willing to meet new people, work within a group to meet a common overall goal, and welcome new experiences—all of which are important factors when a company makes hiring decisions.
Robert Morris University considers volunteering to be an important part of a student’s college life. We have an active chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, on campus. There are also many service learning, community service, and alternative break volunteer programs available that students, staff and faculty take part in. Contact RMU today to learn more about these projects.