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New Technology to Scale-up Student Volunteering at DIT

Posted: 6 December, 2016

DIT and nine third level colleges have joined forces to develop studentvolunteer.ie - a new online resource which matches students’ interests with volunteering opportunities.

Celebrating the launch of studentvolunteer.ie are Breffni Gorman (Special Olympics Ireland); Ciaran Freeman DIT Student; Roisin O'Donovan DIT Student; Suzanne Connolly (Barnardos)

The portal is the first of its kind globally and aims to enhance students’ awareness of their role and responsibility in solving challenges such as homelessness, social exclusion and our ageing population.

Every year in Ireland thousands of students from our universities and institutes of technology carry out over 100,000 hours of volunteering.

DIT student, Roisin O’Donovan explains the enjoyment she gets from volunteer work. “Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet new people, learn new skills and give back to the community. It takes your mind off your everyday challenges and you’d be surprised to discover the impact you can have on the community with only 1 hour of volunteering a week.” 

Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT speaks to the value of volunteering to DIT. “At DIT, supporting students to engage with local community groups through volunteering is crucial to our aim of being embedded and relevant to the region and our local community. This platform allows students to maximise their involvement in volunteering, find roles that will serve their goals and be acknowledged and rewarded for their contribution.”  

For charities such as Barnardos, Habitat for Humanity, TeenLine and Special Olympics Ireland, student volunteering is a vital component of their ongoing work.

Claire O'Connor, Volunteer Services Manager for Special Olympics Ireland, explains: “With over 3,000 registered volunteers under 25 years old, Special Olympics Ireland depend on the student volunteers among our younger supporters to assist with our fundraising activities and sustain our programmes through working in our clubs, helping at events and participating in committees at local and regional level”.

Shortlisted for the 2016 THINKTECH awards, studentvolunteer.ie has been developed under the umbrella of the Campus Engage Network based at the Irish Universities Association. There are currently 10 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) invested in the portal: DIT, UCD, NUI Galway, IT Tralee, UL, MU, Trinity, IT Tallaght, DCU, and UCC. The online system is open to all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), private colleges, VECs, etc. The logo for studentvolunteer.ie was designed by DIT student Conor Grogan following a nationwide competition.

Through the new website, students at DIT can browse and apply for volunteering opportunities nationally or internationally; manage their profile and volunteering activity online; track volunteering hours; apply for volunteering awards.

DIT student, Ciaran Freeman says: “The skills that I learned and the friends I've made will stick with me longer than I'll be in college and will hopefully help to shape the person I'll become in the future.” 

Celebrating the launch of studentvolunteer.ie are; Front row l-r: Breffni Gorman (Special Olympics Ireland), Dan Kiernan (UCD), Ciara Gaffney (Trinity College Dublin), Jenessa Scott (IT Tallaght), Lilly O’Mahony (Habitat for Humanity). Middle row l-r: Roisin O’Donovan (DIT), Darragh Moran (Maynooth University), Andrea Habenicht (UL), Suzanne Connolly (Barnardos). Back row l-r: Conor Doyle (TeenLine Ireland), Ann-Marie Bright (IT Tralee), Shane Gaughan (NUI Galway), Vito Moloney (DCU), Callum Petford (UCC).