Celebrating National Volunteer Week with #UWCommunity

This story is part of the #UWCommunity National Volunteer Week 2016 series, profiling volunteer-driven University of Waterloo initiatives that help make a difference in our community.

National volunteer week
The University of Waterloo community has good reason to celebrate during National Volunteer Week. Throughout the year, Waterloo’s 5,497 full and part-time employees volunteer their time, contribute to the success of organized volunteer initiatives, and reinforce the positive impact that volunteerism makes in our community.

Volunteers We are all familiar with some of the ways that staff and faculty volunteer on campus – by devoting time and energy to the United Way, Keystone, and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation campaigns (hundreds of employees and countless hours), by coordinating campus-wide food drives and related events, and by participating in the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation’s Random Act of Kindness Day (more than 7,000 acts of kindness in 2014). Yet these large-scale initiatives form only part of the picture. Anecdotally, we also know that many Waterloo employees actively volunteer in the broader community – as coaches, event planners, committee and association members, animal foster care providers – just to name a handful.

What everyone may not realize is that, strategically-speaking, volunteerism also forms a vital piece of our workplace puzzle. We know that employees want to work for socially responsible and community-minded organizations. By supporting volunteerism, Waterloo fosters an engaged workforce that is essential for enabling the University to meet its strategic plan goals and, in particular, the objectives under the Robust Employer-Employee Relationship and Sound Value System strategic themes.

In the past year, the University of Waterloo has been recognized for its  inclusivity efforts and employee engagement. These accomplishments are impressive. They also speak to the strong foundation of values and engagement upon which we can build our voluntarism impact. In coming months, Human Resources and Community Relations will be exploring the question of how to strengthen volunteerism on campus. We will be looking to develop metrics and collect data on our current volunteer initiatives, develop ways to recognize and celebrate Waterloo’s volunteers, and investigate how we might offer additional support for employees wishing to volunteer in the community. If you have interest in volunteerism at Waterloo, we would welcome your feedback.

From April 10 to 16, 2016, we invite you to join in the conversation by celebrating and recognizing individuals, groups, committees and clubs at Waterloo who actively make a difference through volunteering. Share your photos, comments, or words of thanks on Twitter and Instagram using #UWCommunity and #NVW2016.

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