For University of Tasmania student Kodi Rainbow, the most valuable thing she can give is her time.
Ms Rainbow has been volunteering as part of UTAS’ students in schools program for the past three years, and has helped guide rural students towards higher education pathways as a result.
Students in schools is a program run by UTAS, with university students inserted into rural high schools, to meet with grade 9 and 10 students to break down barriers associated with higher education.
“I never really thought about volunteering, I kind of fell into it, but I found a passion for it and am still here three years later,” Ms Rainbow said.
This week is National Student Volunteer Week and UTAS’ student volunteers were celebrated at a morning tea at the Newnham campus on Thursday.
Ms Rainbow is studying a Bachelor of Education and said being part of the students in schools program had given her invaluable experience.
“It has given me a wide perspective on the variety of roles in the education industry,” she said.
The most valuable part of the program, however, is how it is informal.
“You go into the schools as a friend, not a teacher, it’s very informal, but we get to talk to them [the students] about higher education and how they might follow that pathway if they want to.”
Ms Rainbow said volunteer work was very rewarding because it was a way she could help change the future trajectory of a student’s education career.
“A lot of the students we meet don’t know much about UTAS or they might not have ever thought about going to university, but we can break down those barriers for them and show them they can,” she said.