April is National Volunteer Month, and there are a wide range of opportunities for AU students looking to get involved and give back to their community this spring. The Volunteer Action Center, located in the Arkansas Union, connects students with local organizations seeking volunteers in northwest Arkansas.
“Volunteering is not only a great way to leave an impact on the wonderful people of this region, but also to connect service to your future goals and aspirations. said Creighton France, intern for the VAC.
Below are just a few of the many volunteer opportunities available in the NWA throughout the month of April. Additional opportunities can be found by browsing uark.givepulse.com — an online resource for students to discover local nonprofits, sign up to volunteer, and log their hours — or by visiting VAC.
The Salvation Army thrift store
With opportunities available in Fayetteville, Springdale and roger, The Salvation Army is always in need of volunteers to help run its nonprofit thrift stores in the NWA. The charity uses funds raised from its thrift stores to provide food, shelter and other resources to the community. New volunteers must complete a volunteer form and email it to Volunteer Coordinator Joey Jackson before you show up for their shift. Face masks, closed shoes and comfortable, non-revealing clothing are required.
Students can contact Jackson at [email protected] for group volunteer requests or more information.
Park and trail cleaning
Tobacco and Drug Free Coalition of Northwest Arkansas is looking for volunteers to help keep Fayetteville trails and parks free of substance use litter. Volunteers can complete a cleanup effort anytime, any day, but must take and submit photos of themselves at the start and end of the trail, as well as their collected litter. Since trail cleanup is an independent, self-paced opportunity, volunteers should bring their own gloves and trash bag and should avoid doing shifts after sunset, for safety reasons.
Students can find more information on trail locations and cleanup tips on the NWATDFC. Givepulse page.
Field trip to the farm laboratory
Apple Seeds Inc. Educational Farm needs volunteers to help its Farm Lab program, which teaches children where their food comes from. The program takes place at the Gulley Park Educational Farm. Responsibilities include helping set up programming, supervising groups of students, and cleaning. Volunteers should wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty. They must complete training, pass a background check and provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The next Farm Lab service events will take place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 19, 26, 27, and 29. Those interested in volunteering can sign up or find out more via give the pulse.
Maple Hill Garden Labor Day
Three events in April will give volunteers the chance to visit the Maple Hill Garden, learn about horticulture and gain hands-on experience in garden maintenance. The first event, April 13, will focus on companion planting and biodiversity, followed by a workshop on April 20 on how to plant and dispose. The last event of the month will be a composting 101 and extracts workshop on April 27th.
Those looking to volunteer can register or get more information about the Office for Sustainability give the pulse page.
Bike Day Assistance
From 9-10 a.m. April 11-14, the Fayetteville Public Schools Bike Education Program needs volunteers to help physical education instructors teach students to be comfortable and confident on bikes. Volunteers can work in small groups or one-on-one with students.
Registration closes three hours before the start of each shift or when space is exhausted. For more information or to register, visit give the pulse.
Collection of welcome kits for students with refugees
Those who cannot volunteer their time this month can still make an impact in the community by buying and donating essential items for newly resettled refugees and immigrants in the area. The RSO Students with Refugees has partnered with Canopy NWA, the NWA’s only refugee resettlement agency, to host a welcome kit drive from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on April 16 in Room 503 of the Union of Arkansas. Students are encouraged to drop off newly purchased household and personal care items in a listing provided by Canopy NWA.
For more information and to see the list of Canopy items needed, visit Students with Refugees give the pulse page.
Spring bird walks
Each year, nearly a billion birds die after crashing into building windows. Bird Safe Glass Initiative is a student-led program at UA that aims to prevent such deaths on campus. Volunteers can sign up for scheduled walks around campus to search for dead and injured birds. By collecting data on where they are, the group can strategize on where and how to implement security measures for buildings with high bird accident rates. The walks will take place from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from April 18 to May 13.
For more information and to register, visit give the pulse.