A survey of college professors found that 80 percent of college students had the opportunity to volunteer in the community where the college was located. Those responding to the survey say that 66 percent have the opportunity volunteer in the surrounding community on their own, while 61 percent of schools offer campus-initiative programs to encourage students to volunteer. An additional 41 percent of students had the opportunity to travel to help people in a different community. With ample opportunities for students to volunteer, it’s important to share the benefits of philanthropic involvement.

Discover untapped interests

Up to 50 percent of college students admit they have no idea what they want to do with the rest of their lives when they start college. In fact, 75 percent change their major at least once before they receive their first degree. Volunteering gives these students a chance to try on many different roles without the pressure of having to take a class on the topic. For example, students working at an animal shelter may discover that they want to be a veterinarian while those working at a homeless shelter may discover that they have a calling to social work. For many majors, you don’t really understand what it entails until you get out in the field and do the work, but volunteering provides a way to get hands-on experience.

Improve communities

Up to 36 percent of college students admit they feel depressed at some point during their college careers. Volunteering in the community is a great way to beat this depression because it releases dopamine hormones in the body. These are the happy hormones often thought of as the “runner’s high”. Students do not have to donate much time to feel these hormones kick in because as little as an hour a week can show huge benefits. Helping other people makes you feel good and can boost your mood while making college less stressful.

Looks great on resumes

Volunteering is a wonderful way for college students to build their resumes. Students interested in teaching may find volunteer opportunities to tutor someone right on campus while others may want to work in an orphanage in a foreign land. Meanwhile, students interested in science may find opportunities at the local zoo or wildlife refuge. The opportunity to network may even lead to future job offers after graduation.

College professors can take the initiative to help their students volunteer by offering extra or class credit for students doing these activities. They may also want to build a resource list of opportunities in their communities who willingly accept student volunteers. The result may be changing lives of students forever along with helping others who are less fortunate.