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Volunteer on Campus and Expand Your Resume

By Jenna Moede

Okay so this volunteering business, I've talked a lot about it, and I've even admitted that I didn't volunteer as much as I could have in college. But, we should still talk about it.

While my shot at volunteering as an undergraduate has long passed, you might still have time. For those just starting your undergraduate studies or those in the middle of your time in college, tune in for just a sec.

First, let's just address the question on everybody's mind. Why commit time to volunteering, particularly on campus, instead of working and making a little money?

I understand this question completely because I did spend my time working and taking classes, however, I spent my time off completely wasting my time instead of using my time wisely.

One year I even overslept on purpose to avoid helping out with a homecoming float. I missed out on not only a really fun time, but also the opportunity to meet some important and influential people of the local community.

Big mistake. Huge! One of the girls in my hall earned an internship out of it so I let myself down completely on that one.

So let's dig into the nitty gritty of campus volunteering and specifically campus volunteering because oftentimes people forget that opportunity exists and head straight for bigger community activities (even though I highly encourage community volunteering as well).

If you need a fantastic reason to volunteer on campus, think about the potential to attach a good reputation for service and work ethic to your name.

Volunteering on campus can really help you establish yourself within the school. Word of mouth can benefit you if you do a great job on every task you volunteer for.

Not only can it benefit you individually, but you can also advertise for any campus clubs or groups you participate in. Good exposure, whether personal or for a group, can never hurt.

You also have a greater opportunity to meet people from your campus that you otherwise might not run into when you volunteer on campus which can lead to great networking opportunities.

Moving along, you might just land yourself an internship, job or at the very least, improve your resume. I have a college friend that started her own charity group on campus after gaining inspiration from volunteering for a college food drive.

She ended up with one of the most influential professors as the faculty advisor and made connections with so many people that she could have her pick of jobs when she graduated.

It might not happen that way for you or me, but it doesn't hurt to tip the scales in our favor right!?

Lastly, volunteering on campus can shape your marketable skills. If you opt to complete volunteer activities that cater to your chosen career field, you might just learn something that will excite employers.

You don't have anything to lose! The benefits outweigh those couple of hours of sleep by far.

Since by now I really, really, really hope I've sold you on campus volunteering, let's talk about how to find those opportunities.

I did a little research and talked with my former campus employer to find out just what opportunities exist and how to find them.

First, keep your ear to the ground. Sometimes professors will name a volunteer opportunity in class or in an email. These can help you out since oftentimes your professors have a leg in the door on the career you hope to enter. Take advantage of them instead of slipping down in your chair and wishing that part of the lecture was optional.

Also, if you have a job on campus, check their fliers and information and talk with the staff. Typically so much mail comes through the door that if you have an opportunity to look, you might find out about some good chances to help your campus, other students and by extension, your community.

Not to beat a dead horse on this one, but check your email. I feel like I should actually have a chorus singing that by now.

Anyway, usually campuses have a volunteer center and staff that will send out these great little emails with monthly volunteer opportunities both on campus and off.

They even include a signup sheet or contact number. If you don't like calling, they usually have an email or website too. They seriously can't make it any easier. Too often, still, those spots go empty and they don't have enough willing participants.

Check out bulletin boards as you walk passed them too. If you have time to see Janie looking for a roommate, you have time to see what other information people have posted which usually includes these great service opportunities.

Lastly, check your schools website. If you miss the fliers, bulletin boards, mail, and emails, you can do a little of the work yourself and go directly to the source. Each school handles it differently, but typically you won't have any trouble locating the contact information for the volunteer center or finding a list of current activities.

No matter how you sniff out the activities, don't overlook the volunteer opportunities that exist right on campus.

You have so many chances to meet life changing people that you might not even realize. Take advantage of those opportunities while giving a little bit of yourself and your time back to your college.

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