Volunteering just became one click easier for Geneseo students thanks to the new website GiveGab: The Social Network for Volunteers. While the site itself is not new to Geneseo, the program was put into effect this past spring. Some clubs and local businesses were added as well as students, but advertising and more frequent use of the website began this year.
The need for a website like this arose out of the perceived benefits it would bring to the college as a whole. With GiveGab, not only can students easily find and track volunteer opportunities, but the college will also have a record of student involvement on campus and in the community.
“We’ve been looking for software and programs that would report and give students credit for the work they do in the community,” Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Thomas Matthews said.
“This had what students would enjoy—the social networking part of it—and the college would like to keep better records of student hours,” leader of Student Employment Service and Community Outreach on campus Paula McClure said.
With GiveGab, departments and extracurricular organizations as well as local nonprofits can post pages for volunteer opportunities; specifying location, time and number of volunteers needed. Volunteers can create accounts and are matched with these opportunities based on their strengths and interests.
Every Geneseo student has access to GiveGab via their “geneseo.edu” email address and can log in anytime to activate their account.
Once logged in, students can find volunteer opportunities, track their hours, write reflections and share their profiles with friends. This not only helps students gain more volunteer hours, but it helps them to keep track of those hours in one easily accessible location.
“You would do it in here and then you have this whole collection [of hours and reflections] to use for a graduate application and at least have them stored all in one place,” McClure said.
The website also provides contact information and job applications for on and off-campus organizations, so students looking for work can easily find and contact possible employers.
As for organizations, they can create closed or open opportunities and can choose to invite anyone in Geneseo or only people in their own club. The centralized and easy-to-navigate nature of GiveGab makes it favorable for student organizations, especially Greek organizations that coordinate multiple events throughout the year.
GiveGab was tested out last week, when it was used almost exclusively to plan the annual Knights’ First Day of Service for first-year students. It sent reminders to students who signed up, made downloadable spreadsheets where students could sign in and out, allowed them to select t-shirt sizes and acted as a forum where any updates and conversations about the event could be posted. GiveGab can also be used to organize less traditional charity events.
“I can see this being great for some sort of run or walk,” McClure said.
While there is a specific Geneseo community that students logged in with their Geneseo people will automatically access, GiveGab can be used anywhere, making it useful on breaks and after graduation.
“Once you have a GiveGab account and you want to do something…over a break, it will pop up and you can volunteer,” Matthews said. “Once you leave Geneseo you can keep your account and it will always follow you.”
Matthews and McClure hope that GiveGab will eventually expand to the point where all students, clubs and community partners use it to plan events and recruit volunteers. “If we get the information in there, it will help everyone,” McClure said.