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Building Your Service Experience

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Are you interested in helping your community? Service is a great way to support others and improve your campus or home community. It can also help you gain skills and experience to include on your resume and college applications and can support you feeling grounded in the community in which your University resides.
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There are numerous benefits to participating in community service, both for yourself and others. Below are some of the most important benefits of volunteering:

  • Gives you a way to help others
  • Helps instill a sense of belonging
  • Helps improve your community
  • Increases your depth of understanding of community challenges
  • Supports your mental health
  • Provides work experience and helpful stories to share in interviews
  • Strengthens your resume and graduate school applications
  • Helps build your network of professionals who may provide recommendations and help you succeed for years to come
  • Can be a way to meet new friends
  • Often results in personal growth
  • Provides opportunities to learn about a various career pathways

Questions to ask yourself to build your optimal service experience

Exploring these questions can help you to determine what your actual objective is regarding your service experience. For example, if you are interested in working with children or animals; or sustainable environmental practices, you can easily find community service activities related to your interests.

To explore this list most effectively, read through it and make note of any observations that may enhance your experience. After considering these questions please visit our iserve.wvu.edu platform to find your optimal service experience

  • Who would you like to help?
    • Is there a specific group of people or cause you are passionate about? Look for projects that relate to your passion and interests. You may also want to perform particular community service activities that allow you to apply your own skills or engage in hobbies you enjoy, like musical performance, baking or working with community boards.

  • Do you want a community service activity that is recurring or a one-time event?
    • Perhaps you don't have enough time to regularly devote to community service. In that case, it may be better to look for opportunities that only occur once or sporadically, such as working with a community non-profit that maintains hiking trails or supporting the logistics of a local 5K or children's event.

  • What kind of impact do you want to have?
    • Some people prefer to participate in community service activities that have a quantifiable impact, for example, activities where you know the specific number of kids you tutored, dollars you raised, cans of food you collected or miles of trails cleared. This is in contrast to activities that don't have such clear numbers, such as serving a school garden or serving as a volunteer lifeguard. Some people prefer measurable activities because they feel they look stronger on college applications, or because they simply enjoy knowing their exact impact on the community. After you have logged your time spent serving, you can download a volunteer resume from iServe that generates an official record of your service and assigns an "Impact Value" conveying the  monetary value of your contribution. 

  • What skills would you like to gain?
    • Many community service activities can help you gain skills. These skills can range from teaching to health care to construction and more. If there is a particular skill you'd like to learn for future classes, jobs, or just out of personal interest, you may want to see if there is a community service activity that helps you learn that skill.

Connect with the Center for Service and Learning