59.9% of the students who took the survey have heard of SFU Volunteer Services, which is an increase of 11% from last year’s numbers! 63.3% of students responded that they are currently volunteering or are planning to volunteer in 2010.
The results also showed that Health Sciences students are the most actively involved and/or are most likely to get involved, with 78.6%, compared to students in other departments. Applied Sciences department had the lowest percentage, with only 50.6%.
We also saw a significant increase in the number of sign-ups for Volunteer Services events and newsletter maillists, as a result of various outreach and promotional activities Volunteer Services staff coordinated in the last eight months. Currently, a total of 1422 and 1140 students signed up for the events and newsletter maillists, respectively, and the numbers continue to grow every week.
The number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans also increased significantly within the last eight months. As of April 13, 2010, Volunteer Services has over 480 Twitter followers while the number of Facebook fans increased by 204% to 134 fans from 44 fans back in September 2009.
More students are also visiting Volunteer Services website for volunteer-related information and resources, the website expects at least 700 visits per month. Similarly, the number of visits for the ENGAGE blog has increased significantly over the past year, increasing from 169 visits to 690 visits, for the month of March 2009 and 2010, respectively.
These statistics are very encouraging as they suggest that a portion of SFU students are currently involved or are actively seeking volunteer activities. These results also showed that the marketing and outreach activities Volunteer Services coordinated over the past year were very successful, and if staff had more resources to implement projects like these, Volunteer Services will be able to reach out to more students in the future.
Qualitative survey results support this as an overwhelming portion of students stated that Volunteer Services needs more marketing and outreach activities to raise awareness of Volunteer Services as well as promoting volunteerism and civic engagement to the SFU student body. Many students also requested more volunteer fairs, workshops and information sessions be offered by Volunteer Services to inform them of ways they can get involved and give back to their community.
“I would like to see Volunteer Services and Civic Engagement [resources] become a priority at SFU. I feel right now the Career Services/Co-op element is so strong, and caters so strongly to professional/business interests that often voluntary and community work get overlooked or diminished in importance,” stated one survey respondent. The respondent continued, “Promoting and celebrating people who contribute to their communities and not just those with impressive professional resumes would attract a large portion of students frustrated with the business bias.”