Campus offers opportunities for volunteer experiences

“Volunteering will change you in a positive way as a person forever and is a great way to meet people.”

There are many reasons which motivate people to volunteer, and having a positive personality change is one of them, said junior and past Alternative Breaks site leader Emily Jones.

For students who want to volunteer, Coordinator of Leadership and Volunteerism Bethany Green is the person to start with.

There are multiple volunteering activities available for students. The two which occur every year are Lions Lend a Hand and the Martin Luther King, Jr. service day, Green said.

Green said her favorite volunteering opportunity is Alternative Breaks. She said these trips occur during the fall, Thanksgiving and spring breaks.

“We go to different places and participate in different service opportunities,” she said. “On one trip we might be helping the homeless, and on the next we might be rebuilding homes.”

Alternative Breaks is more than a volunteering opportunity for students, Jones said.

“Alternative breaks isn’t just about the trips we attend,” she said. “It’s about getting students to actively get involved with volunteering and becoming an active citizen in their own communities as well.”

Green said students have to look for an email to become involved in a trip.

“The easiest way to find out about one of these trips is to keep an eye out on your email if a university break is approaching,” she said. “What we’ve done in the past is sent out a campus email telling students where we will be going, the deadline to sign up and how many spots are open.”

Jones said these volunteering trips have been a worthwhile experience.

“Not only did I make great new friends with other students from different backgrounds, but I also gained an understanding on what poverty and homelessness is like and how important this issue really is,” she said. “Trips like Alternative Breaks makes you look at your life and realize that we take a lot for granted in our own lives.”

Volunteering is an amazing experience, said senior Taylor Davis.

“People think of volunteering as a resume builder, but it’s one of those things you don’t get the gratification of money from,’ he said. “You get the gratification of ‘I helped someone. I made someone’s life better.’”

Green said students should volunteer for multiple reasons.

“No matter what your major is, there is a volunteering opportunity out there that can get you the experience that you need,” she said. “I believe if we put the effort into it, we can change things and stop things from happening. I know there are things which will always exist, but why not make it easier for people to get by?”