DIT students give a lot - but gain much more!

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Pictured were Sister Mary Flanagan, Co-ordinator of the Chaplaincy Service, DIT,
James Costello, DIT Societies Office and Eileen Fitzpatrick, DIT Careers Service

22nd April 2010

The upside of the down economy: Figures show sharp increase in student volunteering

The second annual DIT Volunteering Fair took place today in DIT Aungier Street.  The Fair provided students with the opportunity to see a wide range of volunteering activities they can avail of, while also providing a space for local organisations to promote their work and to recruit much needed volunteers.

This year over 20 charities and voluntary organisations attended the Fair including: Irish Aid, Bike2Belarus, Dublin Samaritans, Irish Wheelchair Association, Habitat for Humanity and Oxfam. The Volunteering fair also highlighted the many opportunities DIT students have to work on DIT projects including the award-winning DIT Community Links programme, homework clubs with local schools and flat decoration with the St Vincent de Paul Society.

DIT students have a well deserved reputation for their volunteering spirit and the number of students reaching out to make a difference is on the up.  At present, nearly one in three students in DIT volunteer, giving over 130,000 hours of their time to their communities.  If the work had been paid at the minimum wage, the total value of the work carried out by these DIT volunteers has been calculated at over €1 million.

DIT encourages its students to get involved and many DIT programmes now include Community Learning modules whereby student gain academic credit for volunteering work which is relevant to their degree.    Increasingly DIT students are also taking the opportunity to volunteer abroad during their holidays - projects last year included Wells for Zoe, where 12 DIT students went to Malawi to build wells; the annual Bike to Belarus programme; and students also volunteered in the Philippines. 

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Pictured were Marie Gonnelly and Sinead Rafferty, DIT Careers Service

The Fair was part of a week-long celebration of volunteering at DIT.  The event underlines DIT's well-deserved reputation for working closely with the communities in which the college is based.  However, the innovative event also has the aim of giving DIT students more real world experience, which could be a decisive factor in gaining a job in a tightening labour market.

Head of the Careers Service, Ms Eileen Fitzpatrick noted, "Students who volunteer demonstrate a proactive attitude, an important characteristic in difficult times. Students benefit enormously from getting involved in volunteer work.  Not only are they giving something back but they gain experience and skills including leadership, teamwork, project management and interpersonal.  These attributes are valued by employers and essential to career management?.

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