Using Leadership Skills to Make a Difference in Your Community: How College Students Can Give Back


We often focus on telling college students how much developing leadership skills will benefit them. And we stand behind this statement. Learning to lead while in college will help you find better jobs, move up faster within an organization, and guide your peers with poise and professionalism. However, you are not the only one who can benefit from your leadership skills. You can also use your leadership skills, even as they’re still developing, to benefit your community.

NSCS members are encouraged to give back. In fact, “Service,” is one of our Three Pillars. When we use the term “Service,” we are referring to acts that better the community, and those that improve the lives of others. Whether you are an NSCS member or are still deciding whether to join, here are some ways that you can use your leadership skills to serve others.

Volunteer at a Community Event

Are there any charity walks, runs, or festivals coming up in your area? Gather a few friends, and reach out to the organization that is running the event. Ask if they could use your help. You and your friends could help pass out snacks to participants, hand out and gather paperwork, or even spread awareness of the event on social media. If you let the organizers know that you want to lead and are capable of doing so, they will often be glad to give you more responsibility. So many of these events are short on volunteers and will grateful for volunteers who can lead.

Organize a Clothes Drive

Instead of participating in an event that already exists, consider organizing your own. A clothing drive is a relatively easy event to organize, and it can make a huge difference in the lives of those who receive the clothing. You could set up boxes at your school and throughout the community and ask community members to put their extra clothing items in those boxes. Or, you could ask participants to leave their clothing in bags on their porch, and you can send volunteers to pick up the donations. Donate the clothing to your local homeless shelter, women’s shelter, or refugee assistance group.

Organize a Charity Walk

There are several organizations that encourage community members to organize their own group walks and fundraisers. You could collaborate with the Red Cross, Relay for Life, or a similar organization to host a charity walk around your campus. Ask participants to collect donations. You could also sell refreshments and t-shirts to raise additional funds. There’s a lot of leadership required here. Someone needs to assign jobs to each participant, communicate with the lead organization, and map out the route.

Set Up a Tutoring Program

Do you like to share your knowledge with others? Consider setting up a tutoring program for middle school and high school students in your community. You could assign each interested student a tutor who is majoring in the subject the student needs the most help in. Meet the students on campus or at a public library. Generally, you will want to coordinate with a local school to set up this sort of program. They may even let your tutors meet with students at their school.

When you start to notice yourself becoming a better leader, it is time to put those skills to use. Consider the ideas above, and give back to your community. We’re all a part of the communities we live in, and it’s our responsibility to improve them. To connect with other students who share this mentality, join NSCS. We welcome leaders and future leaders!

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