With the intention of discussing volunteering opportunities of university students, Youth and Volunteerism Summit composed of panel, workshop and NGO fair was realized on the 6th of May 2014 in Istanbul Aydin University Florya Campus.
International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC) in cooperation with United Nations Volunteers ( UNV) , Istanbul Aydin University ( IAU) and Eurasian Universities Union ( EURAS) organized an all-day event that aimed to evaluate the experiences and expectations of university students about volunteerism.
In the morning session, journalist Isin ELICIN presented and moderated the panel in which NGO representatives and young volunteers participated as speakers. After the opening speeches of Yadigar Izmirli, the Rector of the IAU and Ai Watanabe, UNV Representative, a survey on volunteerism perception among IAU students was presented by Z. Banu Dalaman , the President of the IAU Turkey’s Surveys Center and the Coordinator of the survey. It was stated that university students do not have accurate information about volunteering opportunities and NGOs, underlining the need to integrate social responsibility courses for increasing the awareness about this field.
Cem ARSLAN, UNV, declared that volunteerism could overcome prejudices and ensure social peace while emphasizing that young people are more ambitious and active for the initiation. Arslan also invited young people to do volunteerism indicating that volunteerism means taking the side of solution. Timur TIRYAKI, career coach and one of the founding members of SOGLA, called attention to the contributions of social awareness and volunteerism in terms of individual happiness and social values as well as positive attitudes in business life. He acknowledged that volunteerism as a way of life is the key of lifetime happiness.
After the keynote speeches , panel part was realized with the participation of Burcu MOREL from UNV Turkey, Caglar KARAKIS, Field Manager of Community Volunteers Foundation, Emirhan ASLAN Specialist from Ministry of EU Affairs- Turkish National Agency- Erasmus+ Youth Mobility Unit, Yasar TEMIZ from K.O.Y. Project and finalist of Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneurs, PhD, Ali Ercan Ozgur , General Secretary of Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey, and Gulbahar Kadak, the vice president of IAU Social Responsibility Club. In the light of panel discussion, different views on volunteerism perception, bureaucratic procedures for establishing student clubs and inadequacy of social responsibility academic advisors to orientate and encourage university students were declared. As a result of the questions from the audience, it has been declared that academic staff should encourage the participation of their students in such conferences which were considered to be quite worthwhile to promote volunteerism.
During the workshop in the afternoon session, students and social responsibility department representatives from Giresun University, Amasya University, Eskisehir Anadolu University, Gaziantep University, Gazi University, Dokuz Eylul University, Uludag University, Istanbul Aydin University and Sabanci University discussed the ways that NGOs , academic units and university students can follow in order to encourage more university students to do volunteering activities. A recommendation list was prepared as an outcome of the workshop.
As a component of the summit , Turkish Red Crescent, Community Volunteers, Hope Foundation for Children with Cancer, The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitat, International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation , Turkish National Agency and UNV had their stands for presentation and volunteer seeking activities.
Outputs of the summit will be announced in the coming months along with the academic publication of EURAS in collaboration with IBC.