By Samantha Phillips
Student Government Association has created an initiative called YSU Serves that helps direct volunteers to student organizations who are hosting on-campus events.
“We are attempting to bridge the gap between volunteers and great opportunities to volunteer,” Tyler Miller-Gordon, SGA secretary of technology, said.
To get involved, volunteers and student organizations submit their contact information via a form on the SGA website. Individuals can include a comment on what kind of volunteering projects they want to participate in. They will receive an online newsletter displaying upcoming events. SGA will also publicly post upcoming volunteering opportunities.
Student organizations must complete their request form at least two weeks prior to an event for it to be listed on the newsletter.
The form is currently active on the SGA website. Students and organizations can sign up to regularly receive updates at http://sga.ysu.edu/initiatives/ysu-serves/.
Samantha Anderson, SGA vice president of financial affairs, is the driving force behind YSU Serves. She identified the need for volunteers at student organization events and came up with the two-pronged system.
“It provides a resource for them to learn about different volunteer opportunities and gain volunteers on any upcoming events,” Anderson said. “Sometimes you have organizations that are holding events at YSU, and they’re struggling to find volunteers, so we want to be a resource for them.”
She said they’re trying to improve upon the current system, which leaves a lot up to chance.
“In the past, if an organization was looking for volunteers, or people were looking for volunteering opportunities, they would find them through word of mouth, Facebook. It would be a friend of a friend told them,” Anderson said. “We want to create a more student [backed] effort to help organizations realize they are not alone on campus. If they need volunteers, there are plenty of people who would volunteer.”
Miller-Gordon is the president of the YSU chapter of No Labels, an organization that helps and encourages students to register to vote. No Labels was the first organization to sign up for YSU Serves, but other organizations — such as Chi Alpha — are following suit.
“This is a beneficial resource for groups that have a requirement for service hours. For example, the school organization YSU Honors requires that members complete a certain number of service hours,” Miller-Gordon said
Anderson said YSU Serves is strictly for internal, on-campus use. Only YSU student organizations are eligible to submit request forms for volunteers. She said organizations can gather volunteers for events such as Federal Frenzy and Crash Day, since they need many volunteers.
Initially this was designed to be a pairing program, but the SGA reevaluated things and decided it would be more beneficial to let students decide what best fits their schedule and interests.
“Sometimes finding volunteers can be extremely difficult for organizations,” Miller-Gordon said. “Often, some of our members have class during the times that we can reach the most students. In using this tool, we can make sure that our events and outreach can be the best they can possibly be.”