Meet Robert Colanardi:
Robert Colanardi is a third year Software Engineer, minoring in Philosophy at U of G. Throughout his three years so far at the University, Robert has been involved in multiple different volunteering activities, from single-day Project Serve events, to team volunteering in SafeWalk. Robert talks to us about his experience as a general volunteer, and as a volunteer Team Leader, as well as what he thinks the impact of volunteering is, and his advice to others wanting to get involved.
How did you hear about Project Serve? Why did you decide to sign up for it?
“I heard about Project Serve in my first year through my RA and decided to volunteer to meet some new people and try something new.”
Which Project Serve(s) did you participate in? What was your experience like?
“I've done Project Serve days at the Guelph Food Bank, the Green Legacy, the Donkey Sanctuary and as part of the community cleanup. Every time my experience has been positive, it's a lot of fun getting to make new friends for the day and see the impact we have as a group on these organizations.”
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
“My favourite thing about volunteering is getting a chance to do something new or something I don't get to do often like being outside and working with plants or animals. For one-off events like Project Serve, it’s low commitment, and that aspect is appealing. I also volunteer with SafeWalk on campus and volunteering regularly as part of a team is also great because you get to see those people more and form deeper relationships.”
Why did you decide to volunteer as a Team Leader for Project Serve? What is your role as a Team Leader?
“I wanted to be a team leader to have the chance to take on some more responsibility in a new way, leading activities and trying to make sure everyone had a safe and fun time because I wanted everyone to enjoy volunteering as much as I always have.”
What is the impact of volunteering, in your opinion?
“The impact of volunteering is twofold, it's personal and we aid the organizations we volunteer with. At the Food Bank they told us we did in 3 hours what would have taken them a couple weeks, same with the Green Legacy and the Donkey Sanctuary, you can tell how much our help means to them from how appreciative they are. It's fantastic getting to know how much you truly are helping these parts of the community and it makes you feel proud to know that you're giving back.”
What's your advice for anyone looking to get involved in their community through volunteering?
“For anyone wanting to get involved with volunteering, my advice would just be to have fun and be fearless. You're choosing to volunteer so choose something new or something you might find scary, and you'll see how fun and rewarding it can be to go beyond what you're used to.”