Student Volunteer Connection
A volunteering interview by: Emily
I was a chair member for Student Volunteer Connection at Texas State University. I interviewed and was appointed Campus Relations chair. I was responsible for all on campus activities for students affiliated with the organization. I was responsible for organizing bi-monthly service events for students that have an interest in volunteering or doing community service. We called these frequent meetings, “Bobcat Service Update” I often had guest speakers from other not for profit organizations in the area that had future events coming up. We would have miniature service events where we would create, or make something related to their event and donate it. I had to consider budget limitations, time limitations, rules and regulations set by the university. I had to market the events, by promoting through twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. We would also send a weekly email to all members of the different service organizations with future events coming up. A very important piece of my position was team work and working with the other officers to consider the best solution to member retention and following. I proposed an idea for an incentive program to encourage member retention, and to minimize fall off of members after certain events. I also proposed events and collaborated with other members of the organization to ensure every volunteer and member were getting the most out of their experience with us.
I was and will always continue to be inspired by all of the people that I have encountered in my life who have helped me through the struggles of my life, and the struggles of others that have lead to me further understanding the importance of volunteer and non profit work. I have received assistance from public service, programs created to help runaways find solid ground again. I attended an alterative high school that funded my GED, and support from teachers that encouraged me to finish high school, let alone college. I also encountered several genuinely good mentors and role models throughout my life who all gave to me guidance, positive reinforcement and constructive criticism that have all helped me make the decision to volunteer, and work in non-profit organizations in order to pay forward all the good karma I’ve been granted in my life. I’ve spread my volunteer experience through several different types of non-profits, from animals, to children, to farmer’s markets. I have found that every experience you really truly get out what you put in. I’ve felt acceptance, appreciation, and gratitude received and given to everyone I have spent my time with throughout my volunteer experiences. Overall, the kind words, and actions of the positive people in my life have all made me feel that it is my duty, and my obligation to pay it forward, and to help show the world what kindness, inclusion, and acceptance is really about.
The Aha! moment…
I’ve learned so much from volunteering. I’ve learned how to find and create lasting relationships and connections that are beneficial for the future of myself, and other people in high need situations, such as resources regarding food, housing, personal hygiene, and job support. I’ve also learned to always be grateful for all of the things we are fortunate to have in this country, because we have so much more than everyone else. I’ve learned to not take anything for granted and to be considerate of resources such as water, housing, food, and even family connections. There are always people that won’t have food, water, or housing and wasting these resources shows our unawareness of insensitivity to the problems of others that lack these resources. I’ve also learned more about effective teamwork, and problem solving. I’ve learned a lot about coming together to make up for the shortcomings of other team members for the overall good of the project, activity or organization. I’ve learned about compromising for the benefit of the bigger picture, and the volunteers outside of our team that are affected by our encounters and interactions, such as putting aside my own needs to benefit the needs of other which is a selfless and ever rewarding experience. I’ve learned that people who volunteer come from all sorts of backgrounds are all going to reflect from the volunteer experience differently and to be accepting and nonjudgmental of their experience and reflect because no one idea is better than another we all have important and valuable ideas and experiences that mean something to us individually.
To summarize it in three words…
Why should you do this
I always recommend that my friends, family and acquaintance volunteer at some point in their life. My go to, because I live in such a pet friendly area is often that people foster, or adopting pets from shelters and I always promote spaying and neutering for everyone who has an animal. I think volunteering is an important experience for teenagers, and young adults because we often have struggles that we think are going to define the rest of our life, but they are very superficially. The struggles of poverty, homelessness, and mental illness are much greater than that. I think that there are endless interpersonal skills, leadership skills, teamwork skills, etc.… that can all be gained by youth before, or during entering the workforce. Volunteering is an important part of any community and learning about the struggles and connections that can be gained by everyone that is part of that community. I think that understanding the worst of situations will help people learn to appreciate the best of them and all students should be required to volunteer because awareness of the problems in the United States will help contribute to a solution to make our country a better place for everyone. We are in the United States and feel that we should all contribute to a solution to make this country free of hunger, judgment, and allow for freedom of expression, religion, and sexuality.