Volunteer to make a difference in today’s world

Through the volunteer organizations on campus, students have the opportunity to impact the community.

More than 30 organizations will be at the Volunteer Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the South Quad.

“This is a great opportunity for students to get involved and make a difference in our community,” said Doris Nordin, student volunteer center coordinator and the director of the fair.

Among the expected participants are the American Cancer Society, Special Olympics Family Festival, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, Eastern’s blood drive committee, Haiti Connection and Students United for

World Change Eastern chapters.

The volunteer fair can prepare students for their future, Nordin said. It helps the students make new friends, discover new passions, and build experience they can put on a resume.

Kimberlie Moock, director of new student programs, expects hundreds of students to turn out at today’s fair.

“Volunteering is a great way to utilize your skills and give back to the community,” Moock said. “Students might find out that they like to pursue a career with one of the agencies they volunteer to help.”

Rachael Fisher, interim director of Student Community Service, suggests students bring a willingness to volunteer to the fair.

“There are new organizations that come out to the volunteer fair,” Fisher said. “For example, this year, Sarah Bush (Lincoln Health Center) is coming and they have some really neat opportunities.”

Students get involved

Sarah Earnhart, a senior accounting major, volunteered for St. Vincent de Paul Society during Fall 2008.

She found out about the organization through the Newman Catholic Center.

“I wasn’t involved in my hometown, and I wanted to make a difference here,” Earnhart said. “The organization is about walking with the poor, a mission of charity. We do help those in need, it’s beneficial to both sides.”

Earnhart is now president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and finds it great how supportive the community can be in the hardest of times.

“There’s a lot of opportunities out there for you, how little or how much time you have,” Earnhart said. “You’ll be a benefit to an organization. Anything makes a difference whether it’s someone in need or wherever you can help out.”

Megan Kutz, sophomore elementary education major, volunteered last year through the Haiti Connection.

“Meeting new people has helped a lot,” Kutz said. “We’ve learned about Haiti and about situations that go on around the world.”

Kutz will be at today’s fair to promote the Newman Center’s Student Volunteer Center.

“It helped me volunteer more in the community, and helped me get more involved in mission trips,” Kutz said. “They’re always needing help at the Newman Catholic Center. There’s opportunities on our campus, if not in other organizations.”

Brittney Zourkas, senior biology major, volunteered at Amigos and Friends last spring.

“I found out about it through a flyer,” Zourkas said. “The most beneficial has been meeting new people.”

Zourkas suggests students go to the volunteer fair or look for flyers around campus.

“There’s lots of ways to get involved,” Zourkas said.

Organization Information:

Amigos & Friends:

Share your language and your culture teaching English as a second language.

Haiti Connection:

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. Raise awareness, money and material for Haiti through events and presentations. Two immersion trips to Haiti are offered each year.

Right to Life:

At EIU we embrace life! Help others to understand and live against violence, abortion, death penalty, neglect, etc.

Habitat for Humanity:

Join the effort to eliminate poverty housing. Help raise funds and help build decent housing.

Justice for All:

Work for a real change in our world. Promote Fair Trade practices in your own home, in businesses and on campus. Fight poverty joining the St. Vincent de Paul Society!

Service trips:

Spend your fall break, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break or spring break helping those in need. Learning about your community and having fun!

After School Program:

Some children in this community need you! Tutor a child two days a week!

Volunteer Projects:

Sign up to help community members and organizations in a moment of need, including nursing home visits.