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Sustainable Volunteering

As today was International Pancake Day, my friends and I headed over to IHOP for a short stack of pancakes. Rather than paying the regular fee, guests are encouraged to make donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals after the meal. We entered the building at 10AM, and the walls were already covered with slips of paper that people who had donated money had signed.

Seeing all those signatures made me start thinking about giving back, and how college students can volunteer sustainably. While it’s great to pop into IHOP and donate money, there are a ton of opportunities on campus for regular volunteerism.

Looking for a way to give back to the community regularly? Here are some examples of things you can do on campus:

1. Check out the Center for Experience and Opportunity. They can set you up with local organizations which relate to your interests and career goals. In this sense, volunteering can be not only rewarding emotionally but also a potential line on your resume.

2. Join a Greek organization. Each social fraternity and sorority has a philanthropy element. The fraternity Phi Kappa Sigma, for example, supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. Additionally, our two service fraternities on campus, Alpha Phi Omega and Gamma Sigma Sigma, focus specifically on community service.

3. Consider joining a sports team. Similar to Greek organizations, each team holds service events for athletes. For example, my cross country team volunteered at a half marathon last semester.

4. Clubs also do community service. If your interest is training service dogs, you can join the Puppy Club and even live in their affinity house. If you’re interested in making a global impact, the Advocacy Team focuses on issues such as global hunger and human trafficking. Involvement fairs at the beginning of each year help students get an idea of the broad range of student organizations our campus houses.

Though our schedules are busy with classes and work, there are tons of opportunities to make a local and global impact, whether through one-time events or extended volunteering through an organization. If you take the time, you’ll find a cause and a project that suits your schedule and interests!

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