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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, September 24, 2021
Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison

A freshly-pulled leek plant is trimmed as volunteers from UW-Madison’s F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture harvest fresh produce and vegetables from their farm plot at Eagle Heights Community Garden at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 13, 2020. The students harvested more than 300 pounds of fresh produce, which they later distributed for free to nearly 100 people during a Harvest Handout outreach event held on East Campus Mall. F.H. King hosts the Harvest Hand out each Sunday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. 

Ways to make a difference: Volunteering opportunities in Madison

The time of online classes and virtual meetings is (mostly) over, which has manyUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison students feeling excited as an in-person semester begins for the first time in 18 months. As you start to get back into the swing of walking to class, meeting face to face with peers and joining new organizations, now is the perfect time to build up your resume by volunteering. 

Whether you're looking to volunteer specifically for your major or just looking to help out your community, Madison offers a wide range of opportunities within the STEM, pre-med and environmental fields. 

Most clubs incorporate volunteering into their organization, but it can also be helpful to seek out opportunities individually as well. Here are some great volunteer recommendations with convenient locations near campus. 

1. UW Madison Arboretum: The Arboretum is a staple of the Madison community and offers several volunteering opportunities that assist with ecological restoration, gardening, plant propagation and citizen science.

As of Sept. 4, “Restoration Work Parties” have resumed and will take place the first four Saturday mornings of each month, all year. This is a great way to help with ecological restoration and gain useful knowledge about the Arboretum’s plant communities. The work will include cutting brush, removing invasive plants and burn unit preparation. More info can be found at https://arboretum.wisc.edu/get-involved/volunteer/work-parties/.

Looking for an even more in-depth opportunity? Students can also become an ambassador for the Arboretum! Here, volunteer stewards serve as goodwill ambassadors that promote and share information about the Arboretum's programs and work, explain rules and help visitors with any questions they may have. Ambassadors also assist with monitoring trail conditions and phenology. Contact Stephanie Peterson at smpetersen2@wisc.edu if you’re interested in being a steward!

2. Meriter Hospital: While there are many hospitals and clinics in Madison that you can volunteer at, Meriter offers several great opportunities. 

Be a greeter! This is a great, flexible position which allows you to get homework done while simultaneously greeting, welcoming and escorting patients who come for appointments. 

If you’re interested in music, or an expert in compiling Spotify playlists, consider volunteering with “Healing Beats.” This program aims to improve the experience of patients by using a speaker or smartphone to share patient-selected music. This can be used to help foster conversation with patients, bring up happy memories and improve their overall experiences. Learn more at https://www.unitypoint.org/madison/volunteer-services.aspx

3. Badger Volunteers is another great, and popular, program. This is a semester-long, 11 week program that pairs teams of students with community organizations to volunteer one to four hours each week. The types of volunteering offered fall into the three categories — education, sustainability and public health. It is open to any UW-Madison student and is a great way to become more involved in your community. More information can be found at https://morgridge.wisc.edu/students-get-connected/badger-volunteers 

After a year full of online classes and limited human interaction, volunteering is not just a great resume booster, but a rewarding opportunity to give back to your Madison community, meet new people and engage in something you are passionate about. We hope you give one of these organizations a try!

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