In collaboration with CareerZone, SLCE hosted the second installment of VolunteerFEST for the 2018/19 academic year on January 16. The four-hour-long event saw students given the opportunity to forge connections and become involved with over 30 volunteer organizations present at the fair.
Arguably, the most attractive features of VolunteerFEST are that there are enough opportunities and organizations present to cater to a wide array of the student population and their desires and passions. This semester’s iteration of the event saw organizations ranging from Bethlehem Housing, Niagara Folk Arts and St. John Ambulance to the Canada Revenue Agency. By catering to a wide selection of interests, the event continually sees high volumes of students signing up at a majority of the booths.
For each student signing up, there are a variety of reasons they choose to become involved. Volunteers can make sizeable contributions to the organizations to which they belong and subsequently the wider community, especially through the enthusiasm and particular skill set they bring. Many seek to improve the quality of life of those around them. For some, volunteering at university is seen as a route to employment, or a chance to try something new and different. Volunteering can provide a very good opportunity to meet people with similar interests, network with professionals and feel part of a community or something bigger.
Some of the comments made by students who attended the event were that volunteering “provides a great way to give back to the community and make a difference in Brock and the Niagara region,” and “enables people to really identify those in the society who need help and play a role in giving that help to them;” it also “offers a unique look at life and teaches humility and compassion.”
One of the possibly lesser known things that volunteer hours and work can go towards completing is the Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum (CWC), which is comprised of ten co-curricular domains. Each domain requires a number of items to be completed; some are mandatory and others are electives. One of the mandatory experiences to complete is 40 hours of community service/volunteer work. The incentive for students to complete the CWC, beyond the value of the experiences themselves, is to get a special certificate and transcript, with recognition at convocation. Students can track their progress on ExperienceBU using their student login and clicking Paths.
The department of Student Life and Community Experience seeks to present students with a number of opportunities to encourage both extra-curricular and co-curricular learning experiences that continually improve the school community and by extension the Niagara community. The department’s programs and services include, but are not limited to, leadership development, community engagement, rights and responsibilities training, student event and activities support, volunteerism and service-learning, co-curricular mapping and off-campus living support.
Brock’s CareerZone team helps students to explore their career opportunities and develop career goals through a number of workshops that focus on career coaching and development, job search strategies and strategies to have successful interviews. Workshops out of the department occur frequently and can be found on ExperienceBU.
The Brock Student Life and Community Experience department encourages interested students to continually be aware of the volunteer opportunities that are posted on ExperienceBU. For students who do not mind getting routine emails, the department also sends out a newsletter on a weekly basis detailing volunteer opportunities both on and off campus. The CareerZone office is located inside of Guernsey Market and is accessible to the Brock community Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.