DCU Volunteer Guide 2023-2024
Volunteering impacts positively on society, on communities and on the people who live in those communities. Whether formal or informal, organised or spontaneous, volunteering is about civic engagement and active participation in shaping the society we want to be part of.
What can you do?
At DCU we have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities on and off campus. Whatever your interests, skills or abilities – there is something for you! Volunteering is the practice of giving your time and energy for the benefit of other people and the environment. To put it simply, volunteering is doing more than you have to, because you want to, because you care. It is about being an active citizen, a change-maker and innovative individual whose aim is to make the world a better place in any way they.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
The benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, and your local and international communities.
You can give:
— Your free time to do something you care about and enjoy
— Something back to your local, student and international communities
— Your skills, enthusiasm and expertise to help other people or the environment
— Your energy to make a positive contribution to society
— Inspiration to others with your enthusiasm and commitment
You can gain:
— A platform for meeting new people and developing long lasting friendships
— An opportunity to do something you love and enjoy
— Key transferable skills such as communication, leadership, initiative taking, teamwork, creativity and time management to name but a few
— Work experience, training and skills which will improve your CV and future career perspectives
— Satisfaction from giving back to your community and making a real difference to people’s lives
— Academic credits in assignments and modules e.g. Uaneen
— Contributions towards the DCU Engage Award which recognises students extracurricular activities
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. Oscar Wilde
Who can volunteer?
How do you get involved?
At DCU, there are a number of ways in which you can start volunteering, depending on your own interests, time and talents. Working with civic clubs and societies of DCU, selecting a community organisation you’d like to work with or just helping out wherever you can are all options. Other alternatives include flexible volunteer opportunities, once off volunteering events and virtual volunteering. Take a look at our social media and website to see what’s on offer: dcu.ie/volunteer
What to consider before you start volunteering?
Think about why you want to volunteer, what you would like to do and what causes you are passionate about that you wish to support.
For example, do I want...
— To improve the quality of life in the community where I live?
— To meet people from different cultures and backgrounds?
— To try something new?
— To do something worthwhile with my spare time?
— To see a different way of life and new places?
— To gain experience in the profession that I seek to enter upon graduation?
— To expand my knowledge and experience within my hobbies and interests?
— To further develop my skills and talents in certain areas?
The best way to volunteer is to select a not-for-profit organisation, society or cause whose mission complements your interests. Having answers to these questions will help narrow down your search.
This is important! You need to think about how much time you want to spend volunteering and how long you are able to commit for, as some organisations require a minimum time commitment for specific roles. However, volunteers are always in demand and there are multiple routes available to you – do what you can!
If your role will involve regular contact with children (under 18) or vulnerable adults (e.g. older persons or people with disabilities) you will need to be Garda Vetted before you start. Garda Vetting, now an online e-vetting process by An Garda Siochána Vetting Office, gives a statement on whether a person has had any convictions – pending or completed – recorded against their name.
Your volunteering organisation will arrange your Garda Vetting for you, contact them directly to confirm if your role requires vetting or not.
As a volunteer, you will be given meaningful and important work to do.
As a Volunteer you have the following rights:
— To be provided with a role description and performance expectations
— To be given meaningful work to do
— To be offered appropriate training
— To make mistakes and learn from them
— To have safe working conditions
— To be treated fairly by those you are working with, including community partners
— To receive support and supervision
— To know who to go to should a problem arise
— To be recognised for your contributions
— To get something out of the work for yourself as per your own aims and objectives
As a Volunteer you are responsible for the following:
— To understand the values and aims of the organisation
— To be reliable and punctual
— To carry out the prescribed duties to the best of your ability
— To attend essential training and support sessions
— To be committed and honest in all of your dealings with the organisation
— To inform the volunteer project manager if any difficulties should arise
— To comply with the relevant policies and procedures as laid out by the organisation(s) you are working with
This information has been adapted from Volunteer Ireland’s Charter for Effective Volunteering.
The best way to volunteer is to select a not-for-profit organisation, society or cause whose mission complements your interests.
