As we adjust to our new temporary reality in the face of COVID-19, we know you may have some questions about your work within the community.
Remember this quick switch in teaching and learning is likely uncharted territory for us all, including faculty, students and community partners. High quality community based learning isn't about logging a certain number of hours, it is about being responsive to community partner needs. Perhaps at this time, the ultimate way to be engaged in the community is in ways that are grass-roots and emerging as the situation unfolds.
In times like these, we are inspired by the willingness of so many to want to help, support and contribute. Here are a few ideas for ways to contribute:
COVID-19 is creating new needs and challenges, while putting tremendous pressure on all nonprofits. There are growing needs from individuals across the region and fewer volunteers to keep their organizations running. The nonprofits working directly to meet those needs require more resources to do so. Our friends over at Volunteer Fairfax are working diligently to share opportunities and donation requests from organizations across Northern Virginia. We hope you will take some time to visit these websites and learn more!
To continue these efforts, SAIL has put together a list of resources for Faculty and Students and Community Partners. We hope this will help to share some ideas and best practices from colleagues across the country. Our hope is that community engagement doesn’t go away but rather may exist in an alternate format that better meets the needs of all involved. Please reach out to us in SAIL with any questions or concerns.
These are unprecedented times and we are grateful for such a compassionate and thoughtful community. Stay safe everyone!
If you are looking for a service opportunity, whether for a course requirement, student organization project, or internship, we highly recommend these resources:
Patriot Experience is a new co-curriculum program at Mason geared toward student growth beyond the classroom. This program is the perfect way to help students:
Network with faculty/staff/other students
Help prepare students to increase soft skills such as teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, adaptability, communication skills, leadership, decision making, creativity, responsibility, etc.
Enhance students' education at Mason
This local volunteer center maintains a database of current volunteer opportunities, which you can search by your own criteria, such as: location, volunteer interests or your applicable skills. Volunteer Fairfax is the primary place the nonprofits and service agencies in our area post both their volunteer and their donation needs.
This is a database coordinated through Fairfax County Government organizations. Volunteerism is critical for the success of many county programs, and will likely be an extremely rewarding experience for you. They have a wide selection of volunteer opportunities that will allow you to serve different groups and ages of people, from children to veterans, and choose from many types of activities, from working at a desk to being active outdoors. Search this site to find opportunities that interest you and suit your talents and skills.
Volunteer Arlington connects individuals, groups, nonprofits and businesses in an effort to promote volunteerism. It is the connection hub that links volunteers both as individuals and groups to organizations in need of support.
Working in partnership with nonprofits, private businesses and government entities, Volunteer Arlington inspires civic engagement that in turn strengthens our community.
Join our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter, or sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter. You will receive notification about service opportunities like volunteerism, community-based learning courses and applications for alternative break service trips.
Mason has many student organizations focused specifically on volunteer service. You can learn more about them on Student Involvement's website.