About ALIVE

Introduction to ALIVE

What is ALIVE?
What do I get from the ALIVE Programme as a student of NUI Galway?
Why should I volunteer?
Who can participate in ALIVE?
How can I become involved with ALIVE?
What support can I expect as an ALIVE Volunteer?
When is the Student Volunteer Coordinator available and where is their office based?


What is ALIVE?

ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience) is NUI Galway's student volunteer progremme and it was established by the CKI to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that NUI Galway students make by volunteering.


What do I get from the ALIVE Programme as a student of NUI Galway?

In past years, the ALIVE programme has indicated that students have had the opportunity to:
enrich their personal development and employability skills; have a fun experience and made new life long friends; attain an ALIVE Certificate from NUI Galway; learn from community which could enhance academic learning; build personal knowledge and skills while contributing to the capacity of community.


Why should I volunteer?

If you are a student studying (undergraduate and postgraduate) volunteering will provide an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and knowledege, get some real-life experience and at the same time the local community benefits. Employers ask during interviews to share examples of any volunteering. This will show that you have transferable skills and you are able to adapt to any given situation. Volunteering is a great way to get to know more people from different backgrounds. Volunteering can be a great way to improve your personal and professional development. Whilst volunteering, you can actually learn new skills which will not only benefit your professional life, but will give you a chance to develop further your career. Also, volunteering can be a great way to experience something totally different and maybe even learn something new about yourself.


Who can participate in ALIVE?

All registered part time and full time students of NUI Galway including Distance Education, Access, Erasmus and Study Abroad students. Faculty and Staff are very welcome!


How can I become involved with ALIVE?

Register for the ALIVE e-newsletter here and have a browse through lots of different volunteering opportunities via our database here where you can read all about the opportunities and sign up to volunteer by "expressing your interest", complete your contact details and check your emails for updates! Come along to training or social events. Pop into the ALIVE office in the Hub, Áras na Mac Léinn and browse the volunteering database or meet up with the ALIVE student interns about student led projects you can get involved in!

What support can I expect as an ALIVE Volunteer?

As an ALIVE Volunteer you will be entitled to receive appropriate inductions and training and to receive regular support from the ALIVE team. If any volunteer is experiencing problems at any stage of the volunteering process, we are here to help in any way we can. See the specially designed guides to volunteering here.


When is the Student Volunteer Coordinator available and where is their office based?

The ALIVE office is based in The Hub, Áras na Mac Léinn. We can be contacted in a variety of ways should you want some help or advice. Contact the Student Volunteer Coordinator here.

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Volunteering


Is there a deadline to register for ALIVE?
Will I have to have an interview with the external organisation?
Do I need any training to be a good volunteer?
I've heard that I will have to get Garda Vetting. What's involved?
Will this process take a long time? What documents will I need to bring?
Can I still volunteer while the checks are being made?
But what happens if I'm really not happy with the volunteer opportunity I'm working on?
Do you have a list of opportunities that I can search through if I'm not sure what to do?
What happens if nothing takes my fancy but yet I still want to volunteer?


Is there a deadline to register for ALIVE?

Please register at any time, there is no deadline. The ALIVE Programme recognises the volunteering contribution that students make throughout the year, not just the academic year!


Will I have to have an interview with the community organisation?

In some cases yes - but this is mostly an informal chat. They just want to get to know you and see where your interests lie. Sometimes they might assign you a different task if you both decide that would be more beneficial.


Do I need any training to be a good volunteer?

Most voluntary organisations will provide the basic training required to carry out their work. Any specialist training (such as operating small pieces of equipment, codes of conduct etc) will be given to you by the organisation itself. It is their responsibility to look after you while you are volunteering with them. In addition, the ALIVE programme provides training and resources to help you. We'll also be holding some informal lunchtime chat sessions when volunteers can come along, eat some food and share experiences about volunteering! Check out the workshops for details.

I've heard that I will have to get Garda Vetting. What's involved?

