This week saw the national launch of studentvolunteer.ie, an online resource designed to offer students easy access to volunteering opportunities.
The new service will give over 100,000 third level students access to around 8,000 registered Civil Society Organisations, including Barnardos and Special Olympics Ireland.
The resource was developed by the Campus Engage Network who are based in the Irish Universities Association (IUA). The website has already been shortlisted for the 2016 THINKTECH awards. There is widespread support for the intiative as 10 higher education institutions – UCD, NUI Galway, IT Tralee, UL, MU, Trinity, IT Tallaght, DCU, UCC and DIT – are currently invested in the portal. However, the site is open to all higher education institutions.
There are a number of features provided for on the portal; students can apply for both national and international positions; create and manage an online profile; check their volunteering hours; and apply for volunteering awards in particular colleges.
The website is the first student portal to offer these services. In addition to giving students the greater access to volunteering opportunities, the IUA hope that it will “enhance students’ awareness of their role and responsibility in solving challenges such as homelessness, social exclusion and our ageing population.”
In a wider context, the IUA stressed the importance of the resource as there is mounting pressure on third level institutions globally to show their value in society.