Staying active in the USF volunteer scene

Following Volunteer Awareness Week, which took place June 17-23, it is time to sustain this sentiment year-round. For a host of USF students, summer leaves them with more time on their hands than they can handle. For local and national charities, the situation is quite the opposite, as most in Tampa Bay struggle to recruit volunteers.

The American Red Cross, for example, often the first place one turns when looking to make a difference, is always in need of humanitarians.

“We are looking for students who are interested in every aspect of the Red Cross, whether that be directly assisting the victims of a natural disaster, organizing a blood drive, helping to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, or even service to their community,” said Margaret Brown, general manager of office volunteers. “We want any student to feel just as much of a Red Cross member as anyone in our office.”

Always pleased to receive additional help, Brown also mentioned that a USF student is planning a Red Cross chapter on campus. While meetings for Red Cross USF will be announced at a later date, members will be given opportunities concerning disaster services, helping at shelters (including Pizzo Elementary), intensive training to respond to fire victims, public speaking in the form of tabletop presentations, CPR and first aid training, babysitting, instructor training and assisting the VA Hospital, which may result in immediate placements.

For more information on Red Cr Those who enjoy a walk on the wild side can volunteer at Lowry Park Zoo during $3 Day Sunday on July 29. Volunteers will manage various rides, aid with visitor services, distribute maps and run exhibits. This opportunity is open to all ages, including students, corporate groups and the elderly.

However, volunteers must possess the ability to work outdoors in Florida’s humid, subtropical climate. Shifts run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For registration details, contact Kristin Mayfield at (813) 935-8552.

Although some Bulls enjoy the unpredictable spirit that children have to offer, not many students are aware of the youngsters right here on campus. Take a stroll just south of the Sun Dome, and you will run into the USF Preschool for Creative Learning.

“Working with children is the most rewarding opportunity you can be given,” said sophomore Lin Valdez. “Children are our future, so by instructing them, you are ultimately shaping the future of our community.”

Aiming to demonstrate model preparation in early childhood education, this center provides internship, practicum and observation opportunities for students in numerous programs.

In addition, the College of Public Health offers a myriad of volunteer opportunities. In particular, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center is in serious need of volunteers in every area, from the information desk to the Lifetime Cancer Screening Center to special projects. Because volunteers are expected to treat their time as they would a paid occupation, members need to offer 60 hours of their time within a period of six months. They are also expected to provide input on how to improve services. For more information, visit

With a representative usually lingering by the entrance to the library, Environment Florida is always looking for volunteers to spread the word about its mission. The group believes that independent research and strong-willed advocacy are necessary to achieve real results for the environment, especially when powerful interests stand in the way of progress.

“Oil companies, utilities, big developers … their voices are always heard,” said Mark Ferrulo, the organization’s director. “It’s our mission to offer Floridians an equally strong and effective voice for our environment.”

Environment Florida focuses exclusively on protecting Florida’s air, water and open spaces, speaking out and taking effective action at the local, state and national levels to improve the quality of our natural environment. Students can visit or call (850) 224-5944 for more information on volunteer opportunities.

For more details onvolunteering at USF,visit the Center forCivic Engagement &Volunteerism at itsofficial Web site