Are you a student who wants to get involved in animal welfare but not sure where to start? Here are five resources I wish I knew about as a student.
Students who study full-time, or have demanding schedules, may find volunteering with an organization the best way to start getting involved in animal welfare.
Getting involved in animal welfare can take many shapes and forms. As a student, you have an opportunity to explore different sectors of animal welfare and carve the pathway best suited for your interests, skills, and passion. Below are a few useful tips to help you get involved (or more involved) in animal welfare:
1. Join or Create a Student Organization
Whether you’re in high school or college, joining an animal welfare club is a great way to meet like-minded advocates and share your passion! Many universities have a student organization directory that can help you find an animal welfare club. If your school doesn’t have one, you can start your own! Check with your Student Life or Student Affairs office for more detailed information pertaining to your school.
2. Attend a Regional Animal Welfare Conference or Festival
National and state-wide animal welfare conferences and festivals are held across the country. There are often student discounts for admission and they’re a great networking opportunity! For example, Taking Action for Animals and The Animal Law Conference occur every year. Your state or nearby city may also hold a “Veg Fest” or other similar festivals.
3. Internships with Animal Welfare Organizations
If you’re looking to gain first-hand experience, consider applying for internships with animal welfare organizations. If you’re looking to get involved in an animal shelter, they may offer internships as well. Internships are an invaluable opportunity to meet staff members, learn from their experience, and work on projects that are tailored to your interests. And, more and more, internships are available with hourly or stipend pay. You’ll be making a big impact on the organization’s mission! You can use search engines, such as Idealist, or search the organization’s employment or careers pages directly to find open internships. Many organizations, including ASPCA and Mercy for Animals, offer paid internships in different departments.
4. Consider a Degree with an Animal-Welfare Focus
If you are exploring bachelor’s or graduate-level degrees, many universities offer programs with animal welfare or human-animal bond focuses. Canisius College, for example, offers an M.S. in Anthrozoology, and Michigan State University offers a Ph.D. in Animal Studies. The Animals & Society Institute provides a list of degree programs (including undergraduate minors and law school programs), some of which may be offered at your institution!
5. Volunteer with an Animal Welfare Organization
Many organizations offer a variety of volunteer opportunities. Whether you are interested in writing, research, advocacy work, helping with an event, or getting involved with an animal shelter, there are volunteer opportunities that best fit your interests and schedule. Students who study full-time, or have demanding schedules, may find volunteering with an organization the best way to start getting involved in animal welfare.
In fact, World Animal Protection is excited to announce an upcoming volunteer opportunity geared toward college students. You can sign up here and stay tuned for exciting updates!