Dal pilot program acknowledges volunteers

DalConnects gives more volunteer opportunities to students

Dalhousie University student Tosan Imoki stands with co-curricular record posters. (Photo: Katelynn Gough)

Throughout her university career, fifth-year environmental studies student Tosan Imoki found it hard to get out into the Halifax community. So when the Dalhousie University student heard about a new pilot program that would help students volunteer in the community, she knew she wanted to be involved.

“(During) my five years plus of university I found it very difficult to connect with the community and I found myself going through university all about the academics and not really getting the hands-on process I need to excel in my career,” she says.

Dalconnects helps match students with volunteer opportunities and officially recognizes the extra curricular work they do off campus. Launched this semester, the DalConnects volunteer certificate can accompany the student’s co-curricular record, an official Dalhousie document launched last year that displays non-academic involvement.

Eric Donovan, co-ordinator of experiential learning opportunities at Dal. (Photo: Katelynn Gough)

Eric Donovan, the newly hired co-ordinator of experiential learning opportunities, says the program will link students with non-for-profit organizations all over Halifax and allow them to gain leadership skills.

“It’s another opportunity for students to get involved and learn through experience,” he says. “They’re getting involved in these applied learning experiences, practising the skills they developed and that they’ve learned,” he says.

Thirty students have signed up for the program. They will take three workshops, complete at least 15 hours of volunteer work and write a reflective assignment at the end.

Imoki says she recommends this program to students who want to get more from school than just what they learn in class.

“For three years straight I was just an academic student and not really gaining much of a hands-on experience that would carry me on in the careers that I hear about in class,” she says. “With volunteering on campus and with the DalConnects I feel very excited to move on to my career because I know I am gaining so much I can take right into the workforce.”