UniCrew is a volunteer programme run by the Social Impact Studio (previously the Volunteer Centre) which connects students with social impact opportunities. UniCrew Volunteers have the opportunity to develop themselves through the roles as well as play a part in the bigger community picture. UniCrew works with over 200 community partners to offer students meaningful opportunities to get involved.

What you can offer

As a student you are particularly valued as a volunteer. Organisations say that students:

  • Add diversity to the team
  • Bring young energy and vitality
  • Help get the job done
  • Look at old problems through fresh eyes
  • Offer new ideas and experience with technology
  • Provide skills and labour that are in short supply

So even if you haven't volunteered before, you still have a lot to contribute. Many of the UniCrew volunteer roles only require a positive attitude and a little bit of time.

However before you decide to become a UniCrew volunteer, consider why you're volunteering and what you would most enjoy doing as a volunteer. Think about what you'd like to gain from the experience. Choose a role accordingly, because happy volunteers get more out of their experiences.

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Types of UniCrew volunteer roles

The possibilities are endless but to give you an idea of the roles available, you could:

  • Be a mentor to a young person
  • Coach a team in your favourite sport
  • Help an organisation with marketing, design, or new media
  • Help out with one-off events (e.g. Relay for Life, Midwinter Carnival)
  • Volunteer online (proofreading, translating, editing)
  • Volunteer with a major charity (e.g. Red Cross, World Vision, Oxfam)
  • Work on a local project (e.g. a local committee, recycling centre)

Many organisations will train volunteers in specific areas if they don't have prior knowledge. If a role requires a particular skill it will be outlined on the role description. Otherwise, bring your best smile and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.

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What to expect from an organisation as a UniCrew volunteer

The community organisations who register with the Social Impact Studio agree to provide:

  • An orientation/introduction to the organisation and your role
  • An outline or description of your volunteer role
  • Appropriate supervision
  • Personal development opportunities
  • Specialised training, if required

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UniCrew time commitment

The Social Impact Studio tries to have as wide a range of UniCrew volunteer roles as possible so there's something for everyone, no matter what your availability. Whether you only have a couple of hours to volunteer at a one-off event, or a free afternoon every week to help at a food bank, we hope to help you find something that interests you.

Many of our roles take place during evenings or weekends. There's also an increase in "virtual" or "e-volunteer" roles, which you can do at home and in your own time. Examples include editing documents and websites, translating, and interpretation over the phone.

How much volunteering you want to do is up to you. You need to make sure you have a realistic and healthy study/life balance, but don't overcommit yourself to volunteering. Start small and see how it fits with your studies. You can always apply for more roles during the year.

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Becoming a UniCrew volunteer

You can search through the volunteering roles currently listed on the UniCrew Volunteers Workgroup. You will need to be a University of Otago student, staff or alumni.

UniCrew Volunteer Roles

Before you can see the full role details, you'll need to register on OtagoCareerHub and join the Workgroup once you're approved.

Join UniCrew Volunteers

Stay up to date on Facebook with UniCrew volunteer roles and other news from the University's Social Impact Studio.

UniCrew Volunteers on Facebook

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Further information and contact details

If you have questions about how to join UniCrew and get involved with volunteering, come and see the team. You will find the Social Impact Studio next to the central Library within the Career Development Centre.

The Social Impact Studio runs information sessions on the following:

  • How volunteering can improve your personal and professional development
  • Volunteering in New Zealand
  • What is expected of you as a UniCrew volunteer
  • What kind of volunteer opportunities there are both on and off campus
  • What volunteer roles might be best suited to your motivations and interests
  • Any other questions you may have

Contact the Social Impact Studio:

Email volunteer@otago.ac.nz
Tel +64 3 479 8631

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Last updated 18/10/2021 02.13 PM

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