Volunteering and Co-Curricular Experiential Learning

Looking to build valuable skills and gain experience beyond the classroom?

Volunteering is a great way to do just that!

At Western, we offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities based on your interests and program of study. Whether you're looking to make a difference in your community or gain new skills, volunteering can help you achieve your goals.

Volunteering: Step-by-Step

1. What kind of volunteering interests you?

There are many kinds of volunteer experiences and many reasons to volunteer. Some people volunteer to help build their resumes and professional skills. Others may want to get involved as a fun activity with friends or to engage with their faith in the community. Here are some resources to help you find your reason to volunteer!

  • Check out this quiz which can help identify your volunteering style
  • Look at the Challenge Cards and see which kinds of organizations interest you
  • Look at the Mustang Map for your specific program and see what skills you can build through the unique opportunities offered for each
  • Volunteering or other community service is a big part of many faiths. Check out the faith-based groups that our campus has to offer!

2. What skills are needed for your volunteer role?

When it comes to volunteering, prior experience is often not necessary. However, there are some important skills and qualities you'll need to bring to the table. A desire to contribute, a willingness to learn, and a positive attitude are all essential. You'll also need to be able to commit your time and energy to the cause.

Think of volunteering as a form of professional development. It's an opportunity to learn new skills, build your resume, and explore potential career paths. To make the most of your experience, it's important to find a volunteer position that matches your skills and interests.

To identify a volunteer position that suits you best and get the most out of your experience, review these resources before you get started:

Considerations Around Volunteering

  • Connect Your Skills and Passions - Volunteering can give you valuable experience. It can also help you build your resume and explore possible career paths. Use the Develop Your Passion and Skills Self-Assessment tools to help you match your skills and interests to volunteer ideas that may connect you to your passion.
  • Volunteering etiquette is essential! Here's a guideline on professionally approaching organizations' volunteer opportunities and your rights and responsibilities as a volunteer.
  • Understand terminology of the position you are taking! Here is a helpful list of the terminology the university uses to understand co-curricular experiential learning, including volunteering.
  • Value of Volunteering - Volunteer Canada has created the Value of Volunteering Wheel to illustrate the many benefits of volunteering to build confidence, competence, connections, and community.

Volunteering Skills Development

  • Here are some of the key skills organizations are looking for in volunteers.
  • Volunteer Canada has resources to build new skills as an existing volunteer or apply some of the current skills you would like to improve!
  • Volunteering builds your network! Here's how.
  • The university has created free modules to help students develop their competence around Community Engagement and Career Fundamentals which provide essential information in each area.

3. Where can you find volunteer opportunities?

There are many great volunteer opportunities right here on campus and beyond in the London community, or even farther, including both nationally and internationally. Take a look at what is available and see what speaks to you!

At Western

  • Check Western Connect regularly! The Experience Catalogue outlines all programs and events offered. Log in to register for events and browse the vast array of co-curricular experiences listed on the left panel, including the Western Serves Network.
  • Consider leadership positions on campus, which can look like clubs, councils, wellness programs, and more!
  • If you want to contribute to the Western community while gaining transferable skills and growing your university network, the Western Peer Leader Program has more than 500 roles each year.
  • Check out the volunteer opportunities offered by USC and SOGS as they have some fantastic options available.

Beyond Western

4. What to do after your volunteer experience?

Your volunteer experience is an opportunity to learn, grow, and make a difference. But to truly benefit from it, you need to reflect on what you've learned and what you hope to achieve in the future.

Reflection is a crucial part of the learning process. By taking the time to reflect on your volunteer and co-curricular experience, both during and after, you can gain a deeper understanding of the skills you've developed, the aspects you enjoyed (and didn't enjoy), and the kinds of opportunities you'll want to pursue in the future.

To help you with the reflection process, we've compiled some helpful resources:

  • Why should you reflect, and what reflection questions should you be asking? Here is an excellent resource on the importance of reflection and some great sample reflection questions to help prompt your reflection!
  • If this was a Western sanctioned event ensure you add your experience to your Co-Curricular Record! The record is supplemental to your transcript and is verified for the university. It is a great way to track what you have done and the skills you have gained.
  • Add your experience to your resume as well. Here are some tips on how to add yours. The same applies to your LinkedIn!
  • Need support with your resume reach out to the Western's Employment Resource Centre and book an appointment.