LIVE at Concordia

University to Recognize Volunteer Work for First Time

Valerie Millette is spearheading the Live Concordia initiative. Photo Christopher Curtis

Ten years ago, Valerie Millette began volunteering for Meals on Wheels.

“I’d like to say I woke up one day and decided to save the world,” said Millette. “But that’s just not the truth.”

Millette was looking to gain experience and for something to put on her CV. Somewhere along the way, she made a career out of it.

In 2008, Millette along with Concordia’s Dean of Students office, various student groups and university staff, along with the support of University President Judith Woodsworth, founded the Concordia University Volunteer Initiative Committee.

“The initiative was a way to promote volunteering and recognize what was happening,” said Millette. “We also wanted to recognize volunteers through the Volunteer Recognition Awards.”

On June 1, the group’s collective efforts paved the way for Live Concordia, a bonanza of volunteering information and opportunities headed by Millette and a team of student volunteers.

“There are hundreds if not thousands of student volunteers at Concordia,”
—Jasmine Stuart,
Co-curricular program director.

“I just want to show them the diversity of volunteering opportunities at Concordia, in Montreal and abroad,” she said.

As of this year, students looking to volunteer through Concordia can expect a leg up from the university. Concordia is the first university in Quebec to recognize the work of student volunteers. Through the co-curricular record, students will have an official document describing the activities they participated in throughout their university careers.

“There are hundreds if not thousands of student volunteers at Concordia,” said Jasmine Stuart, the co-curricular program director. “They all contribute to a vibrant life on campus and they are all learning something outside the classroom that needs to be recognized.”

Most American universities have a similar program and some even award credits for the student volunteers. Seven other Canadian universities have implemented some form of the co-curricular record.

Live Concordia is still awaiting the influx of students that will arrive in September. In the meantime, volunteers will help expand the initiative’s resources. This summer, Vanessa Bohla has been making pamphlets for community centres that don’t have the means to publish them.

“When you get a thank you from community organizers, it just feels great,” said Bohla.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 03, published August 31, 2010.