Working, for free? Would you give up your valuable free time in return for nothing? This is a question many people ask of volunteers but for many it is not a case of giving something up but actually of gaining something.
Many companies agree. Jenny Walsh, Manager of Graduate Recruitment at Deloitte, said that they really value volunteering on an applicant’s CV. “We encourage students to get involved in activities such as volunteering as key skills can be learned. Deloitte also actively encourages employees to get involved in volunteering initiatives”, she said.
DCU is a place where opportunities to volunteer are present in just about every sector. There’s a wide choice of societies for students to pick from if they wish to volunteer.
One of the newest and most vocal societies for volunteering is RAG Soc. The Raising and Giving society started in DCU just last year and has already won ‘Best New Society’ at the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) awards. RAG runs a number of different projects, ranging from GAA to basketball projects and even Quiddich. Other activities such as culture sessions with OAPs and teaching Nicki Minaj songs to kids on the tin-whistle are just a few of the projects run by RAG Soc in the local area.
Another high profile organisation on campus is the DCU St Vincent De Paul Soc. Traditionally the society has been relatively small but this year it really upped its publicity and has in return gained a lot of new members. The society run a kids club in The Plough Youth Club in Ballymun twice weekly and also runs two soup runs a week in the city centre.
The kids club is a great opportunity for DCU students to interact with around 20 or so kids from the local area and help out with running activities in the kids club. Students provide much-needed help to the volunteers already there and each Christmas they bring the kids ice-skating. The soup run is on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the volunteers distribute handmade sandwiches and soup along with some hot drinks to the homeless men and women around Dublin’s city centre.
The society has also succeeded in running a lot of on-campus events such as the iconic ‘24 hour Sleepout’ started last year. The ‘Sleepout’ raises awareness of the problem of homelessness in Dublin and shows the social aspect of the society. This year’s ‘Sleepout’ was due to run during RAG week but was postponed until week eight due to bad weather.
Most other societies run charity events with RAG or SVP and many also do their own small events. A new society set up this year, Batman Soc, is hoping to organise a visit to Temple Street Children’s Hospital, while societies such as SUAS and Global Brigades send volunteers abroad every year.