Written by Dione Hodgson
Life as a Uni student is pretty tough work. Just the thought of juggling study, family, friends, part-time jobs, work experience, placement and the mere essence of a social life is enough to make anyone feel ill. Yet still on the back of our minds there is the niggling urge do give something back, but when your days are filled to the brim just trying get through the semester, the idea of giving to charity seems like a far-off dream.
But fear not, my fellow students, there are some things that we can do to give back to the community that don’t take up a mammoth amount of time and/or money.
So here is my guide to giving to charity, university style.
Recycle your old mobile phones
University students are a tech savvy bunch, and no doubt upgrade their phones at least every two to three years, but what happens to our old mobile phones? Currently there are 19 million discarded phones sitting around in drawers and garbage bags, waiting to be thrown out. Unfortunately, a lot of these will end up in landfill, where the chemicals and metals will eventually harm our environment. Next time your plan runs out or you buy a new mobile phone, think about donating it to MobileMuster. This not-for-profit organisation recycles old mobile phones; sells the raw materials back to mobile phone manufacturers, and donates the money to Landcare Australia. It’s ridiculously easy, either take your phone to your nearest retailer or collect a free satchel from Australia Post and your old mobile could soon be making a difference.
Volunteer somewhere awesome
This one is a little bit tricky if you’re extremely time poor, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for something you can also put on the resume. There are heaps of places out there that are looking for volunteers, so you can pretty much pick what you’re interested in. Op-shops, animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA, libraries, charities like Meals on Wheels and even the universities are always looking for some extra help, so if your looking to go the extra mile, why not give them a call? Plus future employers love nothing more than a self-driven person who is willing to help others!
Have a clothes-swapping day
Girls, this one is mainly aimed at you, but hey, if there are any guys out there who also want to spice up their wardrobe, read ahead. Summer is approaching, and we know what that means, a new wardrobe. Although, for the financially unfortunate uni student, going out and buying a million new outfits is not always an option. So why not get your friends together, bring all the clothes you no longer want, and get a-swapping. You will no doubt find some awesome new stuff (but be fair, no swapping a $2 op-shop jumper for a pair of Levi jeans), and once you’re done, donate what ever is left to St Vincent de Paul or the Red Cross.
Go on the Hawke Ambassador Program
Ever wanted to go on a trip of a lifetime, but also give something back to communities that aren’t as well off? Maybe the Hawke Ambassador Program is right for you. If you’re an International Studies student (or any variety there-of), then you might be eligible to this fascinating program. Students are based within an international non-government-organisations (NGOs) and will work as a volunteer; helping build schools, fostering better international relations, teaching English and developing community services. Not only will you have an amazing experience (my friend is in Cambodia at the moment, and it sounds insane!), but it also counts as part of your degree. I say that’s a Bonus!
Sponsor a child
This one is an oldie but a goodie as far as I’m concerned. Charities such as UNICEF and World Vision (there’s heaps out there) are international organisations that aim to improve development in some of the poorest nations on Earth. Through project-based development, they empower people to become self-reliant through health improvements, education, agricultural training and small business workshops. By sponsoring a child, you can help the younger generations become the building blocks for their communities. A sponsor child costs $227 every three months (through World Vision for example), and will help to build their community so they can have the same opportunities as we take for granted. Not only do you know your money is going to good use, you also get regular updates on how your child is doing (and those hand-written letters just make you feel all warm and gooey inside).