Helping you help others: Getting involved with campus service groups
In one of my previous posts, “5 Ways to Get Involved on Campus,” I briefly discussed how college students can get involved in on-campus philanthropic organizations.
Whether you learn about a community service organization from a flier, a yard sign, or word of mouth, being a member of a campus service group is a very rewarding and unforgettable experience. Here are a few helpful tips that can help you get involved in no time.
1. Attend an open meeting.
If you have reached this point in the involvement process, you’ve already heard about the organization, and you want to know more. What better way to do that than to attend one of the organization’s meetings?
Going to a meeting will put you in the shoes of someone who is already involved in the organization, so you’ll get a firsthand experience of what being a member is really like.
You will also be able to see how active the organization is in the community by the number of service projects they discuss in the meeting. If the list of recent or upcoming projects is longer than you can count one hand, you will know the organization is truly dedicated to service.
2. Talk with the president or the adviser of the organization.
If you like what you see in the open meeting, you will likely need to speak with the organization’s president or adviser to learn what you need to do to become a member.
Do you need to fill out any membership forms or pay any fees to join? Are there specific membership requirements? Is the organization currently accepting new members? These are just a few of the questions you should ask the person in command, and by the end of your conversation, you should have all the information you need to begin your membership.
3. You became a member! Now what?
You’ve filled out all the forms and met all the requirements needed to join a service organization, so now the only thing left to do is start serving!
Many service organizations have requirements for how many service projects you must complete within a semester, and even if there are no such requirements in your organization, be an active member anyway!
These organizations aren’t looking for people who never volunteer at their events; they’re looking for hard-working, dedicated members who strive to fulfill the organization’s philanthropic mission.
If you don’t think you can fit any service projects into your current schedule, hold off on joining until your schedule frees up a bit. This way, you can put your best foot forward in the organization and not overwhelm yourself with too many responsibilities.
I hope all of you will decide to be a part of a philanthropic organization at some point in your college careers. As Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”