How to Make a Difference in Light of COVID-19

Friends sitting at a park

In the midst of many challenges during the previous year, it’s been the people around us—family, friends, fellow students and teachers—who’ve shown us how to make a difference. As we look ahead to the future, we challenge our residents to “leave it better.” In other words, strive to make the world a kinder, healthier and better place through your presence and support.

Finding volunteer or service opportunities that meet COVID-19 distancing procedures can be difficult. However, we’ve got seven options worth exploring for a purpose-driven start to your New Year. 

1. Virtual Volunteering

Did you know that you can volunteer remotely? As a college student, you’re already connected virtually for most of the day. This may include online classes, a quick evening movie or chatting with friends. Use that same technology to volunteer with various organizations like the United Nations or Smithsonian Digital and give back online.

2. Translate Resources 

If you’re comfortable speaking a foreign language, there are plenty of opportunities to help organizations translate their material for broader audiences. In a time where accurate health information and guidelines are vital, make a special effort to contact local organizations who might need help disseminating their essential information.

3. Crisis Text Hotline Support

Feelings of anxiety or depression aren’t uncommon during the college experience; some people are away from home for the first time, while others struggle to find their own coping strategies for stress. If you want to help individuals in need of immediate emotional support, consider volunteering for a crisis text hotline and helping others combat these negative emotions. 

Learn more about the volunteer process here

4. Donate Blood

If you’re wondering how to make a difference right away, donating blood is an easy, regular activity you can add to your 2021 calendar. The American Red Cross is in need of blood supply. In addition, they’re taking the proper precautions to make sure volunteers can safely donate without risking their individual health. Each blood drive center follows strict safety precautions and will also walk you through their protocol upon scheduling an appointment. Only eligible and healthy people will be allowed to donate. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, wait until you have received a confirmed negative test before reaching out.

5. Support Local Business

If you know you’re already going to do some shopping this weekend, why not grab some clothing from a local vendor? The small businesses in your community have likely been hit the hardest during the past year. Whether you’re ordering pizza for a study session or need a new sweater, there’s likely a local business that could use the extra purchase. (Check out our EPOCH perks partners for a few options). 

If you’re not able to give money, consider offering your services or talents to a local organization. Have graphic design skills? Reach out to a local restaurant that needs some new promotions. Like to write? Help a business write new social posts for their Facebook page. 

6. City Clean-Up

Ever noticed that a park or roadway needs a good clean-up? To make a difference, all you need are a few trash bags, gloves, and helping hands to beautify your campus and community. A quick clean-up can do wonders for the environment and is a great way to give back.

If you don’t want to do it alone, consider organizing a clean-up crew with your suite-mates or the floor of your residence. Spread the word and ask people to donate a few hours on a weekend morning. 

7. On-Campus Opportunities

If you’re looking for campus-specific opportunities, we recommend checking out the Upcoming and Ongoing Volunteer Board for ideas on how to get involved on campus. You can also reach out to your specific program’s administrative office for volunteer opportunities relevant to your specific field of study. Said Coach Dabo Swinney, “let the light that shines in you be brighter than the light that shines on you.” Let’s leave this next year better than we found it and shine from within as Clemson’s best.