Opportunities for National Make a Difference Day!

This month on October 26th is National Make a Difference Day! This is a day focused on honoring volunteer and service work in order to make the world a better place. People across the country participate in service on this day to give back to local communities. This day reminds us of the importance of service and helping others. It is important on this day to dedicate or rededicate ourselves to service. But how do you get involved in service on National Make a Difference Day and beyond? Here are a few opportunities at UConn that can get you started.  

1. Community Outreach

One great way to get involved in service is through the Community Outreach Office at UConn. This program provides endless amounts of opportunities to make a difference! The office’s mission is to enrich learning of students here at the university and prepare them to be active global citizens. On National Make a Difference Day, Community Outreach offers many volunteer projects such as those at Channel 3 Kid’s Camp and MACC Charities. More opportunities can be found here. They also continue similar one-day volunteer projects throughout the school year. If you’re looking for longer more in-depth experiences, they also offer semester-long programs as well as Alternative Break Service Trips. These are either weekend or week-long service-learning trips focusing on social issues ranging from urban poverty to healthcare. During these trips you complete meaningful service and learn how to bring back your experiences to make an impact in your own community. Community Outreach has so many more opportunities as well that you can learn more about on their website: https://communityoutreach.uconn.edu/.

2. Donate Blood

Donating Blood is an easy, low commitment way to make a difference in the lives of others. The process takes no longer than an hour, and every donation can save 3 lives! There are different requirements such as height/weight or travel requirements which may prevent some from being able to donate, but you can see if you are eligible to donate here. If you are ineligible to give blood, you can still be involved by joining UConn’s Red Cross club and help to organize and run these drives! This club hosts many blood drives throughout the semester. If you can donate, find out which drive works best for you and sign up here 

3. Huskython

Huskython is one of UConn’s largest student led fundraising efforts, raising money for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Fundraising efforts last throughout the year and culminate in an 18-hour dance marathon in the Spring Semester. Many have described this experience to be ‘life-changing’. During the event, children from the medical center come and party with college students and play many different games throughout the event. This event works to ensure that children can be healthy, and both enjoy their childhood and have a future. Last year this event was very successful with 3,166 participants raising $1,328,402.19. This year they are pushing to raise even more money! There are so many ways that you can become involved in this great event. You can choose to participate and raise money as part of a team, volunteer at the event, or even become one of the members who organizes the event. Learn more about Huskython on their website 

4. Careers for the Common Good

So how can you continue doing good even after you leave UConn? You can check out Careers for the Common Good! This is a collaborative program through the Center for Career Development and Community Outreach that exposes students to socially responsible vocations in industries ranging from public service and non-profits to benefit-corporations and social enterprises. These industries can be found in areas such as health services, education, civic and environmental advocacy, arts and culture, as well as social and legal services.  Careers for the Common Good work to bring together students and values-driven organization who desire to create positive change in society, the environment and the world. This is done through both programming and the annual Non-Profit and Public Service Career Fair. This year, the career fair highlighting partners and organizations will be held on February 28th in the Student Union Ballroom. This is a great way to network with professional service organizations and find potential jobs! Find out more about Careers for the Common Good here

There are so many more clubs and organizations across this campus that do amazing work to help others which unfortunately can’t fit in this one post. They all complete important service ranging from knitting hats for babies in the newborn intensive care unit to supporting natural hair on campus. With so many different service organizations on campus, you are bound to find one that you are interested in.

Whether you honor National Make a Difference day by volunteering for the day or by dedicating your life to service, every effort counts in making our world a better place. 

By Sean Roach
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