April is National Volunteer Month, and there is a wide range of opportunities for UA 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 in this area, but also to connect service to your future goals and aspirations.” said Creighton France, an intern for the VAC.
Below are just a few of the many volunteer opportunities available in NWA throughout April. Additional opportunities can be found by browsing uark.givepulse.com — an online resource for students to discover local nonprofits, sign up for volunteering and log their hours — or by visiting the VAC.
The Salvation Army Thrift Store
With opportunities available in Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers, The Salvation Army always needs volunteers to help run its nonprofit thrift shops in NWA. The charity uses funds raised from its thrift shops to provide food, shelter and other resources for the community. New volunteers must fill out a volunteer form and email it to Volunteer Coordinator Joey Jackson before turning up for their shift. Face masks, closed-toe shoes and comfortable, non-revealing clothing are required.
Students can contact Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org for group volunteering inquiries or more information.
Park and Trail Clean Up
The Northwest Arkansas Tobacco- and Drug-Free Coalition is looking for volunteers to help keep Fayetteville trails and parks free of substance-use-related litter. Volunteers may conduct a cleanup effort any time, any day, but must take and submit photos of themselves at the beginning and end of the trail, as well as of their collected trash. Because the 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 about trail locations and cleanup tips on the NWATDFC’s Givepulse page.
Farm Lab Field Trip
The Apple Seeds Inc. teaching farm needs volunteers to help with its Farm Lab program, which teaches children about where their food comes from. The program takes place at the teaching farm in Gulley Park. Responsibilities include helping set up for the programming, supervising student groups and cleaning up. Volunteers should wear clothes they do not mind getting dirty. They must complete a training, pass a background check and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Upcoming service Farm Lab events will take place 8 a.m.-12 p.m. April 19, 26, 27 and 29. Those looking to volunteer can sign up or learn more via Givepulse.
Maple Hill Garden Work Day
Three events in April will give volunteers the chance to visit the Maple Hill Garden, learn more about horticulture and get hands-on experience tending to the garden space. The first event, on April 13, will be focused on companion planting & biodiversity, followed by an April 20 workshop on how to plant & lay out. The last event of the month will be a composting 101 and extracts workshop April 27.
Those looking to volunteer can sign up or get more information on the Office for Sustainability’s Givepulse page.
Biking Day Support
From 9-10 a.m. April 11-14, the Fayetteville Public Schools Bike Education Program needs volunteers to help PE instructors teach students to be comfortable and confident on bicycles. Volunteers can either work in small groups or one-on-one with students.
Registration closes three hours before each shift starts, or when space runs out. For more information or to register, visit Givepulse.
Students With Refugees Welcome Kit Drive
Those unable to volunteer their time this month can still make a community impact by purchasing and donating essentials for newly resettled refugees and immigrants in the area. The RSO Students with Refugees has teamed up with Canopy NWA, the only refugee resettlement agency in NWA, to host a welcome kit drive 12-2 p.m. April 16 in room 503 of the Arkansas Union. Students are encouraged to drop off newly purchased household and personal care goods from a list provided by Canopy NWA.
For more information and to view Canopy’s list of needed items, visit the Students with Refugees Givepulse page.
Spring Bird Walks
Every year, nearly 1 billion birds die from crashing into building windows. Bird Safe Glass Initiative is a UA student-led program that aims to prevent such deaths on campus. Volunteers can sign up for scheduled walks around campus to look for dead and injured birds. By collecting data on where they are found, the group can strategize about where and how to implement safety measures for buildings with high bird-crash rates. The walks will take place 8-9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from April 18 through May 13.
For more information and to sign up, visit Givepulse.