How having a social impact can help with your degree

Did you know 80 per cent of people aged 15 to 20 think it’s important that big companies work to improve the environment?

More and more people are looking at the world around us and thinking about the bigger picture, even if what we can actually do ourselves is on a smaller scale: buying local, living sustainably and doing our part to help those in need.

At UWA, you’ll be able to have positive impact on the world, and we don’t just mean using what you learn in your degree to make the future better. Sure, you’ll graduate with the tools you need to tackle the grand challenges facing society, but you can also get out there and combine your uni learning with community work. We think that’s important enough that we’ve ensured that particular volunteering roles will earn you academic credit – basically, you get to improve your grades while you’re improving things for other people.

Here are many ways to get involved while you’re at UWA, here are a couple of examples.

McCusker Centre internships

The McCusker Centre for Citizenship engages with the local community through a huge range of internships that’s open to all students. It works by finding an awesome placement that is meaningful to you and that provides much-needed help to others too. You could work for the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, or the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority. Or perhaps you’ll get involved helping the CEOs for Gender Equity Inc, Mission Australia or a range of other organisations.

It’s a tried-and-tested program, with almost 30,000 students, academics and members of the community who have already participated in McCusker Centre events. Plus your time on placement is included on your academic transcript, so it’s win-win.

‘Changing the World’

The Centre for Social Impact is a fast-track to becoming a social-impact leader and addressing some of the most pressing issues in the world. It’s a collaboration between UWA, UNSW and Swinburne University of Technology, and you can get involved no matter what you’re studying.

All UWA undergraduates can enrol in the unit ‘Changing the World: Social Innovation, Finance and Enterprise’, which gives you an introduction to the concepts and practices of social impact through panel discussions, guest lectures, projects and interactions with real organisations. You’ll gain knowledge in the theory and history of social impact, then be able to apply it in a real organisation to make a community contribution bigger than yourself.

While not every volunteer opportunity can count towards your degree, we have many more ways to have a positive impact outside your studies. To find out more, visit the UWA Guild volunteering page, because a world-class degree is the least you should get from your university.