Introduction to volunteering in the United States

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How to decide what type of volunteering is right for me?

There are many different ways to be involved in the community and many ways that you can make positive social change. It is important to think about what type of volunteering best reflects your values, professional goals, and strengths. 

The Social Change Wheel highlights a variety of ways that you can positively contribute to the community.

How much time is required to volunteer?

There are many commitment levels you can make as a volunteer. Time commitments can vary from a couple of hours on one day to five hours every week for a year. Most volunteer opportunities available to U of MN students require a 2-3 hours per week for a semester. The most important thing is that you talk to organization staff and make sure you understand their time commitment and that it matches your availability.

How am I going to get to the organization?

Many volunteer opportunities are are on a busline or light rail. Some are even walking distance to campus. If you haven’t left campus, volunteering is a great way to challenge yourself to explore more of the Twin Cities. University of Minnesota students are also eligible for a reduced bus pass called U-Pass for only $114 per semester. A U-Pass allows you flexibility to expand volunteer locations. A CCEL peer advisor will work with you to understand the best transportation option for your needs and volunteer site or you can visit Metro Transit, to understand the bus options.

Public Transportation Services in the Twin Cities (Off-Campus):

University of Minnesota Transportation Services (On-Campus):

Next module: Why should I volunteer as an international student?