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The Office of Student Life believes volunteering is an essential component of a well-rounded and fulfilling college experience, and would like to help you get involved and make a difference. Whether you are interested in volunteering for fun and personal fulfillment, to earn service hours or as a part of a group or organization, please visit our TritonSync portal or our Student Life Calendar for more information on upcoming volunteer experiences. We are now partnering with United Way's Volunteer Center to connect students, staff, and faculty to opportunities outside of the university. It is a great tool to find individual or group projects tailored to your interests, from hundreds of local non-profits.
Reasons to Volunteer
Whether you are cleaning up debris from a tornado, improving houses in the community or creating a safe and fun place for children to “trunk or treat,” volunteering is one of the most beneficial and rewarding experiences a person can have. There are numerous reasons to volunteer, including:
- Connecting with your community
- Conserving the funds of charities, nonprofits and organizations by donating your time
- Sharing your established skills and acquiring new skills
- Developing self-esteem and self-confidence
- Meeting new people and having new experiences
- Enhancing your resume and making networking contacts
- Promoting a worthwhile activity, and inspiring others to do the same
Planning a Group Project
Volunteering as a group can help bring your group closer, build or improve communication skills and foster teamwork. If you are planning a group volunteer project, you may find the following tips helpful:
- Pick a meaningful volunteer experience.
- Try to pick a project that ties into your organization’s mission or that is meaningful to your group members.
- Choose an experience that focuses on your strengths, using what your group and its individuals already know and are good at.
- Focus your group’s volunteer work on one or two specific causes, rather than spreading your members too thin working on numerous causes.
- Prepare for the event.
- Schedule the event with enough time to recruit and coordinate volunteers.
- Maintain contact with the organization or agency you will be volunteering for and call to confirm approximately one week before the event.
- Reflect on the experience.
- Have your group members discuss and reflect upon how the volunteer experience impacted the agency, the community, your group and themselves.
- Reflection changes the volunteer experience from simply doing something nice to being an integral part of the community.
UMSL Students of Service (SOS) is the service programming board in Student Life. UMSL SOS engages students through service and leadership opportunities by fostering collaboration between campus and community organizations. We aim to enhance students’ awareness of community needs through programming and education. The group meets biweekly with general members and interested students.