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Uni Students Volunteer Via an Ampersand

Monday, 13th February 2006 at 12:02 pm
Staff Reporter
Attracting University students to volunteering is flourishing under a new organisation called!

Monday, 13th February 2006
at 12:02 pm
Staff Reporter



Uni Students Volunteer Via an Ampersand
Monday, 13th February 2006 at 12:02 pm

Attracting University students to volunteering is flourishing under a new organisation called!

The Ampersand board is made up of 6 university students and recent graduates who recognise the need for volunteering to be bought into mainstream youth culture.

The Ampersand Network is a youth run organisation that is making volunteering more accessible and appealing to university students in the belief that it will produce a more broad minded generation of leaders than might otherwise emerge.

Ampersand was launched officially in March 2005 – all positions are voluntary and all board members are under 25.

Founding member Denis Cairney says Ampersand is linking university students, the Not for Profit sector and the corporate sector in a way that is unique and beneficial to
all parties involved. The website lists over 8,000 volunteer positions and has many aspects to it that are appealing to young people

In written communication, the ampersand character (&) serves to connect two or more entities.

Cairney says it is this idea that describes both the function and philosophy of the Ampersand Network.

An umbrella organisation, the Ampersand Network seeks to streamline the volunteer job market. It provides access to opportunities listed with Volunteering Australia
and Conservation Volunteers, and provides links to agencies that can place young volunteers in countries all over the world.

The mission of the Ampersand Network is to help create an enduring culture of social reciprocity.

Cairney says Volunteer work inevitably exposes people to some of the most pressing social and environmental issues that exist in our communities. The experience of volunteering can provide students with a perspective they might not otherwise gain from uni life, and may help to produce the more broad-minded, socially engaged and compassionate generation of leaders we will require to meet the challenges of the future.

He says one of the Ampersand Network’s key objectives is to dispel the myth that caring about community and pursuing your own goals are mutually exclusive activities. Volunteer work presents students with the opportunity to reconcile their social conscience with a desire to get ahead.

He says law firms, public companies and government departments increasingly seek to employ graduates with volunteer experience. Many human resource specialists believe volunteer experience to be an indicator of personal motivation, good communication and a capacity for leadership.

Cairney says research shows that young people are the least represented age bracket involved in volunteering yet at the same time more young people are looking for some ways to engage themselves in their local community.

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