Upon starting university, you’ll find yourself having societies thrust upon you like there’s no tomorrow. The choices for societies are endless, with most universities having a massively diverse range, from subject-based groups, religious and ethnic minority groups and hobby/sports related groups, to the wackier, such as my University (The University of Birmingham) which boasts a wine society, a Harry Potter society and if you’re really out-there, a fetish society! Unfortunately, lots of charity and voluntary societies end up being overlooked, despite the innumerable advantages.
Having joined the Oxfam society this year, one of the many pros I found with becoming part of Oxfam Outreach, was that joining the society was free! Upon further research, I found that most charity and voluntary societies were free to join, such as Freedom from Torture, Make a Wish Foundation, Giving What We Can and Engineers Without Borders, to name a few! These charities and voluntary organisations are most likely to be found within your Universities, as they’re so widely known and recognised, so take a look at your society/groups page (which should be situated on your University’s website).
Another advantage is that joining a charity and voluntary organisation at University looks phenomenal on your CV. The University of Liverpool noted that 80% of employers value voluntary experience, and 58% value it more than paid work experience, so why not get involved? With societies such as Oxfam and Banardos, you’ll also find that they aren’t too time-consuming, whereas a lot of sports/dance-based societies can take up hours in the week that you need for studying or working! As well as this, with graduate jobs becoming harder and harder to secure, and the number of charities increasing in the UK, joining a voluntary organisation society at Uni can allow you to build a rapport with a charity you could go on to work for after University!
When you’re studying at Uni, you can also feel like you’re ‘in a bubble’. It can be really difficult to get involved in the local community, and with volunteering and charity work, your University experience can be truly advanced as you’ll have the opportunity to get involved with people from your local area, learn more about life outside your University, and help/inform people of your cause, which will of course be a positive in the short and long run! The skills you learn, being part of a voluntary/charity society are priceless, anyway, as you’re able to learn everything from being creative and managing budgets to managing events and widening your communication skills.
One of my best things about joining a charity/volunteering society or group at Uni is that the activities you can get up at Uni are truly mind blowing! Most unis have a Carnival Rag society (which may cost a little to join), and Carnival Rag have the craziest and most fun events and challenges, ranging from unknown destination coach and clubbing trips to hitchhiking challenges (with some students getting as far as Italy and Romania!), and other charities have events ranging from tea parties and wine tasting evenings to guest speaker visits from some truly inspirational people, working in fantastic charities with great reputations such as ActionAid.
And my final point? It may sound cheesy but the feeling you get from becoming part of a charity/volunteer society or group is worth more than the time and effort put in. There is truly more to Uni than studying for a degree, and have loved every minute of getting involved with charities at Uni, as well as outside of Uni, which is why I’d say that joining a charity/voluntary society at Uni is undeniably, priceless. If it sounds like your kind of thing, check out your University’s website, and look for the Student Groups/Societies page!