Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2010


A significant amount of research has been conducted on volunteerism in America. The majority of this research, however, can be characterized as comparing gender differences between men and women, grouping men and women as one representative group, or neglecting college students all together and focusing on adult volunteers. Given the benefits of volunteerism, the lack of involvement among college men, and the increasing need for volunteers in non-profit and civic organizations, this study documented reasons for the lack of volunteerism among first-year undergraduate men at a mid-sized research university in the northeast. Qualitative in nature, several themes appeared through a series of in-depth interviews indicating first-year men’s lack of motivation toward volunteering, perceived time and fun of volunteer activities, and unawareness of volunteer opportunities. There was also evidence that suggested men identify volunteering as emasculating or damaging to one’s social status. Taking into account themes that indicated a reason for the lack of volunteerism among men, suggestions on how to improve volunteer rates included utilizing skills and interests that first-year men already possess, making volunteer opportunities flexible, encouraging men to volunteer through already established groups, and advertising diverse volunteer opportunities. This study helped to provide a greater understanding of gender and its impact on one’s actions, and could assist administrators with future volunteer initiatives.