Volunteering matters: Create event cleanup service

Amy DonJuan, Columnist

Students are often told to volunteer. The opportunity to gain work experience, strengthen professional skills, develop resumes and improve job prospects are common incentives used to encourage college students to get involved. The issue for college students is often finding accessible, on-campus opportunities to do so on top of their other responsibilities.

Encountering volunteering opportunities can be difficult, especially during finals seasons when students are dedicating the majority of their time to studying. Universities should assist students in providing volunteer opportunities to be engaged in their communities, both on and off-campus, throughout the semester. 

UT needs to create a volunteer cleanup service for on-campus events that allows students to assist throughout the year in exchange for community service hours.

The University already does a great job at establishing programs for students who are interested in volunteering. Some current volunteering opportunities offered by UT are University Housing and Dining sustainability initiatives, VolunteerUT, The Project and many more programs. However, the main drawback is that only the sustainability initiatives are on-campus whereas the rest are off-campus.

For students without vehicles who live in residence halls, there are limited opportunities to volunteer. This is detrimental to the underclassmen who make up most of the residents living in the dorms. The lack of opportunities on-campus not only creates difficulties for students when building resumes for job and internship applications, but it also creates safety issues.

Freshman studio art major, Yazmin Becerra, believes that the University could make volunteering safer for students with more on-campus opportunities. Instead of having students  walk to off-campus locations to complete community service hours, Becerra said that students could safely volunteer on University grounds with an after-event cleanup service.

“I definitely think that the University should do something like (host community service after events). It wouldn’t be hurting anybody. It would definitely be helping people. … There are lots of people who would like to give their time and energy for something that’s good,” Becerra said.

There are hundreds of events that the University puts on throughout the semester. Implementing this cleanup service would provide volunteering opportunities that would be available weekly, if not daily. It could be as simple as students listing their time, name and EID on a sign in sheet, and then signing out with their time once they are finished.

Amory Krueger, the director of student engagement programs at the Center for Community Engagement, said that on-campus volunteering opportunities are more limited, but that the cleanup service is worth considering. 

“There has been a push for students to volunteer to put it on their resumes because it demonstrates that you are doing something positive for your community,” Krueger said. “Students tell us they volunteer and then they go to interviews, and they end up always talking about their volunteer experience.”

It is clear that providing on-campus volunteering opportunities is where the University falls short. These opportunities wouldn’t just benefit students living on campus. The establishment of a volunteer cleanup service for events would benefit all students who are looking for ways to be involved on campus throughout the year, as well as administration looking to keep our campus clean. 

In order to make volunteering opportunities accessible to all students, regardless of living conditions, UT needs to create a voluntary cleanup service for events. Not only will this help keep our campus beautiful and clean, but it would also provide a safe way for students to be able to volunteer yearlong.

DonJuan is a Plan II and economics freshman from Quanah, TX.