We’re all incredibly busy these days – between balancing our study and work life, we sometimes find we have no time for just about anything else.
There’s always time to give something back to the community, however; even if it’s for just one hour a week: become a volunteer.
In a way, volunteering is like combining the major aspects of your life into one overarching growth vehicle – you stimulate your mind, you practise and develop your skills, you help others, you form new social networks, and you feel both motivated by and proud of your achievements at day’s end.
UWA’s Guild Volunteering works with more than 300 not-for-profit organisations that are delivering life-changing programs in the WA community on issues such as environmental sustainability, animal welfare, homelessness, education, disabilities, aged care and much more.
Volunteering benefits the community
Whether it’s helping at a homeless shelter, planting trees, or having a chat with residents of an aged care facility, young volunteers have a lot to offer the community.
One of the issues UWA students are most passionate about is supporting the education of young WA people from less advantaged backgrounds. Hundreds of students volunteer each year with organisations such as Ignite Mentoring and Teach Learn Grow, the latter of which recently won the WA Volunteer Organisation of the Year, that bridge the education gap between rural and urban young people. Creating intergenerational connections is an important outcome of many volunteering experiences. Guild Volunteering has long been connecting students to diverse community-based groups that deliver conservation projects and other social activities that meaningfully connect people across the generations.
And yes, although volunteering isn’t a competition, it’s nice to know that your commitment will be recognised. During National Volunteer Week in May this year, recent UWA grad Riley Dolman won the 2021 WA Youth Volunteer of the Year for his work with youth-focused organisation Fair Game.
Volunteering benefits your career
Involving yourself in Guild Volunteering’s programs or with an external organisation will develop many transferable skills and demonstrate your commitment to enhancing the community – an attractive proposition for employers. For example, a 2018 Seek survey found that 92% of employers believe volunteering gives an advantage at job interviews and 95% believe volunteering is a credible way to gain real-world experience.
There are many ways for you to volunteer in areas related to your degree. Guild Volunteering has developed new resources on skills-based volunteering that aim to connect students with organisations in fields such health, environment and education, as well as providing advice on how to communicate the skills developed through volunteering to future employers.
Not-for-profit organisations, in particular, are always grateful for the fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and sought-after skills such as social media, videography and copywriting that young people can bring. For example, Social Media for Good is a student-led initiative that connects students with social media savvy to volunteer with small non-for-profits that need support to develop their social strategies. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Lastly, UWA students who undertake verified volunteering hours at uni or out in the community can have these hours recognised on their supplementary academic transcripts by Guild Volunteering. You can log your hours online, and find out more information about the criteria on our Unihub website.
How to apply
Becoming a volunteer is easy! Check out the resources on Unihub and browse through the 100 external volunteer roles available. And if you’re time-poor but still really want to give back, check out our weekly, one-off, group-based volunteering opportunities – you can sign up directly on Unihub.
Our office is in the heart of UWA campus opposite Student Central, and the door is always open! You can also keep up to date with what’s new, including the exciting upcoming ‘Winter Voliday’ program, by signing up to the Guild Volunteering newsletter.
Get involved today!