“Volunteering is a selfless service which mostly comes without financial gain. However, it is an avenue for building career opportunities.”
These were the words of Dr Ogunsemore as he graced the podium at Jelili Omotola Multi-Purpose Hall, University of Lagos (UNILAG), to deliver the opening address to an audience of student volunteers on Monday, March 7, 2022.
As the host university, UNILAG student volunteers have received the necessary orientation in a bid to prepare for the 26th edition of the Nigerian University Games Association competition (#NUGA2022) which will run from March 16 to 27, 2022.
Dr Ogunsemore of the Department of Human Kinetics, UNILAG, has given his admonition to student volunteers who will be taking part in various activities.
“Volunteering is not officiating, but a way to ease administration of the game. The university cannot afford to pay technical officials across different departments, hence, the need for young vibrant individuals like yourselves,” he said.
“You are giving back to the society that is continually building you. It is a community service where you get to offer your skills in areas where your service is needed. Currently, there are volunteers in Ukraine, rendering various humanitarian services to victims of the Russian conflicts.”
He said the student volunteers have done a great job by indicating interest as this will help UNILAG reduce the cost originating from technical officials and allow it to focus on sports facilities, coaches’ allowances, medical allowances and other expenses that will contribute to the success of the programs.
Speaking on how volunteers will benefit from the experience, he said: “You stand to gain confidence in trying something new and to meet people and integrate with others of diverse cultures.”
“About 75 universities across Nigeria are coming into UNILAG, you will meet sports officials who have gained ground in the field and you will learn new skills in technology, take on new challenges in the ceremonial activities of the game and also be taught the act of security intelligence,” he asserted.
He then charged volunteers to be civil and to watch their manner of approaches to people as they [the volunteers] will be the cynosure of eyes for UNILAG.
“You have to be on your best behaviour. Counterproductive actions like violence or theft will not be accepted.”
He ended by wishing student volunteers a memorable experience at the games.
The Success Of An Event Starts With The Media
Speaking on media coverage, Dr Suraj of the UNILAG Department of Mass Communication engaged volunteers on mass media communication.
He implored volunteers for the Media and Publicity Team to focus on source credibility. “The information you are putting out there must be real, genuine and factual.”
For #NUGA2022, he charged the team to try to inform and not misinform or disinform. “As you write or post, your job is to inform, educate and entertain.”
He emboldened the team to be timely with their reports, and to be accurate. “Report clearly, what is happening, where it is happening. You must be purposeful in your writing. Know your beat and don’t be a jack of all trades.”
“In all, it is your responsibility. It is your game, play it,” he expressed excitedly.
The Acting Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Musa A. Obalola, remarked that NUGA was last hosted by UNILAG in 1998, “So, it is a privilege again to host it in 2022.”
He also made it clear that representatives from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) who visited him the previous week have made it a mandate for every #NUGA2022 participant—whether athlete, volunteer, official, etc— to be vaccinated before the commencement of the events on March 16. “Anyone who is not vaccinated can not and will not be a part of #NUGA2022,” he warned.
The Acting DSA also revealed that athletes will be accommodated in the just-completed hostel, El Kanemi Hall, while volunteers will be placed across other halls on campus. This has been made possible following the directive from UNILAG Management to students to vacate the hostels effective on or before Friday, March 4, and return on Sunday, April 3, 2022, leaving only student volunteers on campus.
The Volunteer Coordinator for #NUGA2022, Adebayo Olatunde reassured volunteers that accommodation and feeding will be provided, as well as other benefits. He said all volunteers will be certified provided that they participate for at least 7 days in the 10-day event. He then encouraged volunteers to partake in humanitarian endeavours and project themselves to be open to more opportunities.
Photo Description: Cross-section of the Media and Publicity Team, #NUGA2022
Photo Credit: Abdulafeez Olaitan
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