Why is there an apathy to volunteering?
Volunteering is widely regarded by employers as an important part of the decision to hire someone. So why does there seem to be an apathy towards it? Last year VE, Keele’s volunteering office, had 98 ‘active’ volunteers; a miniscule amount considering the size of the student population, but not totally dreadful relatively speaking.
Sarah Amphlett, VE’s project leader, suggests that students cannot spare the time to volunteering. Alex Chow, VP Finance and Activities, adds that with student’s limited time when they are given a choice between work and volunteering students would choose the short term financial gain of working.
It could be that students simply do not know about these opportunities. This problem is something Sarah is working on by increasing VE’s publicity around campus and trying to improve the VE section on the KUSU website, including adding success stories of previous VE members to show its benefit.
Volunteering allows you to try activities that you may have never done before and to meet other likeminded students. Ultimately, the most important reason to volunteer is the chance to get a better life after university. This apathy robs students of valuable opportunities that enhance your CV, which as Sarah put it, gives you extra skills that you cannot get from a degree. Especially as degrees devaluate and jobs are in short supply, having something extra on your CV when you graduate is a valuable asset.
VE is a service whose sole purpose is to benefit the students. Sarah knows the limits of students and the impact university life can have on spare time. With that in mind she has set up monthly one-off days where you can help clean up the university amongst other projects suited to student life.
VE also runs a scheme where you can earn awards by giving certain amounts of voluntary work. It does not matter if the work is infrequent or weekly the hours count up, allowing both types to get physical recognition to show employers.
This apathy does nothing for the student. While Keele has, due to its location, limited opportunities it still has enough to accommodate much larger numbers. Newcastle and the local area also have their own batch of opportunities.
Getting involved is easy, just head into the VE office on the top floor of the union or email them on email@example.com.