If you spend time walking around the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, chances are you will spot someone wearing a colored Badger Volunteers t-shirt. So what is Badger Volunteers?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. In the Badger Volunteers program, students volunteer 1-4 hours a week at the same organization across the course of the semester.
This is because the program is designed to foster meaningful and consistent connections between community partners (schools, nonprofits, municipalities) and students. With a semester-long commitment, students become higher-skilled volunteers and form a more-lasting relationship than one-time volunteer commitments.
2. We work with over 80 different community partners to work with.
With so many unique community partners around Madison, students are sure to find an opportunity that aligns with their passions. Badger Volunteers assist in therapeutic horseback riding at Three Gaits, Inc., tutor students in the Madison Metropolitan School District, play karaoke with senior citizens with Options in Community Living and so many more opportunities.
3. Volunteering opportunities come in three categories: public health, education and sustainability.
Students passionate about a future in education, public health-related fields, or in sustainability can build their resume with volunteer work specific to their field of choice. However, Badger Volunteers has opportunities for any major or skillset.
4. The Morgridge Center for Public Service provides free transportation to volunteering sites.
Madison is 77 square miles and our community partners are located all over, creating a potentially challenging commute for students. Badger Volunteers simplifies this travel with free transportation. If a volunteering site is more than 35 minutes away by bus, we provide students with a Union Cab or a Zipcar. All volunteers also have access to Madison’s electric B-Cycles.
5. The program is a great way to make friends.
With over 700 students involved every semester, Badger Volunteers has a strong community. Students work in teams and get to know each other over the course of the semester. The program also has socials where volunteers can meet other teams, such as breakfasts, ice cream socials and even Escape Rooms.
6. Badger Volunteers attend education sessions that contextualize their volunteer work.
The mission of Badger Volunteers is to bridge the gap between campus and community. In order to make the connections between students and community partners more meaningful, The Morgridge Center for Public Service provides educational talks about topics relevant to service and Dane County. Adding context to service work makes students more responsible and effective volunteers.
7. Since its founding, Badger Volunteers have completed over 246,896 hours of service.
From 3,280 service hours in its first year to 30,889 service hours just last year, the Badger Volunteers program has grown in its impact around Madison.
8. Last year we celebrated our 10th year of Badger Volunteers.
The Badger Volunteers started as a program with just four community partners and forty volunteers. Ten years later, it has transformed into a program with 700 volunteers and more than 80 community partners each semester. In an anniversary yearbook, current volunteers, Badger Volunteers alum and community partners celebrated this decade long legacy of service.
Registration for Fall Badger Volunteers opens online on Sept. 6 at 7 a.m.
Will you be part of the next decade of Badger Volunteers?
Spots are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Sign up at go.wisc.edu/bv