Volunteering builds friendship, confidence, community


Gabe Pollak

A volunteer shares a bowl of soup to an attendee of Church Under the Bridge last Spring.

Back in my naïve days as a first-year, I got written up and was punished by having to volunteer my Friday mornings to work on the Guilford farm. Out of all the punishments of my life, that has been the best one.

I felt mighty and important while digging my hands into dirt looking for bugs to pick off of the green beans, and proud when I saw students in the cafeteria eating cherry tomatoes I picked. I volunteered my service for the greater good, and thanks to me Guilford College students could enjoy juicy cherry tomatoes atop their otherwise mediocre salads.

Volunteering is not only an important part of what makes Guilford unique, it is important to the individual student. It feels amazing to help people and to be a part of something good, to the point where the lack of pay does not hold as much value.

“(Volunteer work) has been heavily researched, and all of the data shows that students who are doing this kind of work are flat-out better students,” said Andrew Young, the volunteer training coordinator for the Bonner Center for Community Service & Learning.

“It’s been shown that out of all the different things that students could be doing, service learning has the biggest impact.”

And it does.

Volunteering can increase self-confidence, combat depression and keep you physically healthy. Imagine how amazing you would feel after spending a few hours helping someone harvest some vegetables, set up for an exciting event or tutor grade school kids. Not only are you awarded good karma, you also feel great about yourself.

It can also work as a great gateway to future career opportunities and teach you valuable job skills.

Meeting people on site is an easy way to make connections that could help you in the future, and if they see you working your hardest out of the goodness of your heart? You’ll definitely score that interview after graduation.

Guilford uniquely dedicates itself to service, and it’s one of the best qualities of our school. Two of our seven core values are community and stewardship, and our effort to volunteer our time for others exemplifies that. We as students should take advantage of the volunteer opportunities presented to us through programs like Bonner and opportunities from administration.

Guilford’s Day of Service was a fantastic chance to help our school and our surrounding community. We carried Guilford’s name highly while volunteering our Saturday to organizations across campus and our surrounding communities.

“I think my favorite part about Guilford’s Day of Service was the presence of all the students and student organizations like Bonner and QLSP,” said junior Sadie Hunter. “It was great to see everyone come together and start bridging existing divides.”

Volunteering also gives back to Guilford as an institution. Our continued commitment to service and volunteer work could potentially help with enrollment and retention rates. It’s a great way for students to get excited about getting involved and dedicated to the school.

“I led a site in the community garden and had a really great time,” said junior Phoebe Hogue-Rodley. “I was surprised by how many people came out to help and cared.”

If you are a student looking to get the most out of your time here through volunteer work, the farm and the Bonner Center always have service opportunities. If you are looking to venture further outside of the Guilford bubble, the Volunteer Center of Greensboro website has an ongoing list of events that need volunteers.

I know, I know, what about your needs? What about your Saturdays spent on Tinder trying to find the love of your life or on Netflix trying to combat your hangover?

Well, we have to think bigger picture here. You are providing service out of the goodness of your heart to people who really need it. That feels better than a Tinder match or Netflix binge.

And hey, maybe you will meet someone while volunteering and fall in love with him or her. The opportunities are endless.