In the Why it's good for you? section, we’ve already covered in depth what volunteering brings and why it’s worth joining the BBS Sustainability Network, either as a member or as the owner of a specific project. Now we want to show the many and varied ways that volunteering appears at our University and what exactly it all means. We are sure that everyone will find a way to take part in these fantastic initiatives.
We believe that a well-organized, cohesive community with common values is an essential condition and the main driver of BBS's competitiveness and development. In addition to our nearly 17,000 students, we have approximately 1,000 cohesive, responsible and professionally trained employees. A community of this size has a huge responsibility, but also an opportunity to make a big impact with its actions. One such effect may come from volunteering.
Before we began consciously to organize and coordinate BBS volunteer activities in 2018, we conducted a community-wide survey of how BBS citizens perceived volunteering. We wanted to find out what ideas they had, and within which areas and in which framework those ideas belonged. We also needed to know how much time our citizens could devote to volunteering. Interest in the topic was immediately displayed by the fact that our survey was completed in record numbers by both students and colleagues.
Here are the most important findings:
- 70% of respondents had volunteered in their life.
- 76% of respondents wanted to volunteer in the future.
- Respondents confirmed that they would contribute to a voluntary task with typical, light physical work (80%), and non-professional, mental work (71%).
- Areas identified in relation to volunteering were sport and hobbies (55%), animal protection (46%), education (45%) and environmental protection (41%).
- 49% of respondents confirmed that they would devote two hours, while 55% confirmed that they would devote 2-4 hours to volunteering.
And in response to the question, “What does volunteering mean to us?"
Here are the most common answers:
- the joy of helping
- a sense of usefulness, and…
- a motivational chance to gain experience!
1. Volunteering course
Consistent with the goals of the university strategy of becoming a Sustainable and Responsible University, we are pleased to inform students that volunteering can already be completed as a credit-scoring course, and so we can do even more together to strengthen our social impact.
In developing the details, the Education Council considered several options: one of the most important being, to complete the course in several ways, tailored to individual needs and schedules:
- Programs advertised by individual units of the BBS can be joined on a voluntary basis, and in each case they are announced and elaborated on by the Academic Appeals Committee of the respective Faculty.
- Voluntary initiatives announced by the Sustainability Centre and Network can also be recognized (e.g. Volunteer Week and other initiatives). More information on current initiatives is available under the Events menu item or on the BBS Facebook website.
- During university studies, it is also possible to recognize participation in voluntary programs initiated by organizations registered on the website civil.info.hu.
The students can find all practical information necessary for completing the task in the Student Account.
2. Volunteer Week
Based on the survey, it became clear that our community would have been pleased to have had a joint, organized and centrally coordinated university movement. This ‘old’ dream came true when we announced BBS Volunteer Week in the spring of 2019, which was held for the first time at the University from April 29th to May 5th.
We are proud to have helped others through the selfless collaboration of more than 155 participants during Volunteer Week, working with 10 organizations!
Not surprisingly, we are planning such an event every year in the future as well, of which you can always find current information in the events calendar and, of course, on social media.
So, are you in too? Last year they were in too!
What was the first Volunteer Week like?
From the survey already mentioned, we learned that the interests and schedules of the University’s internal community are diverse, but we certainly have one thing in common: a desire to help!
Therefore, in selecting the NGOs and compiling and organizing the programs, we took into account the needs of our internal community, with their different interests and schedules, and thus, from this, ensured that those who wanted to help, had the opportunity to join various actions for a week. The aim of the event was to show how diverse the tasks of volunteering could be and for everyone to find something to their liking.
On the first day of BBS Volunteering Week, enthusiastic colleagues and students were able to attend a Resuscitation Course organized by the National Ambulance Service to help their fellow human beings at any time if needed. On Tuesday and Thursday, we assisted the work of the Food Bank with can labelling. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, our Trashtag campaign was organized together with the JÖN Foundation, during which we collected garbage in the 16th district of Budapest with the members of the Youth Enrichment Society. On 1st of May, thanks to the BBS Physical Education and Sports Centre, the participants worked around the tourist house in Dobogókő, in cooperation with the Hungarian Tourist Association, while our volunteers beautified the FBA campus in Zalaegerszeg. As part of Thursday’s sandwich collection campaign, the inner community contributed far more snacks than expected to help feed hungry people. The sandwiches and other delicacies were delivered to people by the volunteers of the Budapest Bike Mafia: to such places as, the women's temporary accommodation of the BMSZKI (the Budapest Methodological Centre of Social Policy and Its Institutions), and to the daytime warmer on Madrid Street. Towards the end of the week, the animals in need could not be left out of the assistance, so on Friday, several people from the Budapest faculties helped at the Budaörs Animal Shelter, while FBA volunteers visited the Bogáncs Animal Shelter.
At the end of the week, on Sunday, our volunteer students helped the successful implementation of an event for people with disabilities during the Independent Living Day workshop held at Millenáris.
3. Ad hoc voluntary tasks
Of course, volunteering is not only possible in a given week. On several occasions, the members of the Sustainability Network, or even our students, approach us with an idea or opportunity, in which we manage to involve others as well. A good example of this is what happened around Christmas 2019: following the food labelling activity, organized during Volunteer Week, we organized another joint action with the team of the Food Bank. Our university also joined the usual Christmas fundraising and we adopted the Újhegyi Auchan store for 3 days to collect durable food for those in need. By the end of this activity, we had collected 1,275 kg of food, all of which was donated. The experience was unforgettable!
4. BBS for the Community
Our most recent initiative is the BBS for the Community website, which was brought to life by the coronavirus pandemic, but is about much more. The bottom line is that we have created a platform to make the existing intellectual products of our inner community available to each other and the outside world, and to collect voluntary personal donations. It is a matter of huge pride for us that we currently have nearly 150 free-to-use materials and 14 personal donators We were also curious about how members of the inner community helped others during the virus situation, so we conducted a short survey.
Based on the responses, the following results were obtained:
- More than 1/3 of them volunteered during the emergency.
- Nearly 40 helped with professional volunteering, and more than 100 with other means, such as shopping, dog walking, or just a helpful, supportive conversation with those who were under official quarantine.
- Most supported their immediate environment in an individual way, on their own initiative.
- More than half of those surveyed plan to volunteer in the future, regardless of whether they had the opportunity to volunteer in the current situation.
- And finally, they spent at least 3500+ hours with selfless help.
If you want to know more about the BBS for the Community initiative, you can find it HERE!
We hope that from the summary above, everyone can find a form of volunteering that feels more natural for them. If you still feel like you have missed something, or if you just have a good idea, then contact us HERE.