While grades are important, many university students wish to get more out of their undergraduate experience than simply a degree. If you attend the University of Windsor and are in this situation, you should consider checking out the VIP-CSL program offered through the office of Career Development and Experiential Learning. I have just completed this program, and I found it to be an incredible experience that I would highly recommend to everyone, despite what area of study you are in.
What is VIP-CSL?
The acronym stands for ‘Volunteer Internship Program – Community Service Learning.’ This program provides students with the opportunity to apply to various volunteer organizations within the community, based on their academic knowledge.
What placements are offered?
There are numerous positions available; there truly is something for everyone. For instance, this past semester some positions included the following:
– Clerk for the City of Windsor
– Wildlife Aid for Wings Avian Rehabilitation Centre
– Teacher’s Assistant for the Greater Essex County District School Board
– Program Assistant for Transition to Betterness
– Food Bank Volunteer for the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women
– Accounting Assistant for the House of Sophrosyne
This lists only a few of the various positions offered through the program – the placements range throughout all academic fields and provide exposure to sectors of the community many of us have never been involved with before.
What does the program entail?
The VIP-CSL program is not offered for course credit; however, students will gain notation on their transcript for their involvement with the program upon completion . Additionally, there is a $100 administration fee required by participants to cover all service costs (mainly an insurance policy for students). The program aspires to encourage future volunteer work and other community involvement, as well as expose participants to the job application process. Interviews are conducted before students are accepted into the program (but don’t sweat this – the program managers just want to help improve your interview skills). There are also a few additional requirements alongside the 40-hours of volunteer work: students must complete a few online activities, attend a career services workshop, and give a short 3-5 minute presentation at the end of their placement term. The experience provides both volunteer exposure and exercises to strengthen one’s skills when applying for jobs post-grad. Overall, the program is a great addition to an academic semester, but it is not as time-consuming as classes are.
My personal experience with VIP-CSL
After going through the application process, I was placed at the City of Windsor as a Legal/Collections Assistant. I was thrilled to have received this position, and having completed my 40 hours of placement, I would highly recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in law enforcement or any kind of administrative work. In my role I was responsible for handling various court documents, organizing and filing, and even completing tasks at the court. I found the time commitment to be very manageable alongside a full semester of courses, and I was able to choose the dates and times I wished to volunteer. After completing my last day of placement, I was genuinely sad to leave the Provincial Offences office; however, this experience has inspired me to seek new volunteer roles within the community.
So if you’re looking to give back to the community and improve your resume at the same time, the VIP-CSL program may be for you! Having completed the program this term I could not recommend it highly enough. If you are interested in applying for future semesters or would like additional information, visit www.uwindsor.ca/vip. If you have any specific questions, you can also contact email@example.com.