As university students, life can be pretty hectic. With lectures, seminars, essays and deadlines it would be understandable to focus on yourself all the time. After all, education is about bettering yourself and taking time to find out who you are. So perhaps it may be surprising – in the most delightful way – to know that many students aren’t just investing in themselves at uni. Instead, they are choosing to invest their time to help those less fortunate than themselves. Here are just some of the ways you can get involved in charity work as a student.
Beach clean ups
From Bali to Bondi, the plastic crisis that David Attenborough’s Blue Planet brought to the front of the collective consciousness is evident. But rather than wallowing in the inevitability of climate change, some students are fighting back. Nearly 30 years ago, Ocean Conservancy began work to clean up the beaches of the United States. Now, eco-conscious travellers are rewarded in numerous must-see destinations for their support of the cause. ‘Free beer’ is a sign that will attract a backpacker from 50 metres away. ‘Save our oceans’ attracts Millenials equally. Combine the two and you’ve hit the jackpot. It’s a great way to offset your jet-setting by helping preserve the beautiful locale you’re visiting. Click below to find out more. Find out more about a UK version. Find out about a Bali version here.
Supporting endangered species
There has been debate in recent times as to whether ‘voluntourism’ is ethical. ‘What’s that?’ you ask? The increasing range of opportunities to support animal charities whilst you travel. Understandably, many of these appeal to those people with an affinity for wildlife.
It can be a minefield. Taking the time to complete careful research can make finding ethical and worthwhile charitable opportunities even more rewarding. Life changing experiences are out there waiting for you! Trekking alongside rhino in Nepal or supporting anti-poaching teams in South Africa are all up for grabs. Prefer your animals a little smaller? Support turtle research in Costa Rica or visit and work with orangutans in Borneo. Visiting Europe? Support the bear sanctuaries of Romania for a few days, or longer still.
The choice is limitless, and the memories made will be with you forever.
Duke of Edinburgh International Award
Originally aimed at British young people, the Duke of Edinburgh International Award has taken the concept global. At it’s core, ‘D of E’ as it’s known in the UK, the charity encourages young people to build positive relationships with their communities. Students can get fitter, gain new skills, and gain camping experience. But more importantly (perhaps, for this article at least) they are also required to volunteer.
Some of the stories of international young people are incredible. From reducing feelings of isolation to helping peers escape life in the slums, the reach and impact of the Award is truly touching.
Looking for something closer to home?
All of the above opportunities are great if you’re on a term break – or even a gap year. You can also support the International Day of Charity from your campus or university though. Student Unions across the world need the support of their cohort. Freshers need tours, vulnerable students need a kind welcome, and there’s always a need for neon paint to be applied at a ‘full-moon’ style party. Some unis go further still. Some have a corps which supports the local community doing all sorts, from managing local areas of natural beauty to running tea dances for pensioners.
Simpler still, arrange a charity marathon: 24 hour dance off, all-you-can-eat cookie sale, sell badges to raise awareness. Any event can be a charity event. Raise funds, have fun and feel good in the knowledge you’re making a difference.
Look up the opportunities available at your university today. You’ll be amazed at how much is out there.