National Student Volunteer Week is taking place from August 10 – 16 this year, with a week of events, activities and campaigns that promote student volunteering – led by education providers, volunteer organisations and students across Australia.
For some students, this year’s volunteer opportunities will be very different. Many will be in lockdown situations, while others are following public health guidelines to maintain social distancing and help us all to avoid spreading COVID-19 through our communities. For other students, volunteering may be the last thing on your mind when faced with this global situation that is altering everything about the way we live, work and play. Who has time to think about extracurricular activities when our lives have been so disrupted, and anxiety and uncertainty have become fixtures for many of us?
The answer is that there is no better time to get started in volunteering than right now. The global spread of the pandemic has seen a rise in informal volunteering, sometimes referred to as viral kindness – people helping each other with everyday tasks. If you’ve helped pick up shopping for an elderly neighbour, or mowed their lawn, or brought their wheely bin in on garbage day, then congratulations! You’ve already started informally volunteering. The same might apply if you’ve done other tasks that are not related to a formal volunteer organisation – for instance, if you’ve picked up litter with friends on the beach, or helped out at a community event.
If you’d like to step into formal volunteering – with an organisation – there are still plenty of opportunities, despite COVID-19. Although face-to-face volunteering is either limited or impossible due to current lockdown restrictions, there are a growing number of virtual volunteering opportunities, including plenty that will help you to build your skills and experience and be of benefit to your CV. Employers value volunteer experience – it shows your willingness to step up and help out, and it’s a great way to gain some transferrable skills that will help with job interviews and employment.
If you’d like to find out more about virtual volunteering, come along to one of our Volunteering in the Virtual Space sessions in conjunction with Study Melbourne. We’ll explain the kinds of opportunities available, where to find them, and how to identify the skills that you’ll gain as you give time to volunteering. There are two dates to choose from – book online:
- 26th August at 11am: https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/event/volunteering-in-the-virtual-space-2020
- 23rd September at 2pm: https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/event/volunteering-in-the-virtual-space-2020-sep