No longer content with leaving college with a degree alone, students now seek a college experience that is significant on an academic, professional, and very personal level. While strong curricula and involved career centers take care of the academic and professional aspects, it is largely up to students to personalize their college experience.
Campuses offer students multiple ways to get engaged in their community. Of these, volunteerism has emerged as one of the fastest-growing and most popular options for students. The latest report by the Corporation for National & Community Service shows that college student volunteerism grew by more than 20 percent over a three-year period.
Giving Back to the Community
For some, like Ivey George, a student at the University of Georgia, the best way to give back is through a service-based organization. George served as president of Alpha Chi Omega, and says that her involvement has shown her “how powerful a group of women can be when they come together.”
Like George, today’s students want to feel like they are involved in something greater than themselves. And sororities and fraternities have long been a vehicle for just that. Whether cultural, academic, professional, social, or community service oriented, fraternities and sororities challenge students to actively contribute to their communities.
Fraternities and sororities help students channel their efforts so they can have the most impact. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, George is passionate about the search for a cure and joined the many members of Alpha Chi Omega who actively volunteer in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. George now serves on the executive board of Relay for Life with six other Alpha Chi Omega members. She says, “it has been an amazing opportunity to work together as sisters for a common goal: finding a cure for cancer.”
The key to success is starting small with an intentional and well thought-out plan. If you simply start a Facebook account and expect students to interact, you will find that your community will never form. As you explore how to accomplish digital implementation, it is important to think through the following:
Develop Skills for Life
Sorority and fraternity service projects also go a long way to teach students valuable lessons and build valuable transferable skills while they give back.
Whether managing complex projects, developing new ways to contribute, or working with volunteers, high-level donors, or people from various backgrounds, students are exposed to real-world situations where they learn on the job. For employers, this means candidates who are better prepared to connect with their teams, take on new challenges, and represent their firms well.
No matter what you are looking for—more exposure to new things, more avenues to give back, or more ways to gain skills—service-based organizations are a great fit for any student who seeks more than a diploma. George says that Alpha Chi Omega not only gave her “the most amazing friends that I could ever ask for, but it also gave me opportunities for leadership and life skills that I would not have received anywhere else throughout my college career.”
Can you ask for anything more?