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How to organize a student volunteer community

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Contents

Intro

Volunteering is an integral part of today's society. It demonstrates the willingness people have for the betterment of their prospective college campuses and surrounding communities and promotes networking within a community. There has been a growth in the amount of people interested in helping and it is important to organize opportunities for these people. A large portion from this amount are students. Therefore, making a community or organization becomes a need.


Need and goal

Volunteers Together, as it says on its Facebook page, has the mission of empowering students to cultivate a brighter tomorrow through service learning and strengthening volunteerism in Grand Forks by bridging the gap between the students of the University of North Dakota and the community. By taking acocount of this need for volunteering of the students of UND, this network helps their members to find the best place to volunteer for them. This student-focused organization started on January 2017, currently having aproximately 200 members.

Despite the common experience that many college student have busy academic schedules, volunteering is necessary for cultivating a better world. The goal is it to appeal to all students with all types of volunteering needs, so the question that stands is, how to make volunteering appeal to all students? Organizing a student volunteer community involves building a foundational structure that welcomes all students of different volunteering experiences to give back to their perspective community. The need for building a foundation is for long-term sustainability of the volunteering community. 


Academic support

Supports needed for facilitating a student volunteer community includes not only organizations on campus, like existing community service centers or community engagement student organizations, but also academic supports. One tip to facilitating a student volunteer community at a prospective college or university should also involve professors and departments. One path into getting professors involved is to share information about volunteer opportunities for professors to share with their students. In addition, professors that teach courses or that require volunteer work can use the information shared as direct access for students to become involved. Departments can also be aware of volunteer opportunities that might appeal to students in their specific area. 

Leadership

Those who organize are involved in building a foundation for the student volunteer community, however, leadership is open to every student who participates. Part of organizing a volunteer community is giving students space to use their voice and stand up for what they believe in. Each student will be in charge of setting their own goals for volunteering and also bear the consequences if goals are not met. Motivations and encouragement among students should be fostered however to help each other succeed in reaching their personal set goals. 

Space

The best part of organizing is that there is not always a need for tangible space in order to communicate. Students can meet in virtual spaces and communities. These virtual spaces can be used as centralized locations where students build community with other students, learn about organizations in their surrounding communities, and reach out and connect with prospective community organizations for volunteer hours and opportunities. 

Promotion

The first step is to develop a brand together. Second, talk with leadership on your perspective college campus. Third, connect folks. Fourth, go to organizations on campus and get their support. One strategy Volunteers together used is they gathered their information into one place; there are all different organizations in one location, with basic descriptions of each organization.


Huge thanks to Atle Alexander Johanson

Written by:  Nybria AcklinVictoria FerrerAbigail Dela PazNicolás Osben, Supraja Danda, &Nandini Divyakola