Setting up a student volunteer program under RMIT LEAD
What is RMIT LEAD?
RMIT LEAD is an over-arching administrative arrangement within the university’s Student Services to provide accreditation for student volunteer programs. It also provides formal recognition of the valuable contribution that participating students make to their own development and to the quality of student life across RMIT.
The word LEAD stands for Learn, Engage, Aspire, Develop. It reflects the values of the university by fostering co-curricular learning opportunities that enable students to:
- make a difference to individuals and communities
- feel connected to the RMIT community
- explore, test and fulfil their potential
- become creative, skilled, highly employable and purposeful graduates.
Volunteering plays an important role in our society, developing personal skills and making a contribution to the community. RMIT University has a long history of volunteer service by students contributing to the quality of student life within the university community while gaining the practical experience that employers look for in job candidates, in addition to good academic results.
The range of volunteer activities currently accredited under RMIT LEAD is indicated in LEAD accredited Volunteering opportunities at RMIT University.Back to top
How do I get a program accredited?
Accreditation requires the fulfilment of a series of steps and standards. RMIT LEAD-accredited programs must be conducted under the leadership and coordination of a person designated as program Champion. In the case of a volunteer academic peer-mentoring program, for example, the Champion would be a staff member associated with the academic discipline in which the mentoring takes place.
RMIT LEAD-accredited volunteer programs must involve a period of training for student participants (a minimum of five hours), and structured and defined activities in which the students are engaged (a minimum 15 hours). Student participants who fulfil these requirements are eligible to receive an RMIT LEAD certificate listing the accredited program/s they completed that year and signed by the Vice-Chancellor, together with a transcript entry acknowledging their volunteering contribution to student life and leadership at the university. A statement accompanying the certificate outlines the role/s the student undertook in the program/s and the skills gained from participation
RMIT LEAD does not provide this recognition for:
- student activities that are for credit within academic courses, or
- programs in which the student receives payment, i.e. the program is not a volunteer one.
It is important for a potential Champion to work through the following steps with RMIT LEAD to ensure that:
- the program will have good quality learning and personal development outcomes for the student volunteers
- will provide value for the students receiving the service/s the program aims to deliver (mentoring, sports team management, student representation on committees, providing information on university facilities, etc)
- will be sustainable.
What steps do I need to take?
The main steps in the process of accreditation and implementation of a student volunteer program include:
1. identifying the need for the proposed program and support from management
2. scoping out how the program will operate
3. working through the proposal with the relevant accreditation arm of RMIT LEAD
4. reaching agreement and sign-off on accreditation
5. implementing the new program
6. participating in periodic Champion network meetings
7. informing RMIT LEAD of any substantial changes (e.g. program title, Champion replacement, program cessation)
8. providing data for end of year recognition of eligible students
9. celebrating students’ contribution to RMIT student life
10. evaluating the program’s effectiveness and making any necessary improvements
11. participating in a biennial review of accreditation with RMIT LEAD.Back to top
How do I start?Back to top
What will be my role as Champion?
An RMIT staff member or student (e.g. in the case of a student association) can become a Champion for a student volunteer program. The Champion should be committed to coordinating the program for at least one cycle (either a semester or a year).
In an RMIT LEAD-accredited student volunteer program, the Champion is the coordinator who takes responsibility for a number of aspects of the program’s operation. An outline of the Champion’s responsibilities for development and coordination of the program and management of the student volunteers is given in the RMIT LEAD role of Champion.
It is important for RMIT LEAD to be kept informed of any changes to the volunteer program for contact purposes and for information on the web. Please send the RMIT LEAD changes to program advice form to firstname.lastname@example.org with any changes.Back to top
What support can I get?
The Champion is a key factor in the success of a student volunteer program. RMIT LEAD staff can assist you as Champion with program development, ongoing consultation in the growth of your program and opportunities to connect with other Champions through network meetings.
Some examples of formats for use in setting up and running your program are given in the attachments:
- RMIT LEAD about volunteering
- RMIT LEAD writing role descriptions
- RMIT LEAD code of conduct
- RMIT LEAD activity record
- RMIT LEAD evaluation questions
For further information
Student Leadership Officer
Career Development & Employment
Tel. +61 3 9925 4199