Volunteer Center introduces “micro-volunteering”

Preet Kaur

Preet Kaur ’22 is a volunteer group leader with University of the Pacific’s Volunteer Center.

“What can you do with five minutes? Micro-volunteer!”

That is both the challenge and the name of a virtual presentation by Preet Kaur ’22 scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 16 through University of the Pacific’s Volunteer Center.

Kaur, a volunteer group leader, will show Pacific students what micro-volunteering is and how to incorporate it into their daily lives.

Micro-volunteering takes advantage of small time slots to give back to the community. Unlike classic volunteer models that require longer time commitments, micro-volunteering can be done a five-minute contribution.

Kaur encourages Pacific students to try micro-volunteering. “You can volunteer and get a feel for what you want to do. (Graduate) programs look for people who are volunteering in these areas, so it impacts both communities and your program applications,” Kaur said.

The Volunteer Center recently updated its opportunities list to offer virtual micro-volunteering. Find out more about these volunteering opportunities at What can you do with 5 Minutes? Microvolunteer! Sign up at

“At home, 15 minutes or five minutes adds up,” said Marylou Bagus-Hansen, assistant director of the Pacific Volunteer Center.

Without the usual live volunteering opportunities and with added scheduling challenges due to the pandemic, micro-volunteering has helped students continue connecting with their communities.

“As students at home, we lack the student environment, the school and community environment. Micro-volunteering lets you work as a group. It creates a community of students that work together to accomplish a similar goal. It’s just fun!” Kaur said.

Micro-volunteering also keeps community members from feeling isolated.

Current micro-volunteer needs include writing letters to workers and residents in Plymouth Square Retirement Center in Stockton, as well as to Hospice workers. Bagus-Hansen said students are trying to help residents “combat feelings of isolation. It doesn’t take long to write a letter. Tell them about yourself or a joke you heard. Brighten their day.”

San Jose’s Hearts and Mind Activity Center, a care center for people with brain injuries, has digitized its music therapy program and is looking for students to perform over Zoom for residents.

The Smithsonian is utilizing micro-volunteers to edit and verify transcripts of original documents. Feel like digging further into a project? Sign up to transcribe one of the original documents through the Volunteer Center.

The center has other upcoming events:

·       The nonprofit spotlight on Oct. 21 will feature the Little Manila Dance Collective, celebrating Filipino American History Month.

·       Create to Donate on Nov. 6 follows a virtual tour of Boggs Tract Farm and a presentation on how to support the farm.

Also check out upcoming Volunteer Center events on Instagram: @pacificvolunteercenter