Speed-dating for a cause

How UTS is helping students and community organisations find each other

Students at a Perfect Match eventMany UTS students are eager to volunteer their time towards a worthy cause, but how does one go about choosing one? There are so many organisations, so much to learn, and so little time. That’s where UTS Careers and Shopfront come in with their new initiative – Perfect Match.

A nod to one of Australia’s classic dating shows of the ‘80s, Perfect Match is a networking day for students and not-for-profit organisations. 100 students are split into groups, cycling between 12 different organisations in eight-minute session. During each session, the organisations explain their cause while the students ask anything that will help them decide who they’d like to be involved with – a little like speed-dating.

Perfect Match lets students choose their own path based on their own interests and their interactions with each organisation. As many as 300 volunteer roles can be created at a single event, with many students signing up for two or more organisations.

“For so many community based organisations who use volunteers, it’s difficult to know where to go to engage with people who have time and resources to volunteer,” explains Scott from Shine For Kids. “[Perfect Match] has provided me with the opportunity to speak with so many people, which might otherwise have been weeks of work.”

"It’s a great opportunity to collaborate across the UTS programs and to meaningfully support students to become aware of and involved in a great diversity of civil society organisations.”

“It’s been such a great opportunity to meet with such a diverse group of organisations,” says social inquiry/law student Ruby Wawn. “It’s given me the opportunity to think about issues that I’ve not even considered before, and put my skills into action.”

“We are delighted by the effectiveness of Perfect Match. It’s a great opportunity to collaborate across the UTS programs and to meaningfully support students to become aware of and involved in a great diversity of civil society organisations,” says Acting Program Manager at UTS Shopfront, Claire Pettigrew.

Perfect Match began as a collaboration between UTS Careers Service, the NSW Centre for Volunteering, the BUiLD leadership program, the law faculty’s Brennan Justice and Leadership Program and Shopfront’s UTS:SOUL Award. It counts Lifeline, The Smith Family and the Wilderness Society among its partners.

Story and photography by Kevin Cheung