As witnessed by current international debates, volunteering is changing. The paper juxtaposes the concepts of classical "collective" volunteering - collectivist and with an ideological twist - and "reflexive", which points to new forms - individualistic, characterized by the search for selffulfillment and intangible assets. If the former contributed to structure the identity of the volunteer, the latter is bound to the breakdown of individual personalities, fragmented into a chaotic series of social roles lived in watertight compartments. Yet several studies reveal that even among new, "reflexive" volunteers the ideal size and the construction of identity remain a shared and appreciated value. The essay will analyze the volunteering experiences of respondents (by way of a questionnaire administered to a sample of 1,195 students enrolled in various Emilia-Romagna high schools during the academic year 2013/2014, built to represent the proportions by province and type of school), to find confirmations of the transition between traditional and contemporary ways of being a volunteer and the persistence, within them, of a connection with the sense of self and identity building.
Keywords: Volunteering; Identity; Young Volunteers; Third Sector; Survey.