Volunteering at Wake Forest and beyond

A guide to taking advantage of Wake Forest’s many opportunities to get involved and help people


©WFU/Ken Bennett

Wake N’ Shake, an annual event to raise money for cancer research, is always a big hit among Wake Forest students.

Connor McNeely, Opinion Editor

Although in recent years Wake Forest University has improved its efforts to uplift the Winston-Salem community, there is still work to do to address issues like income inequality, racism, the fight against cancer and climate change, to say nothing of the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on struggling residents.

Luckily, Wake Forest University has made considerable strides in developing volunteer and charitable organizations — the most notable being the Office of Civic and Community Engagement. We have ties through this office to organizations within the Winston-Salem community that have been highly successful in their efforts to alleviate poverty and give meaningful support. Volunteering is one of the most important aspects of student life at Wake Forest University, and getting involved is an easy process.

One great place to start is to get involved with most Wake Forest charity events. There are two major events that happen every year, Hit the Bricks, a running event, and Wake N’ Shake, a dancing event  — both of which receive campus-wide turnouts and support cancer research.

For Greek Life, a major beneficiary of fundraising has been the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem. The organization provides a location for families to stay while their children are receiving medical treatment down the road at the Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center and the Brenner Children’s Hospital.

There are also many clubs and service fraternities that engage in both domestic and international missions. APO (Alpha Phi Omega) continues to be a force for positive change in the Winston-Salem community, as members are committed to at least 25 hours of community service at locations like the Forsyth Animal Shelter and the Campus Garden. The International Justice Mission (IJM) has established a chapter at Wake Forest and its members have been organizing fundraisers to help fight modern-day slavery.

Wake Forest University has given you the tools to fight for justice and to give aid to the mission you are most passionate about. Whether you would like to help protect our natural resources by residing in the University’s sustainable housing, or if you desire to share the knowledge your $80,000 education has taught you with students who haven’t been given a chance in neglected public schools, you will have the opportunity to do so.

The research skills and educational power you hold will also help you locate outside opportunities to make a difference. There are some organizations doing great work, like the Triad Abolition Project, which is fighting for racial justice.

Our motto “Pro Humanitate” will only take a serious meaning when you make volunteering one of the pillars of your college career. Opportunities like the ones offered at Wake Forest will only lead to a vast enriching of the social, professional and internal aspects of your life. I encourage you all to use your power to improve the world around you.