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New App Encourages Students to Volunteer

By MOLLY HOLT

Staff Writer

(TEANECK) – In the digital age, college students are constantly bombarded by new apps every day, used for entertainment, health, finances, social networking and so much more. However, it is not often that students are presented with an app aimed at helping them volunteer.

Givety is a new app developed to help students gain access to a variety of volunteer opportunities and to turn volunteering into a social activity.

The app was developed by Tracey Schuster, a mother who was looking for a way to make volunteering more than just a requirement for students like her daughter. She wanted to find a way to make volunteering seem more appealing to students, and she decided the way to do that was to make it a social activity.

“I thought, how can we engage kids that are socially minded and want out hang out with their friends as much as possible? There’s no reason those things should be separated,” Schuster said, “So, I set out to redefine community service for a generation of mobile users, turning it into a social experience and making it more than a chore to check off.”

 

Givety allows users to make a profile and select which high school or university they belong to. FDU students from both the Metro and Florham campuses can sign up to be a part of the FDU community group. Students can then see a list of volunteer opportunities at FDU or in the area and which of their classmates have signed up to volunteer at the event. The pages are not open to the public, so only the FDU community can see who is attending these events. This way, a student can know he or she will not be the only person there.

Student organizations, school administrators and approved non-pro t organizations can post opportunities to the school page. Givety allows school events such as fundraisers, blood drives, can collections, and other events to be listed in an organized manner. Schuster said that it helps eliminate the problem of flyers getting buried on bulletin boards.

Students can join the event through the app in order to alert their classmates that they will be attending, however, at this time, students cannot sign up with the hosting organization through the app. They must contact them separately, but the contact information for the organizations are on the postings.

 

Givety also has an electronic time tracker to help log volunteer hours. Schuster said she always hears students saying that they lost their paper logs and hopes that this electronic log will help eliminate that problem. Students start the timer by taking a picture of themselves when they arrive at their event and end the timer by taking a picture when they leave. The log is then saved in the reports section of the app.

The app is still in what Schuster calls a “piloting program,” but it is available to download for free for both Apple and Android products. She is experimenting to see how different age groups of students use the app, and hopes it will grow and promote competition between schools to see which students volunteer more.

Schuster wants the app to be focused on what the students want in order for it to best serve their needs.

“I really want to encourage people to give me feedback,” Schuster said.

Any students looking to share their ideas about how the app can better suit their needs can contact her at 646- 372-5486.

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