Click here to see volunteer opportunities for COPH Students!

The Service Learning Experience that all COPH students complete provides invaluable work-related experience. Additional volunteer work is a wonderful way for COPH students to gain experience in other areas and expand your network even further. This research from the Corporation for National and Community Service illustrates how volunteering can improve your chances of securing a job.

Benefits of volunteering include:

  • Networking—you will be doing work with and for others, and you never know who those people will be and how they are connected. This is a very low-stress form of networking, since you can get to know others, while working on specific tasks.
  • Gain experience and build skills.
  • And, of course, you will feel good by helping others.

COPH Students should explore volunteer options with the Service Learning Academy (SLA) Legacy Programs. These Legacy Programs are student led, so there are plenty of extensive leadership opportunities as well as short term and one-time, event related volunteer needs.

If you are interested in a specific topic or type of organization, there is no shortage of opportunities.

Tips and Ideas for Volunteering:

  1. Organize with a group of students in your concentration. For example, MCH students could collectively approach Omaha Healthy Start or the Baby Blossoms Collaborative to see if there is an event or other tasks that could use volunteers.
  2. If you see a major event of interest (Symposium, conference, Gala, fundraiser, etc.), look for a request for volunteers. If you don’t see one, email the organizers and ask if they need help with anything before, during or after the event.
  3. Look at job descriptions long before you start your job search, and compare your resume with the most common requirements. If you consistently see a required skill or experience that you lack, find a volunteer opportunity that will help you meet that requirement.
  4. Be open to last minute requests—keep an eye on your email.
  5. Be specific when you reach out to organizations. These are incredibly busy people, so the more specific you can be, the easier it will be for them to reply.

For example, “I admire the work that you do at XYZ Organization, and I am wondering if you have any data needs that I could help out with. In my public health program, I have learned how to create databases, run analyses and develop reports, so would love to talk with you about any volunteer projects that could benefit from this expertise” is better than “I am a public health student and am looking for volunteer opportunities to get more experience. Do you have any opportunities available?”

If you have done number 3, you should be able to identify appropriate types of organizations, and make these specific requests.
There are a number of ways you can find organizations to volunteer with, including talking with faculty, staff, students, friends and family, doing online searches, paying attention to news and community events, and looking at the Non-profit Association of the Midlands’ Membership Directory.

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