Voluntarism is the principle that individuals should be free to choose their own goals and how to achieve them within the bounds of certain societal and cultural constraints, as opposed to being coerced into achieving other peoples’ goals. Fundamentally, people should be free to do good without any authority forcing us.
Our Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the University of South Alabama decided to focus on voluntarism throughout this semester by hosting a series of small service projects. We began with a clothing drive for our local Penelope House whose mission is “to provide safety, protection, and support to the victims of domestic violence and their children through the provision shelter, advocacy, and individual and community education.” We reached out to faculty and other student groups and collected the items based on the need supply list for about three weeks. Our greek organizations were especially helpful in this project with one of our sororities, Phi Mu, donating an entire box of clothes.
The next project we began was repurposing activism materials we were not able to use, around two hundred scarves, and donating them to our local Goodwill Easter Seals. The group agreed to give the scarves away to those in need. Most recently, a few of our members began collecting recyclables from around campus to help support a new center installed not far from our school.
These small acts were not required by any means, but seemed to be a big hit among our students. That gives me hope that if a group of college students who have little to no time or money are willingly donating their time and resources, others will follow. Our chapter will continue our service projects throughout the rest of the semester, specifically gearing the next few towards our local veterans of foreign wars, disabled veterans, and active duty military personnel, all tying into our big activism event, Bring Them Home: Support the Troops. End the Wars.