With all of the excitement surrounding the return to campus after a long summer away, it can be hard to take a step back and really appreciate what a privilege is to be able to go to college, and how many people have made sacrifices to get us here. The best way to repay them? By paying it forward and giving back to others! College is full of opportunities to volunteer your time and energy for a good cause, and there is bound to be a perfect fit for every collegiette! Check out five of the easiest ways to give back on your campus this fall, then get started!
1. Volunteer in the garden or greenhouse
If you have a green thumb or just love being outside, volunteering in your school’s garden or greenhouse could be the perfect way to give back. Most colleges have a garden club for students to beautify campus by planting flowers and tending to flower or herb gardens. Some college dining halls will even incorporate some of the fresh veggies or herbs into their menus, so you can feed your campus! Not only will you be able to take a break from studying and get some fresh air, but you’ll be making your campus more beautiful (read: Insta-worthy), too.
2. Bike to class
If you go to a smaller school, chances are you probably walk from place to place on campus, but at bigger schools (or for collegiettes who commute from off-campus), walking isn’t always the most appealing option. Rather than wasting money on gas, why not help out the environment (and get a workout in the process!) by riding your bike to class? Urban Outfitters has a great website feature that allows you to build your own bike, so you can look cute while doing good for the Earth!
3. Tutor peers
If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity that will allow you to interact with your peers, then definitely give tutoring a try! Whether you’re a whiz with words or have an eye for algorithms, there’s someone on campus who could really use your expertise. Most schools have volunteer tutoring programs in which you can enroll, and you can also check out your school’s Writing Center or chat with your favorite professor about any tutoring opportunities he or she may be able to set up for you with younger students. These programs are great for lending your classmates a helping hand while brushing up on your favorite subjects!
4. Use eco-friendly notebooks
One of the easiest ways to give back at college is to make sure that your school supplies are eco-friendly; that way, you’ll make sure that you’re not wasting materials, and whatever you no longer need after finals week can be recycled and used by another collegiette. You may not see the effects of your good deed right off the bat, but you can rest assured you saved some trees when you chose your lit. class notebook. Tons of brands make folders, notebooks and planners out of recycled paper, and they come in so many adorable colors and prints, like these Greenroom Metallic Pattern Notebooks ($3.99 each at Target, in-store). If you prefer taking notes by hand, then these are definitely a must.
5. Get involved in the Read It Forward program
Though we’d like to pretend otherwise, studying is a huge part of the college experience. Between nightly readings, highlighting textbooks and studying for exams, collegiettes spend their fair share of time surrounded by books. So how can this occasionally unexciting but obviously essential part of the college experience help others? It’s simple! Through the Read It Forward program, for every SmartBook purchased by December 31, 2014, McGraw-Hill Education will donate a print textbook to a child in need across the globe.
So what exactly is a SmartBook? It’s the first and only adaptive reading and learning experience designed to change how students read and learn. As you engage with SmartBook, the reading experience continuously adapts by highlighting content based on what you know and don’t know. That means you can focus on what you actually need to learn rather than what’s already in your head. Plus, not only does the SmartBook ensure that you’re staying on track, but it also saves you the trouble of having to lug your ridiculously heavy textbooks around!
Studies have proven that SmartBook use improves student performance by at least one letter grade, and with over 350 SmartBooks currently available in practically every subject, you’re bound to find the textbook you need to ace any class. Since we always want to see our collegiettes do well, we’re happy to share that McGraw-Hill is making a killer GPA affordable on a collegiette-friendly budget by offering 15 percent off all SmartBooks with the promo code FORWARD14 through October 31. Be sure to purchase one (or several!) SmartBooks, and McGraw-Hill will donate one print textbook per SmartBook to a child in need. It’s one of the best ways to give back – improve your grades and provide a better learning experience for someone else in the process!
While you’re wrapped up in your awesome college experience – cool classes, clubs, friends and the occasional Netflix binge-watching session with your girlfriends – don’t miss out on the chance to pay it forward and give back a little. At the very least, you’ll feel that much better about your late-night cram seshes and long afternoons in the library when they roll around this semester!