Changing the face of volunteering on campus

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After a summer of promoting, Feds&rsquo; new Volunteer Centre office had a soft opening for student use on Sept. 13.&nbsp;</p>

Brendan Lowther, Feds service manager, said the soft opening allows them to work out any bugs that still remain in the system. The official opening of Feds Volunteer Service will take place Nov. 10 of this year.

With this new service, Feds aims to create “a central resource for volunteer opportunities for UW students both on campus and in the community,” said Lowther. This will be done through a primarily online-based platform. 

The online platform was created alongside the help of KW’s Volunteer Action Centre. “We met with the Volunteer Action Centre several times,” Hannah Beckett, one of the student co-ordinators of the program, explained. “We worked through their policies to create the best volunteering for everyone and simply re-jigged it for students.” 

The platform can be accessed through volunteer.feds.ca. Once on the site’s main page, UW students will be able to log in with their WatIAm ID. After filling out some basic personal information, students have the opportunity to browse through volunteer opportunities throughout the region due to the partnerships Feds has created, and can also customize their search in order to appeal to their individual needs. 

“We want to make a positive, enriching environment for students,” Lowther explained. “We’re also trying to keep everything local.” 

By keeping things local, Feds plans to branch out their partnerships into the UW community, linking up all campus volunteer options to the database in order to keep everything organized and accessible to students. In the future, students will be able to view volunteer opportunities for LEADS and filter towards campus volunteer requirements such as the Centre for Career Action and for programs such as arbus 300 and Health Services. Clubs, societies, and organizations can also post quick “feature” volunteer opportunities such as for the Feds open house or even for faculty lab assistance needed.

Students need to be part of Feds to use the services. However, as Beckett mentioned, this isn’t a problem since “membership is free — there is no loss in getting involved with us.” As the database is mainly dominated online, Lowther noted that there is a small office located on the third floor of the SLC where students can come with all their questions and concerns about the Feds Volunteer Centre. 

“Currently, we’re the biggest service connecting people in the community,” Lowther said, hoping that by the official launch in November all relationships and connections will be established. Then, by slowly integrating all campus volunteer opportunities, they hope to move towards all regional volunteer opportunities and eventually have international opportunities available to all UW students.

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