Engaging college and university students is vital for three key reasons. First, for those students who engaged in volunteer service as part of high school graduation requirements, staying involved in college strengthens the foundation for lifelong volunteerism. Second, volunteering is a great opportunity for college and university students to garner new skills and expand their personal and professional networks. Lastly, by applying strategies learned in coursework as well as key concepts discovered via research, volunteerism offers college and university students the opportunity to marry theory and practice beyond academia's gates.
Service-learning and student engagement are great tools to introduce young people to volunteerism. Oftentimes this type of volunteering occurs as part of a class assignment, a chance to see real-world applications of the issue they are studying. Other times it is a requirement for graduation or extra-curricular involvement. Either way, the range of motivations will be diverse; in fact, more likely than not there will be some students who would rather not be there! This presents the opportunity to help turn an otherwise disinterested volunteer into someone truly engaged. To learn more about how you can help encourage the next generation of volunteers, check out these resources on student engagement and service-learning: