If you are a student, faculty, or staff at The University of Tennessee, then you're a Volunteer. Whether you like it or not, you represent this University, and you're held to a standard. A Volunteer standard. But are you really upholding what it means to be a Volunteer? It's not just about the football games and Smokey. It's about being a citizen of this community, and about representing this fine institution to the best of your ability.
How often do you volunteer? When it's extra credit for a class? Because you're an Honors student and you need 25 hours this year? Because you're trying to get that Torchbearer award oh so badly? Maybe you do it out of the goodness of your heart; because you want to give back to people. And to you, I say "kudos."
There aren't many of us who enjoy volunteering. A lot of people gripe and complain about it. If you're one of those that's shriveling up in your seat right now, keep reading.
Volunteering is about so much more than yourself; that requirement you're fulfilling, or those five extra points you're getting in class. You're actually making someone's life better, easier.
I didn't realize this until I started doing weekly community service. It sounds like a lot, and there are days where I'm a little too stressed to devote two hours to being an Academic Mentor for the FUTURE program here on campus, but I go anyway, and when I'm done, I know I've made my mentee's day better. Volunteering regularly gives me the opportunity to actually see improvement, and it makes my work so much more meaningful.
Don't know where to start? Visit the Sign Up to Serve Calendar through the Center for Leadership and Service, or Volunteer Knoxville, an online database of surrounding agencies that need your help.
The FUTURE Program could always use more volunteers; they're a great group of people, and they're located right here on campus! (Learn more about them here)
Regardless of what you choose-- choose something you love. It'll help you recognize how lucky you are... and the people you help will think better of UT as a result! So be a Volunteer. A real one.