You have the power to make a difference

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With National Make a Difference Day around the corner on October 28, the idea of getting involved on campus and within the community has understandably been on many people’s  minds. As a student, likely on a strict budget, it can sometimes feel as though you’re limited in terms of what you can do to encourage change. Here are some ideas that prove otherwise:

Voice your opinions

While you may not find yourself on a podium giving a speech to a large audience, you shouldn’t underestimate the power you hold in voicing your opinion. If you have something to say, people will take notice, especially if you’re passionate about your cause. Support those who are moving toward the change you wish to see in the world and explain why you disagree with others. Our society thrives when there is a marketplace of ideas and your views should count.

Moreover, we live in the age of social media where your audience can exist on a global scale. In this way you can learn from others and encourage change in areas you haven’t even set foot in.  

Find your strength in numbers

If addressing an audience of any size gives you anxiety, consider encouraging change with a group of people who are also working toward the same goal. It’s comforting knowing that you have the support of others, particularly when broaching a controversial topic. Find a group of people to rally with. Your friends are often a likely source, but don’t be afraid to seek out alternative groups among your peers.

Consider joining a club or organization

Another bonus of joining an organization is that resources are able to be pooled which can lead to a greater overall impact. Identify causes that you would like to contribute to and then join a network of people who are working toward the same goal. You might find these groups in the form of clubs, organizations, nonprofits and religious entities. Check out NSU’s Orgsync platform, perform a Google search or talk with those around you to find the organizations that are right for you.

Can’t secure the bag? Donate your coins

There are times when there’s a cause you wish to contribute to, but your budget just won’t allow. As college students, odds are that you won’t be able to donate large sums of money but a little forward planning can go a long way. You can decide to create a saving stash just for charitable giving or pay into a cause on a regular basis through installments; it’s all about doing what works best for you.

Small acts of kindness are still appreciated

I have never met a single person who was upset with me for holding a door open, giving up my seat on public transportation or returning a dropped item to them. Even if you decide not to rally with an organization or speak out on social media, you can still make a difference in someone’s day for the better by performing a random act of kindness.

 

How my little brother helped my cause

I identify with college students who don’t have money in their budgets to give a grandiose donation, but still wish to contribute to a cause financially. My solution came a few years ago after helping my little brother exchange his piggy bank money. He wanted to trade in his coins for dollar bills at the bank, so I took him to the Dollar Store where we bought coin roll wrappers and got to work separating his monies.

After realizing how much money he was able to save, granted this was over a span of years, I had the idea of saving my own change for one year to partially fund my charitable giving. I figured that while I would probably make smaller contributions throughout the year, the extra money that I did manage to save would come in handy for donations I typically made around Christmas, like filling Operation Christmas Child boxes.

So, the next year, beginning in January, at the end of each week, I collected all of my saved and found change and placed it into a cardboard box. Then, in December, I got my box out, rolled my coins and changed them at my bank for free, instead of using those Coinstar machines that retain a percentage. That first year, I was able to leave the bank with over $100 for charity that didn’t even dip into my monthly budget.

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