Connecting, volunteering through innovative technology

From left, Patrick Brennan, Alexis Esposito, Jane Sanchez, Esther Folaranm and John Modica. Alexis Esposito Jane Sanchez Esther Folaranmi John Modica

By Gianluca D’Elia
Community service efforts at Rider will now be made easier with a unique, up-and-coming social media platform called GiveGab. Both a website and a mobile application, GiveGab is designed to alert students about volunteer opportunities in their area.
According to community service coordinator Jane Sanchez, Rider did not previously have a platform for students to find opportunities on their own.
“People had to contact non-profits themselves if they wanted to do community service,” Sanchez said. “GiveGab will provide us with a great way to connect interested volunteers with partners in the community, and it gives us a place to keep track of all the programs we offer.”
Rider is registered as a “community” on GiveGab. Student leaders can create a group within the Rider University community page for their own organizations. This will allow them to better organize their members, keep track of service hours, and share information about upcoming opportunities for volunteer work. One of the useful features of GiveGab is that users can log the amount of service hours they have completed. If those individuals are part of the Rider community on GiveGab, their hours will count towards the total amount of service hours Rider University has completed altogether.
Since GiveGab alerts users about service projects near their location, students can participate in projects off campus. Rider students will also be able to engage in volunteer opportunities with nearby organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Homefront and El Centro of Catholic Charities in Trenton.
Freshman business and education major Alexis Esposito has been using GiveGab actively to share information about a service project she is working on with the Saint Bernard’s Project to rebuild houses for residents of Jersey shore towns who lack the financial means to rebuild on their own.
“GiveGab has allowed me to reach out to more people,” Esposito said. “I can connect with individuals that might not have volunteered prior to making a GiveGab account.” Through GiveGab, Esposito set up her own page, on which she posted pictures from previous rebuilding events and gained seven new volunteers for a trip to Sea Bright, N.J., next month.
Over 25 organizations and clubs at Rider have already registered with the community. Bre’Quan Simon, a junior marketing major and community service intern, has been presenting seminars to student leaders so they can start using the app.
“GiveGab has both a volunteer component and a social media presence that students will really like,” said Simon.
Students can more easily volunteer at events that they feel strongly about on a more consistent basis.
“Our office has traditionally sponsored large monthly service events,” said Sanchez. “Now students can find local service projects based on the interests they include on their GiveGab profiles. That’s our main goal. Service truly makes an impact when students feel passionate. Once you find whatever it is that you truly love and believe in, that’s when you push yourself to make an impact.”

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