December 5th is International Volunteer Day, an opportunity for individual volunteers, communities, and organisations to promote their contributions to development at the local, national, and international level. It is a unique chance for people and volunteer-involving organisations to work with government agencies, non-profit institutions, community groups, academia, and the private sector.
Through the years, the International Volunteer Day (IVD) has focused on volunteers’ contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The theme for 2013 is celebration of young people acting as the agents of change in their communities. Business school students are very active contributors to their communities, and many schools have programmemes in place to coordinate volunteering opportunities on campus or projects for students and staff to take part in.
In recognition of IVD, this week Primetime will focus on just a selection of examples of volunteer programmemes at business schools around the world.
Many schools provide a student run organisation or club that focuses on volunteer activities in the community. Founded in 1991, Graduates Involved in Voluntary Efforts (GIVE) is focused on graduate students from Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver giving back to their community. At Clark University Graduate School of Management, students interested in volunteering have access to the Community Engagement and Volunteering Centers as well as 20 student groups that are community service based, including Brothers and Sisters. Ivey Connects at Ivey Business School at Western University in Canada is a student-led organisation working to inspire Ivey students to contribute to the societies in which they operate by providing them with the opportunity to give their time through volunteerism. At CEIBS in China, it is the Community Outreach and Inclusion Network club that gives students opportunities to volunteer with local charities. Comunidade Nova at Nova School of Business and Economics in Portugal is a volunteering programme in partnership with 30 local institutions. Volunteers must participate at least 1.5 hours per week and receive a Merit Certificate at graduation.
At some business schools, students have the chance to be volunteers through consulting projects with social businesses and community organisations. At Thunderbird School of Management, Thunderbird Cares connects students with opportunities to help communities and charitable organisations meet their goals. At Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Australia, MBA students provide management consulting services pro bono to a variety of not for profit organisations. At Kogod School of Business at American University, students participate in K-lab, a lab that allows business students to experiment with valuable professional skills in real work settings. They participate in skill-based volunteer projects, such as developing a business plan for Sunflower Bakery, a non-profit that trains and hires individuals with disabilities. Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business Fair Trade and Microfinance Consulting Project sends a group of students every year to developing countries to work with local artisan groups. In additional to consulting services, the students also buy products from the artisans that they bring back to sell, with proceeds being reinvested into the projects.
In additional to various student clubs and organisations, business school students and staff take part in some very specific, ongoing volunteering projects that aim to strengthen the local community. Some schools have volunteer activities done in partnership with other organisations. Jointly with the Secretariat of Social Development of Nuevo León in Mexico, EGADE Graduate School of Business Administration and Leadership runs courses free of charge for regional Civil Society Organisations, aiming at their professionalisation and development. EGADE faculty members contribute with free teaching hours. In cooperation with corporations such as P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle and PIT (Petroleum), Thammasat Business School implemented “Let’s Share,” a project to support community development in disadvantaged areas of Thailand. At the University of Portsmouth Business School in the United Kingdom, students and staff take part in Give & Gain Day, the UK’s national day of employee volunteering, where their latest project was helping Charles Dickens Junior School students who were taught the importance of recycling. At BIMTECH in India, students work with the United Nations Online Volunteer Programme administered by the United National Development Program and Goodness and Mercy Missions. At Hong Kong Baptist University School of Business, students participated in the “Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme” organised by Home Affairs Department of Hong Kong SAR Government to provide consultancy service free of charge to several social enterprises in Hong Kong, with the aim of improving the efficiency, business strategies, and market development of social enterprises in Hong Kong. At the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, the Smith School Social Venture Consulting Program partnered with Grassroots.org, a national organisation providing free online services to over 1,000 non-profits in the US, to harness the social entrepreneur expertise and enthusiasm of Smith students to benefit non-profit organisations. In the Social Venture Consulting Programme, the Smith School engages with selected non-profits to provide MBA and undergraduate students with practical consulting experience and an opportunity to give back to their community. Projects are designed for 60-80 hours over 3 months
For more volunteer examples, stay tuned to Part 2.
– What are you doing for International Volunteer Day? Post your projects in the comments section below or tweet #PRME #IVD2013 –