The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

How to become an active volunteer on campus

Volunteering on and off campus to give back to the community is a rewarding activity made simpler by Engage W&L

My name is Lizzy Nguyen, ’25, and I am a neuroscience major and poverty and human capabilities studies minor on the pre-med track. When I’m not in the Science Center, you can often find me at Campus Kitchen cooking meals.

Before arriving to W&L, my interest in the Shepherd Poverty Program led me to apply for #HungerFighters, a program for first-years to learn more about food insecurity and get involved with Campus Kitchen early on.

At Campus Kitchen, the sense of gratification I received giving back to the community plus the wonderful people I had incredibly interesting conversations with along the way kept me coming back every week.

As time went on, the important lessons I’ve learned about the meaning of food as more than fuel in addition to the intersection of poverty with food and housing insecurity inspired me to dive deeper.

Nowadays, I’m a member of Campus Kitchen’s Exec Board, a #HungerFighters mentor, and a multi-year Volunteer Venture trip leader on Food & Housing Insecurity.

These positions are a product of my love for service and quality time, but involvement at all (which I find equally important) can be as simple as giving a new shift a try with a friend.

Engagement with the community can genuinely broaden your perspective, and service is a wonderful way to make the most of your W&L liberal arts experience – it’s certainly been a vital part of my own, and I’m more than happy to share that passion with anyone who’s interested!

Sounds great! How do I get started?

1) Enter “” into your search bar and log in via Okta using your W&L credentials. This brings you to your W&L Apps Dashboard, a main menu where you can also access important applications like Microsoft Office, Canvas, and Nelnet.

2) Log onto GivePulse (Engage W&L) via your W&L Apps Dashboard at

3) Select “Volunteer Opportunities” to view open opportunities (colored in blue) for a given date and time.

Students can view and sign up for volunteer shifts on GivePulse. (Lizzy Nguyen)

4) Select a volunteering event you want to join, and register. GivePulse will send a registration confirmation to your W&L email as well as an event reminder a day in advance.

5) Have fun volunteering! Your hours will either be confirmed by the shift leader or self-confirmed through an email sent to your inbox after the event has passed.

Looking to volunteer with a group?

If you’re looking for a specific volunteer date for large group such as a club or a sports team, communicating in advance with a potential partner organization can easily make that a reality. Off the top of my head, I recommend:

  • Reaching out to Campus Kitchen leadership for a group backpacking shift
  • Contacting Nabors Service League (NSL) to connect your group with a service project
  • Emailing Habitat for Humanity at [email protected]

Am I allowed to show up if I didn’t sign up through GivePulse beforehand?

Signing up in advance is always preferred, but generally speaking, it is alright to turn up anyway.

This is especially applicable for consistent volunteer shifts such as Campus Kitchen or Habitat for Humanity, but less so for “one-time” events like the Friends of the Chessie Trail’s annual race at McKethan Park.

To log your hours in Givepulse, click the green “Add Impact” button on the side and input relevant information such as the event’s date, hours, verifier, and community partner.

Which organizations can I get involved with?

Check out “Campus Groups’’ and “Local Organizations” for a comprehensive list of different places along with the volunteer opportunities they host.

Campus clubs and local organizations can get involved with volunteering as a group by registering on Engage W&L (GivePulse). Screenshot provided by Lizzy Nguyen

From serving food to local people at Community Table, hands-on construction work at Habitat, helping people get a driver’s license at Blue Ridge Mile, or hanging out with kids at Lexington Office on Youth (LCOOY), there’s an opportunity for every interest.

It’s also worth noting that some organizations offer volunteer shifts on a consistent schedule (ex. Campus Kitchen, RARA, Habitat for Humanity, etc.) while others offer special volunteering opportunities for special events.

For example, Nabors Service League (NSL) hosts Nabors Service Day, Red Cross Club hosts blood drives and SEAL hosts volunteering events ranging from their Highway Cleanup in partnership with College Democrats to their Spring Term Community Garage Sale.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for different opportunities on Campus Notices or club announcements.

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