Volunteer Program

The idea on starting the Volunteer Program has been simmering in us for many years, since we have always believed that the system of values an individual should possess can and should be developed through the educational system. Universities, along with the teaching and research program, should also base their activity on interaction with the community and on the obligation to develop social responsibility in students, who will work proactively so as to contribute to the development of personal skills, reach decisions more responsibly, respond to challenges in the society and better prepare themselves for the labour market. Faculties often believe that many aspects of social responsibility are a matter of personal choice, and not a shared responsibility of professors, institution and students, which we are striving to change with this program. American universities, on the other hand, encourage students to volunteer in all possible ways, allowing them, through efficient collaboration with local authorities and the business sector, to be involved in socially responsible activities in their communities. Unlike the American students, where more than 50% of students are involved in volunteering activities, (which is valued as a significant advantage in employment by the business sector), Croatian students still do not understand how volunteering can help them develop their knowledge and skills, and that by focusing on the community in which they live, learn and work, beside helping the community itself, they are investing in their own future.
The Volunteer Program of the Graduate Program in Entrepreneurship (VpsP) was launched in early 2009, with the aim to raise awareness about the significance and importance of volunteering in students, for whom we believe that with their active involvement can change their own perception on social responsibility, which they will carry and nurture throughout their entire business careers and lives. The principal activity of the VPSP is involvement of students in various volunteering activities (on the basis of which they will receive a certain number of points during studying), educating students on the importance of volunteering, and continuous promotion of programs and importance of volunteering. All of these activities take place in collaboration with Volunteer Centre Osijek, Centre for Entrepreneurship in Osijek and other non-profit associations (with which preliminary talks on cooperation have been conducted) in the area of city of Osijek.
Within our program we have designed several projects, among which we are especially proud of projects “Contribution to the community” and “Big Brother/Big Sister”. The “Contribution to the community” project is designed as a mandatory part of the Entrepreneurship Skills I course at undergraduate study in Entrepreneurship, without which students cannot get their final grades. With this project we strive to train students to recognize the needs and opportunities for personal engagement in solving problems in the environment, and raise awareness that there is always space for socially responsible activities in allocation of personal time. Within the project, students have the obligation to find an association / institution, actively participate in its work for 15 hours, and write a short report on how that engagement has contributed to development of their own skills and changed their perception on involvement in socially useful work. The “Big Brother/Big Sister” project is designed in collaboration with Children’s Home Klasje in Osijek. Within this project, 10 students from the Faculty of Economics in Osijek help children of different ages in everyday school activities and building socialization (going to the movies, walks, playing and socializing with children, etc.).

By encouraging volunteer work, VpsP wants to help students to obtain experience in solving problems in the real world, and teach them to recognize opportunities and be proactive, which are important components of entrepreneurial behaviour of every individual.