Since 2013, the University of Lethbridge has had a partnership agreement with Volunteer Lethbridge, a not-for-profit organization that matches volunteers to not-for-profit organizations within our City and surrounding communities. The partnership between Volunteer Lethbridge and the University employs cooperative education students to develop and market U-Volunteer to their peers and matches students to opportunities within community organizations. Although spearheaded by the President’s Office, the initiative has moved to the School of Liberal Education and serves as an important avenue for civic engagement for our students within our four-pillar foundational approach to liberal education. Through the partnership, the University is able to track several hundred students engaging in local community organizations.
Last academic year UVolunteer enabled close to 600 student volunteers to log over 7500 volunteer hours! Read more
Civic engagement is about connecting with individuals and organizations in the community to promote knowledge and collaboration in order to increase community well-being. Since civic engagement is one of the four pillars taught in Liberal Education, hands-on experience creates a greater understanding about the course material and also leads to work-related opportunities. To achieve this, I connected with Volunteer Lethbridge in order to participate in volunteerism. This led me to being hired as a Network Assistant where I interacted with a wide variety of not-for-profit agencies and took part in community engagement. From this experience, I believe volunteerism is an effective connection tool between the knowledge in Liberal Education and civic engagement in the community.
Responses from student volunteers
Q: What types of volunteer opportunities do you enjoy?
The best volunteering opportunities, in my opinion, are ones that hold potential to make a difference to something close to your heart.
Q: Who or what encouraged you to volunteer?
Ever since I was a little girl, my mom would always stress the importance of doing for others. How it is important to take time out of our lives to help and improve the lives of those around us.
Q: How do you see that your volunteer efforts make a difference in your community?
I think that the impact [of volunteering] is more subtle and long-term than immediate and major. The main way is through starting a change in the people I interact with. Mainly through sharing information, walking along-side others, and leading by example.