Hands-on Opportunities for Advocacy and Non-Profit Careers
On campus groups
Many students develop valuable experiences through extracurricular activities including sororities/fraternities, clubs, and religious groups. Students are often managing organizations, developing skills in time management, task allocation, working in teams, coordinating schedules, planning events, and budgeting. Regardless of the topic of the extracurricular activity, these experiences are highly relevant and valuable. When you are choosing extracurricular activities, be sure you are selecting roles that help you develop and demonstrate these marketable skills.
There are a tremendous number of student organizations and groups that you can join. If you don't find one you like, start your own! See the student organization list.
Don’t forget about the HDFS USO. Positions like president, secretary, and treasurer in the HDFS USO can provide you with the opportunity to develop leadership, communication, and management experiences.
There are groups on campus where students can readily engage in these kinds of project coordination positions:
- Penn State Extension has a range of programs and services to support education and children including initiatives to train child care workers, promote family literacy, and help communities prosper.
- Healthworks is a program run at the University Health Services focused on peer education and outreach.
- The EPIS Center is the dissemination wing of the Penn State Prevention Research Center. They are actively involved in developing quality materials to help communities use evidence-based practices and in working with communities to implement these practices.
- The LGBTA Resource Center recruits student volunteers.
- THON is full of opportunities to develop marketable skills. Work on committees that let you practice important skills like finances, public relations, outreach to families, and coordinating the event to be sure it runs smoothly.
State College and surrounding communities offer many non-profit organizations that could benefit from student help. The best way to find organizations is to check the HDFS Internship Database. You’ll discover that many students are engaged in project coordination and administrative tasks for their internships. If you would like to do this kind of work, you can always approach an organization and ask if they have a project. You can even try this at the university: Ask the Student Services office, Career Services, and even the HDFS department if there are good projects that could use extra help.
Here are some examples of interesting local organizations. Be sure to tell them that you want to gain skills that will prepare you for advocacy and non-profit careers, not direct service careers. Tasks might include answering the phones, working on the website, coordinating an event, recruiting volunteers, writing fact sheets or resources for clients, or helping with fundraising.
- Centre County Women’s Resource Center does more than run a hotline.
- The Community Help Centre works to provide individuals in crisis with coordinated access to various social services around Centre County. Additional work study positions are available at the Community Help Centre.
- Many students volunteer and work at the Centre County Youth Services Bureau.
In reality, most non-profit organizations are understaffed and could use competent hands. Look at the list of local agencies funded by the United Way.