Think Global, Start Local

Organizations make a positive impact on the community

Ready to make a difference? Your campus is a great place to start. For those who want to do more than just read about global issues, student-led organizations, campus-wide volunteer days, and service learning opportunities offer ways to make a positive impact on your community and the world. Mind open? Ears pricked? Motivation high? If so, get ready to get your hands dirty.

Orgs With a Heart

If you have a particular cause in mind, someone may already be thinking like you. To get an idea of what activist work is available in your area, stop by the Office of Student Affairs and pick up a list of student-run organizations. Most campuses have college branches of larger organizations such as Amnesty International, Oxfam, and Students Against Drunk Driving as well as clubs focusing on smaller local issues. Covering everything from humanitarian causes to environmental issues, on-campus organizations are usually open to all students and are a great way to meet like-minded people. If you’re not sure how exactly you’d like to pitch in, volunteer clubs such as Circle K and service-based fraternities like Alpha Phi Omega mobilize students to work with a wide variety of community and nonprofit organizations.

Still can’t find a perfect match? Why not start a club of your own? Every project must start somewhere. The Student Affairs Office will provide you with information on how to effectively start, fund, and promote your own club. If being founder, president, and member of your own organization sounds a bit scary, you can always go out on your own. Your school’s Service Learning Office can tell you about what socially conscious volunteer, intern, and co-op programs are available on or near campus. With a bit of advanced planning, you may even be able to get credit for your work. For more help, consult for information on what local nonprofit and community agencies are looking for help.


This article was written by Christina Couch

Christina Couch is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia, and Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of Virginia Colleges 101: The Ultimate Guide for Students of All Ages (Palari Publishing, 2008). Her byline can also be found on,, and, and in Wired Magazine.

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