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National Volunteer Week: Community Service Opportunities at the U of M

In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, I'd like to highlight the many opportunities available to stay involved and volunteer that the U of M has to offer. If making a difference in your community is something that is very important to you, you'll definitely find what you're looking for at the University of Minnesota. First of all, there are so many student organizations built around volunteer opportunities--I couldn't even count them all! I've picked out a couple service-based student groups to highlight, but there are literally hundreds.

American Red Cross Student Organization 

Their mission is to provide service for the community with regards to public health issues, especially relating to the University of Minnesota campus student population in collaboration with the American Red Cross. Services may include (but are not limited to) hosting speakers to advocate for a cause, running blood drives, and collecting for international relief.

Circle of Giving (COG)
COG's principle activities are health focused group volunteer projects, workshops for leadership development, fundraising for a scholarship fund, serving as mentor for local youth, and helping members develop service projects based on their interests, such as health disparities in minority groups.

Colleges Against Cancer
Colleges Against Cancer is dedicated to eliminating cancer by spreading awareness and education through volunteer work in the community. Through cancer education, survivorship, and advocacy programs, all University of Minnesota college students have the opportunity to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Biology Without Borders
Biology Without Borders is a student organization that leads students on annual global volunteer trips while connecting students with resources and making them advocates for global and social change. Their goal is to promote ethical volunteerism, and community-based and sustainable projects in underserved areas, both locally and globally.

Orphan Kitten Project
The Orphan Kitten Project helps local shelters by fostering orphan kittens (newborns to 8 weeks old) while providing hands-on animal experience to veterinary students.

Students Against Hunger
Students Against Hunger's mission is to aid Kids Against Hunger in significantly reducing the number of hungry children locally and globally by providing a community service activity that is meaningful, fun and memorable. Through enlisting members and volunteers from the University community, they package nutritious meals researched by food scientists in order to battle death's grip on over 40,000 children who die each day due to malnutrition, starvation and hunger-related diseases.

For a complete list of service-based student groups, check out: http://sua.umn.edu/groups/directory/index.php?group_by=category#Service

In addition to service-based student organizations, the University of Minnesota also fosters community service through offering service-learning courses. Service-learning courses incorporate community involvement into the coursework--students learn by participating in community service projects. Homework for these classes involves working with community-based organizations, which compliments the classes' readings, lectures and discussions. Wouldn't it be great getting to volunteer and earning class credit for it at the same time?

If you're passionate about volunteering, the University of Minnesota's Community Service Learning Center is a great resource to help you find what you're looking for. Check it out! http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/

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