I attended a career presentation last week, held by the University of Otago Career Development Centre that reported on the forecasts and trends in the international market when it came to AI (artificial intelligence) and robots and the impact that this technology would have on human careers. One thing was abundantly clear, robots and AI will never replace the unique blend of characteristics and empathy that make us human. Another notable mention was that the new intake of generation Z students at Otago, are very concerned about social responsibility, and motivated to making a difference to the world. This semester the number of students volunteering through UniCrew, the University of Otago’s flagship volunteer programme, has reached an all-time high, and it’s student volunteer week this week, so let’s find out a bit more about what volunteering can do for you, the wider community and your CV!
UniCrew began in 2014, the idea behind it being that students get matched up with local organisations through volunteering and social impact opportunities. This would then provide a way of connecting and engaging students with the wider community, building relationships around projects and subjects that matter and getting hands on experience outside of the university lecture theatres and classrooms . Since then UniCrew has over 200 organisations registered with them, and they offer a range of long term, short term or micro one-off events that students can be involved in, plus they connect “every volunteering opportunity and community organisation to the United Nation’s global goals in the mission to leave the world at a better place by 2030. By measuring ourselves against these goals, we are able to measure our impact in the global context, find areas of development in which we can improve on and champion sustainable development by educating every young person and organisation in UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”
What kind of volunteer work can I do?
There are so many options, whether you like the idea of getting outside and planting out trees like the UniCrew volunteers pictured above, or collecting donations for Dunedin’s Wildlife Hospital or be involved with the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust? Or perhaps if you enjoy being around children sign up for the Reading Oasis programme, or the Garden to Table programme which teaches how to grow, harvest, prepare and share food. Longer term, short term and one off options are available and it is the intrinsic benefits that you’ll feel that will probably be the most rewarding part of this kind of work.
Volunteer work on your CV
After attending the career presentation last week, and talking with University of Otago career advisors, it is clear that volunteering work is looked at very favourably from an employer perspective. In many respects, volunteer work may be seen and used as a form of internship. Let alone the fact that the connections that you make volunteering, around subjects and projects that interest you, may very well lead you straight into the path of a future employer. Showing you are interested, giving your unpaid time to something you care about is showing initiative, social responsibility and it’s also giving you hands on experience outside of study.
Made with love
UniCrew got the call from O-Red, the student group associated with the Otago Red Cross the day after the Christchurch mosque attacks to ask “students and staff to bake, and write letters of support and thanks to Muslim and migrant families in Dunedin, and to Christchurch police and hospital staff – and they were overwhelmed by the response.
Manager of Otago’s Volunteer Centre Sze-En Watts says more than two cubic metres of baking was dropped off at OUSA Clubs and Societies building on Albany Street between 1pm and 7pm on Wednesday, as well as many letters and cards.”
Student Volunteer Week
So, if you’re interested in volunteering, or you just want to find out more about the mutual benefits it presents, the Student Volunteer fair is running today from 11am – 2pm at UniCrew Volunteers, 65 Albany Street, Dunedin, or find out more on the UniCrew website – it’s a win, win for everyone if you just take the time to find out more.
Credit to the UniCrew website and the Otago Bulletin Board for the quoted information in this blog
Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!