1 Raising and Giving (RAG)
The DCU Raising and Giving Society empowers students to volunteer in their local community and get stuck in! Throughout the year, RAG aim to raise as much funds as possible through a variety of fun events for our social projects which include GoGaGa, Ballymunch,School of RAG, RAG Rec and Special Olympics football. We want to show students that they can do great things to help society and have a blast while doing it. DCU RAG has something to offer everyone. Time again, we have seen that giving a portion of your time to others can have a significant and positive impact on their life! dcuclubsandsocs.ie/society/ Raising-giving
The DCU FLAC Society is a student branch of the independent FLAC Ireland organisation that is dedicated to the promotion and access of equal access to justice for all. We aim to provide a service akin to that of national FLAC, by providing the student body as well as the wider public with free legal advice on the DCU campus. The ability to provide people with legal advice is admired and the DCU FLAC Society is aimed at equipping our members with this ability in order to promote free equal access to justice. dcuclubsandsocs.ie/society/flac
At Enactus DCU, we aim to tackle the problems of today whilst creating the leaders of tomorrow. We create, and implement, social entrepreneurial projects which empower the project beneficiaries to change their own lives’ for the better. In addition, these projects are financially, socially and environmentally sustainable. In doing so, our members develop the skills necessary to become the leaders of tomorrow - be it working for a corporate organisation, volunteering for a charity or setting up their social enterprise. We have weekly meetings, where we work on developing our projects further. dcuclubsandsocs.ie/society/ enactus
4 Mental Health Society
DCU’s Mental Health Society works towards promoting positive attitudes and removing negative stereotypes and stigmas around Mental Health. We aim to provide students of all backgrounds and ages with a welcoming and encouraging environment. As a society, we plan and carry out many events throughout the year - from coffee/tea mornings to informative talks about Mental Health and our biggest event of them all; Craicin’ Up. dcuclubsandsocs.ie/society/ Mental-health
S HeadstARTS is a student run society, providing dance, drama, music and art classes for individuals with intellectual disabilities. We have a dedicated team at DCU who run two hour classes every week during the academic year. The classes give our members the opportunity to relax in a peaceful and guided art or music environment, or engage in an interactive dance and drama class. Over the past seven years, HeadstARTS has grown both in volunteers and members and we are still growing today! We would love for you to join the HeadstARTS team, we can guarantee it will be the most wholesome and rewarding time of the week! dcuclubsandsocs.ie/society/ headstarts
6 DCU Volunteer Overseas
DCU Volunteer Overseas is a society set up to provide the opportunity for students to volunteer and make a difference on an international level. This year, we plan to partner with a local Irish charity The Light of Maasai to volunteer in Kenya, in the summer. While there, our group will be participating in a number of projects, for example, completing needed restoration work on a school, talking to children in local schools and working with Light of Maasai on their projects. We are also planning to have a variety of different events and fundraisers throughout the year. dcuclubsandsocs.ie/society/ volunteer-overseas
Being a volunteer, for whatever purpose, is commendable, rewarding and worthwhile.
1 DCU Volunteer Strategy and Network
The DCU Volunteer webpage is packed with useful tips and materials including our very own DCU Volunteer Strategy. For further information and all the latest updates follow us on social media @DCU Volunteer. dcu.ie/volunteer
2 DCU in the Community
The function of DCU in the Community is to provide a central co-ordinating point for DCU Students and community organisations. The Student Volunteer Coordinator acts as a bridge between the student population and the local community as well as voluntary organisations and charities seeking volunteers. Student Volunteer Coordinator Justyna Byrzykowska email@example.com
3 Volunteer Fair
The DCU Volunteer Fair is a two-day event, on Glasnevin and St Patrick’s Campus, that brings together organisations seeking volunteers and DCU staff, students, and alumni. DCU Volunteer Fair is a unique opportunity to meet with local, national and international organisations to learn first-hand how you can volunteer. On the day you can chat with dedicated teams of volunteers, meet local charities/ community groups/NGO’s, broaden your horizons and explore your career options. The Volunteer Fair takes place in semester one, check our social media channels for updates or contact. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gaisce or ‘great achievement’ is a self-development programme for young people between the ages of 15-25 and has been in existence since 1985, carried by the President of Ireland. Students wishing to start or progress further in their Gasice President’s Awards are encouraged to contact DCU Volunteer who have numerous resources to kickstart your journey. gaisce.ie
5 Volunteer Helpdesk
Come speak face to face with your Student Volunteer Coordinator about how you can get involved with all of the volunteering opportunities being offered on and off campus. A different community organisation will be featured twice a month at the helpdesk for you to meet with and join if you wish – there’s something for everyone! The Volunteer Helpdesk is run in conjunction with DCU SU and takes place every second Tuesday from 12:30-3pm in The U and St Patrick’s Campus SU. Check our social media channels for more information.
1 Volunteer Ireland
Volunteer Ireland is the national volunteer development agency and a support for all local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland. We work to support, promote and celebrate volunteering. We do this in many different ways, working with a variety of stakeholders. Our vision is an Ireland where everyone who wants to volunteer can volunteer to create a better society. volunteer.ie
Comhlámh supports and promotes responsible, responsive overseas volunteering and provides support to volunteers in a long-term, ongoing commitment to development. We work to enlist good practice standards among volunteer sending agencies through our Code of Good Practice to ensure overseas volunteering has a positive impact on all involved. For a full list of our partnered organisations see: comhlamh.org