How the Volunteer Club Impacts My Rowan Experience

Student volunteer pets a gray tabby cat at an animal shelter

Today’s story is from Devon Graf, a recent communications studies graduate self-distancing from her house in Camden County, NJ. Devon joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Enchanted Celebrations was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19 affecting business.

Volunteering at Rowan University has been such a wonderful and rewarding experience. Are you looking to make friends? Help out the community? Feel good about yourself? I would recommend joining the Volunteer Club at Rowan.

Rowan students volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House South Jersey

It’s also important in other ways. Volunteering is important as it offers essential help to worthwhile causes, people in need and the wider community. Indeed, many organizations and charities rely on the generosity of volunteers as often they’re only partially-funded through government or local councils and cannot afford to pay salaries for all their staff. In fact, many companies depend almost solely upon teams of volunteers (like you!) to help them thrive and do their work.

If you’re feeling bored, isolated or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering for Rowan is an important – and often fun – way to meet new people. In fact, one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together, and volunteering lets you do just that.

Rowan student volunteers at animal shelter

What kind of volunteer options does Rowan offer? Many! Some of my favorites have been playing bingo at our local senior citizens center, helping out the local ASPCA animal shelter, and even taking a bus over to Camden to help serve food to the homeless and less fortunate at Cathedral Soup Kitchen. I even volunteered to be a tutor at South Woods State Prison.

Every volunteer event is meaningful and impacted my life positively. The look on the senior citizens’ faces to have someone young sitting next to them to play bingo is priceless. The animals I got to walk for a couple hours at the animal shelter felt loved. The prisoners I got to teach mathematics to and socialize with felt important. The greatest reward I have ever felt is donating at the soup kitchen and passing out hot cooked meals to families in need. 

Rowan students volunteer at Food Bank of South Jersey

Doing good for others and our community helps to create a sense of accomplishment. And working as a volunteer can also gave me a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost my self-confidence further by taking me out of my natural comfort zone and environment. It was also an escape from the typical school day. I was able to wake up and volunteer in the mornings for a couple of hours and then go to my classes. The volunteer event schedule has numerous days and times to apply yourself. I noticed that volunteering boosted my mental health simply because it made me happier: the so-called “helper’s high.” 

So next semester, try it out. Volunteering is a win-win situation all around. Reach out to the Volunteer Club and Rowan University if you have any questions or would like to learn more. 

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Story by:
Devon Graf, Communication Studies graduate
Rowan University Volunteer Website