Offer your free services and gain valuable experience
By Lisa Weaver
After endless hours of cheering with fellow Frosh mates, the temptation may arise to lock yourself in a closet, never to join in any reindeer games ever again.
Once classes begin, however, you will quickly get bored with the routine and will be in need of finding something to add some colour into your school days. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in numerous areas of Western's campus while gaining valuable experience and skills.
Campus Recreation offers a wide selection of drop-in fitness programs and raquet sports which are available to students possessing a Western 1 card. One of the ways to make friends and work off some stress is through intramural sports which are organized through Campus Rec.
"We offer everything from Broomball to Innertube Waterpolo to more serious sports," said Fiona Lees, media and marketing supervisor at Campus Rec. Teams are organized into mens, womens and co-ed categories with 16 leagues and 13 tournaments scheduled. This year, underwater hockey has been added to the usual league sports, as well as wrestling and box lacrosse.
There are several ways to sign up for this team-player experience. Students can either register as a group, individually or as a free agent at their respective residence through their sports representatives. You can even register online at www.uwo.ca/campusrec/ims.htm and pay at Campus Rec in Room 38 of the University Community Centre.
If you are not interested in playing a sport but have knowledge of one, that is not a problem you can apply to work as a paid official. Western boasts the largest intramural sports association in Canada and is the only one to pay officials, as all other universities accept only volunteers.
Another way to get a bit of exercise is by volunteering for Foot Patrol, a service provided at no cost to students around Western's campus. Patrollers work in pairs to provide safe escorts for students in the later hours of the evening and night.
The volunteer process is relatively easy. Simply visit the office in Room 47 of the UCC and pick up an application form to book an interview. If you pass the interview and complete the training, all you have left to do is a lot of walking. You are required attend two training sessions and work at least two shifts a month. Foot Patrol offers the chance to meet other students while gaining extensive knowledge of all the intricacies of the campus. Call 661-3650 for more information or to summon an escort.
Learning skills, which will be useful after your university stint is over, are always a good reason to be a volunteer. At the Student Development Centre, in Room 210 of the UCC, a program called Volunteers in Progress allows you to gain valuable experience.
Rose Aquino, coordinator of VIP, said the program allows students to learn about all the other services in the centre and also gives them a sense of belonging at Western.
"We do our main recruitment in January," Aquino said, adding there are still positions available, including Job Search Clinic assistant, Career Counselling, Learning Skills assistant (working directly with students), readers for visually impaired students (making taped versions of texts) and English conversation leaders.
To apply for any of these positions, simply visit the SDC and fill out an application form.
If it's a creative outlet you're in search of, look no further than Western's media for numerous volunteer opportunities. Volunteers for both CHRW FM 94.7 and TV Western may be given the opportunity to work on-air, on the production of commercials, music processing, promotions and contests, said Tom Everett, director of music and entertainment programming at CHRW.
Everett added that although volunteers are trained for both radio and television media, they focus mainly on the area they are interested in most.
For more information on how to volunteer at CHRW or TV Western, be sure to groove your way down to Room 52 of the Biological and Geological Sciences Building on Sept. 23 or Room 1059 of the Engineering Building on Sept. 24, at 7 p.m.
Another unique opportunity, situated right in the middle of campus, is at the McIntosh Gallery. A wide range of jobs exist, including supervising the gallery during open hours, greeting people at peak hours and engaging them in conversation about the art on display, doing research, office work, or helping with fundraising and gallery promotions.
"We match the person and their interests with the jobs we have at hand so the person gets a job they're interested in," said Catherine Elliot Shaw, curator of the gallery. Volunteers are needed at any time throughout the year, with no previous experience necessary. Shaw also said that volunteers who have put in adequate time and effort will be provided with letters of recommendation if needed.
For any interests which are lacking from these few volunteering options, check out the diverse range of opportunities available during Clubs Week, running Sept. 21 to 25, in the UCC atrium. Sign up for various clubs, representing all aspects of student life. From the Carribean Students' Association, to the Women's Issues Network, to the '80s Club, there is sure to be a group that will fit your needs. And in case you've forgotten, volunteers are always welcome at The Gazette.
One final word of caution. It's great to be involved in extra-curricular activities on campus because it's an easy way to meet people with similar interests and always looks good on a resume. Just don't overdo it or forget what you're really here for. Which is....???