Need service hours, but are confined to your house? Many projects are looking for volunteers online, and you can help remotely. Here are some easy ways you can work for the public good while staying at home.
Editing Wikipedia to remove typos, add sources or expand an article stub is a great way to help the free encyclopedia while honing your own writing skills for school.
Wikipedia also has several sister projects. If you have old photos that you took of a local monument or an event that’s missing from Wikipedia, you can donate them to Wikimedia Commons to help Wikipedians improve their articles.
Want to help your hometown? You can also help Wikivoyage by contributing to a local travel guide of your favorite hangout spots and local roadside attractions.
You can edit OpenStreetMap in your local area to help others find local businesses and get around. Several companies and government organizations have donated satellite and aerial imagery, so you don’t need to leave your house to help.
Editing OpenStreetMap also helps your local economy by exposing local businesses to websites and apps that use OpenStreetMap data. These websites and apps include Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Wikipedia, Uber, Foursquare, Pokémon Go and more.
You can also contribute to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and help map places where disaster has struck - that way aid workers can operate more effectively. A similar organization, Missing Maps, preemptively maps areas likely to experience a calamity so risk reduction strategies can be formed before disaster strikes. Organizations that make use of OpenStreetMap data include the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, Doctors without Borders, The Gates Foundation, the Peace Corps, USAID, The World Bank and others.
Researchers need computing time to help fight the coronavirus and other diseases. Folding@home is a project that allows ordinary people to donate their spare computing power to simulate molecular interactions; helping push medical science forward by revealing weaknesses in viral structures. Folding@home is available for Windows, MacOS and GNU/Linux.
All too often, artificial intelligence misunderstands us, especially if you have an accent, lisp, or are simply in a noisy room. Help make sure AI understands you better by donating samples of your voice to the Mozilla common voice project. By donating your voice, you will help AI understand you, and others like you, which will help increase accessibility throughout the world. You can also help validate voice recordings to help improve accuracy.
Help translate software into another language
During social isolation, it can be hard to keep your foreign language skills sharp. You can help sharpen your language skills, while also expanding the accessibility of software to those beyond the anglosphere.
Here are some projects that are accepting contributors:
Wikipedia, and its sister projects, usually have versions of articles in a variety of languages. You can help improve it by translating missing content from other language articles into English, or if you are confident in your skills, translating English content to another language Wikipedia is missing content for.
OpenStreetMap is used by contributors worldwide, but the language for a popular editor iD is only fully translated in a few languages - English, German and Spanish. The iD development team offers a tool that allows non-technical translators to work on one sentence at a time.
Fedora is a free and open source operating system based on GNU/Linux. It’s designed to be easy to use and respectful of user privacy. If you’d like to help them translate, they have a tool that allows you to make suggestions on improving their translations.
StoryCorps is a project that helps people contribute stories to the American Folklore Center at the Library of Congress. If you will be staying with someone with a story to tell over spring break, consider using the Story Corps app to contribute their story for future generations to hear.
The Smithsonian Institution has a treasure trove of documents that need to be transcribed to be fully readable and searchable online. You can help by transcribing historical documents for them, so they can be more easily searched by historians and researchers.
Librevox helps people by creating free audiobooks of public domain works. This allows other people, such as those too busy to read a physical book, the blind or the illiterate, to enjoy classical literature free of charge. You can donate your voice by recording a chapter or work and submitting it to their service. While they are looking for readers, they are also looking for proof listeners to ensure quality.
Student organization records are a useful tool for future historians to understand life at BGSU. Make sure your student organization goes down in history by organizing and donating your records digitally to the Center for Archival Collections. Information of interest includes but is not limited to photographs, videos, service project records, meeting minutes, flyers and publications.
Many student organizations are hard to find online. Now is the perfect time to digitize your operations. Expand your organization profile on Presence. Set up a public website. Create recruitment materials for the fall. Do a virtual service project. Update organization’s social media information. Create a chat room for your organization. Design a new logo. Draft a better constitution. The sky's the limit.