A new center launched Sunday at Qatar University (QU) will play a key role in inspiring students, staff and faculty to volunteer and share their skills in their community.
The Center of Volunteerism and Civic Responsibility was formally opened by QU President Prof. Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad. It brings together and co-ordinates for the first time various volunteer programs run by colleges and departments across the university, while also expanding the programs and services on offer.
It will act as a one-stop-shop for all those interesting in volunteering to find out more about what is on offer, match their skills and expertise with the opportunities available and to learn from the experiences of others who have been involved in similar programs. It is also open to high-school students across Doha interested in getting involved in volunteering.
The center, part of the university's Student Affairs Office and housed in the Women s Activity Building on the campus, will actively recruit and manage the volunteers and leaders and will have an emphasis on the mutual benefits of community involvement sharing skills while also helping students have greater empathy and care for others and building their leadership skills. Through their placements, it is hoped that all those taking part will become more responsible citizens and more engaged in an increasingly complex, multicultural society.
In addition, participation in the schemes helps develop critical thinking, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, as well as enhancing their flexibility, self-awareness and appreciation of diversity. Offering a wide range of volunteering opportunities both inside the campus and in the wider community, the center will also coordinate a youth-oriented time bank, enabling the sharing of skills.
Marking the opening, participants were given the chance to create an art installation, with different coloured paints representing the interconnected benefits of volunteerism.
Prof Al-Misnad said: "This center brings together individual, spontaneous behaviour in an organized and institutional way. QU students are renowned for being active volunteers. This co-ordinated program will ingrain the spirit of volunteering in their personalities. Communicating and sharing with others is a very important characteristic for a healthy and dynamic society."
QU Director of Student Activities Aljazzi Fetais said: "For the first time, this center will bring together all our volunteering programs and will provide a structured, directed way of providing voluntary services which best match students and staff skills and interests to the needs of a particular organisation or event.
"We hope that more and more people will see the benefits that volunteering can have, not only in their sense of contributing to society but also to improving their own life skills."