5 Ways to Give Back While at University
Giving back to the community is an amazing thing to do. It leaves you feeling great, makes a positive impact on someone else’s life and even improves your employability.
If you’re looking to work full-time in the charity sector after university, activism is a great way to discover where your passions lie. With competition for jobs increasing each year, getting involved in a cause during your free time can make your CV stand out and help you develop several key skills employers look for.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ways you can get involved in charity work whilst still studying at university.
One of the most obvious ways to give back to the community is by volunteering. Offering your services for free is a great way to be a part of something bigger than yourself and make a real difference to the world. Plus, employers highly favour people who do volunteer work. It shows them that you have a range of soft skills such as problem-solving, empathy, communication and team-work. Also, it demonstrates that you’re a hard-worker and self-motivated because you willingly gave up your time to do unpaid work (which not a lot of people do).
There are many opportunities to volunteer and because the jobs are flexible you can fit it alongside your university schedule. Some volunteering opportunities are even abroad, teaching English, conserving wildlife, renovating buildings – the possibilities are endless. So why not combine your next holiday with a bit of humanitarian work?
Stuck between having a paying job to afford university and volunteering? You can do both! With a part-time or weekend job, you’ll be able to earn enough money to keep you afloat and you’ll still have enough time to volunteer and manage your studies. Or, you can even apply for a part-time job within the charity sector.
2. Join a society
Universities offer plenty of societies for students to choose from, many of which revolve around activist work. Joining an activist society is a great way to make a difference and since it’s run by students, it’s more likely not to interfere with your university work. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build a network of passionate people who you may encounter in the working world later down the line.
As part of a society, you’ll get to build on your leadership experience as you’ll most likely be involved in the decision-making process. You could be in charge of finances, promoting an event or organising fundraising campaigns. This enables you to gain hard skills which employers love as they’re more relevant to the job. Hard skills can be things such as data analysis, project management and marketing.
3. Start a society
Not interested in any of the societies offered by your university? Or do you have an issue you’re passionate about that you believe other people will be interested in? Then start your own society.
Starting a society can seem daunting, but it’s a fairly easy process. The only difficulty is getting enough people to show an interest. But with the huge amount of students that attend university each year, there are bound to be plenty of like-minded people who will want to support your cause. You can even turn your society into an actual charity if you wish to continue to support your cause after you finish your studies. If you need some help on how to start a society, just take a look at your university page and you should find all the information you need.
4. Intern for an organisation in the charity sector
Money isn’t everything, but sadly many students struggle to make ends meet so volunteering isn’t an option for them. However, interning for an organisation that does charity/activism work is a great way to work around this. And it doesn’t have to be in a non-profit. You can intern for a community interest company or social enterprise, both of which are for-profit organisation that are dedicated to making a positive impact. You’ll be getting paid, learning on the job and making a difference. This is a great way to gain relevant work skills that are not only good for the charity sector but any other sector you wish to go in.
As an intern, your role will be more professional and less manually intensive. So, you won’t be physically having to rebuild houses or cleaning baby turtles. You might be in charge of marketing events or reaching out to people. Despite this, you’ll still be playing your part in helping the community.
5. Small Acts of Kindness
You don’t have to be a part of a huge organisation or volunteer regularly to give back. Simply doing small acts of kindness, although it might seem minuscule, can actually make a huge difference. If you see an elderly person struggling with their bags offer to help, write cards for people who are ill in hospital, help out one day at a food bank – there’s so much you can do! You don’t have to be doing something every day to help the community.
So what are you waiting for? Find out what volunteering opportunities and student societies are out there and get involved! You’ll be happy you did it.