Get a public work study job.
If you are given the option to complete a federal work study job and get a grant towards your tuition, it can be beneficial in many ways. There are opportunities both on and off campus, but if you’re looking for a way to get out into D.C., a public work study job may be the way to do this. Both nonprofit and federal organizations contribute to student job opportunities considered as a work study. For example, organizations like Kid Power and JumpStart give students the chance to get paid above minimum wage to help children in the DC school system, assisting in programming and mentoring. This is not only a way to build a resume and generate some cash flow, but a way to give back to the community weekly.
Join a service organization and help out in the community.
At the start of the year, there was a whole section of the involvement fair that included service organizations as a way to get involved and meet new people on campus, while making a difference off campus. Organizations like D.C. Reads and She’s The First contribute to this list, not only providing community service opportunities, but for D.C. Reads, a chance to gain credits for the work being done.
Encourage your friends or social groups to take part in a community project.
As it’s been seen across campus thus far, many social organizations, like Greek life, take part in service projects that are open to non-affiliates. Even though you may not be part of these organizations or any at all, there is still a chance to make a difference and help someone else in a big way. These projects may not always get you out of the bubble physically, but the effort put in by merely paying for the event is reaching beyond the community.
Take part in an issue you are passionate about during a rally or protest.
This may not be a way to make a tangible difference, but these protests and rallies can change viewpoints and show your passion. Being in the political hub of D.C. serves as a great advantage as people are always trying to make a difference and be a part of the change. Whether it’s through classes or outside organizations, find what you are interested in and what changes you want to be made. It’s easy enough to Google your issue and find what is going on where, and what you can do to help make a difference. For example, if you’re interested in stopping AU’s endowment going into fossil fuel companies, Fossil Free American University is having an event next Monday.
Bookmark serve.dc.gov to find volunteer opportunities.
This website connects D.C. organizations with citizens to provide volunteer opportunities to the public. It’s a great way to find an organization that aligns with your core passions and go into the community to help out. Whether you want to adopt a tree or meet community needs, there’s an organization in need of your help.
The most important thing to remember is that you are living in the nation’s capital; there is always something to do and someone to help. While the AU bubble allows the cliché “college experience,” there can be more to the college experience then what is inside the bubble. Go out, explore D.C., and find something you are passionate about. One Saturday in the city doing a project like this can make a difference in the community you now live in.