Some external organisations we work with require volunteers to undergo reference checks or police checks in line with current legislation. This means that your criminal records are checked to ensure that you will be a suitable candidate for working with vulnerable people such as children and the elderly.


Will this process take a long time? What documents will I need to bring?

The organisation will inform you of the process. Police checks/Garda Vetting can take some time so where possible consider getting in touch with organisations ahead of the time you seek to start volunteering. A police check is carried out at no cost to the volunteer.


Can I still volunteer while the checks are being made?

In some circumstances organisations might want to ensure that your results are returned before you can volunteer with them, but you will be advised about this should this situation arise.


But what happens if I'm really not happy with the volunteer opportunity I'm working on?

If, for whatever reason, you become unhappy, are not enjoying the experience or suddenly find you no longer have the time to commit to it, you should communicate with the ALIVE team and/or the organisation. We are here for you at all times, so please just call in or send an e-mail and we can talk about it and work out what the best course of action should be.

Do you have a list of opportunities that I can search through if I'm not sure what to do?

Yes, we do! Although we will advertise a selection of volunteer opportunities once a week through emails, on our notice board in Aras na Mac Léinn or on this website, there are many more volunteer opportunities available. We have a small resource centre in the ALIVE office in The Hub, Áras na Mac Léinn, where you can come and sit and browse through. You can also search the online database of over 300 opportunities here.

What happens if nothing takes my fancy but yet I still want to volunteer?

In the event that we do not have something that you like then we can set an opportunity up for you or you can investigate further volunteering opportunities. If you know of an organisation or area that you want to work in, please let us know. We are always looking to expand the range of organisations we have on our database, so your input is vital to us. Also be sure to register with ALIVE anyway to receive regular emails about new opportunities as they arise. Students are encouraged and supported through the ALIVE Civic Engagement Fund to develop their own voluntary activities.

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International Volunteering

Does ALIVE have any information about international volunteering?

We do have lists of organisations that specialise in sending volunteers overseas so call in and chat to us if this interests you. We have also listed on this website things to consider when volunteering internationally such as what is involved and what you need to do before you pack your bags! See our dedicated resource which has tons of information on how to volunteer responsibly and help you find the right opportunity overseas here.

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ALIVE Certificate

Do employers recognise the ALIVE Certificate?

The ALIVE Certificate represents the volunteering, training and reflection undertaken by a student

Employers seek skilled, well rounded students. The ALIVE Certificate represents your commitment to something further than your studies. By volunteering on or off campus NUI Galway recognises the learning that can come from outside the classroom and so do future employers.

On your CV it is important to refer to the ALIVE Certificate as an achievement. The volunteering you committed yourself to and the training you received has been recognised by NUI Galway through the ALIVE Certificate.

Questions in the reflection section of the application represent questions that real world employers will ask in an interview. For example, what are the skills you have and demonstrate with an example of how you have used your skill?, When have you worked in a team?, etc. Not only can you draw on examples from NUI Galway but you can also draw on examples from volunteering. Employers seek employees with experience. Volunteering can offer a whole range of experiences that employers seek. Fundraising, raising awareness, retail experience, homework clubs, youth groups, etc. all illustrate different qualities of experience. Most importantly you have demonstrated experience of working with people and active communication skills.

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So how will I receive information about current volunteering opportunities?


All of our volunteers' details are stored on a database in our office (for our own use only) and from this a weekly mailing list is generated. We will send out a selection of volunteer opportunities to you all with an ‘opportunity of the week' highlighted. You can also view the latest volunteer placements from the website and read the latest news updates and events on our once-off Community Events Calendar. If you change your mind about wanting to volunteer, all you do is reply to the e-mail with the word ‘unsubscribe' in the title line and we will take you off the list. If you want to add your name to this mailing list go the botom of this page and simply register with ALIVE.

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If none of these answer your questions please send us an email or even pop down to us in the Hub for a chat!