Students to have several volunteer opportunities

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief


Personalized tables will decorate the library quad to display information about the local community agencies during the volunteer fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Beth Gillespie, interim director for the civic engagement and volunteerism office said moving the volunteer fair from the South Quad to the Library Quad this year will attract more students.

Gillespie said she thought the volunteer fair would get better traffic in the Library Quad with people coming and going from both lunch and the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“We had pretty good traffic when we meet in the South Quad prior, but we wanted to make it as easy as possible for all of our students to have the opportunity to see what kind of volunteer opportunities are available and get to know our community partners better,” Gillespie said.

During the fair students can walk around and stop at any of the tables to learn more about each agency’s mission, upcoming programs and exchange contact information.

The fair is targeted for students, though if any faculty members are interested in volunteering the volunteerism office would love to have them participate in the fair said Kelsi Grubisich, graduate assistant.

The organizations have the freedom to utilize the table and chairs to promote their business however they see fit.

In previous years, organizations have used colorful table topers, tablecloths, offered giveaways, provided brochures and fliers.

Since 2008, the volunteer fair has been a means to bridge the gap between community agencies and students.

The thought of possibly meeting students who will donate time, energy and support, whether new or returning students, encourages agencies to participate every year Gillespie said.

“A lot of the agencies that are returning know and love our EIU students because they know how hard they work, they know the kind of difference they make and so they are really excited to say ‘we are here’ to our new and returning students,” Gillespie said.

About 30 volunteer agencies will participate in the fair this year with a mix of both new agencies and returning community partners said Crystal Brown, assistant director of the civic engagement and volunteerism office.

Each local organization has different needs whether it is an organization like Girls on the Run, which needs a set number of volunteers who can dedicate a long period of time, or an organization like Fit 2 Serve that needs volunteers for one-time events Gillespie said.

Both Gillespie and Brown will help guide students to the right organizations that will fit the student’s passions and time schedules.

“We help students get involved with agencies they are passionate about. We help you find a way to give back that matters to you.” Gillespie said.

Both Gillespie and Brown said they have noticed an increase in student involvement because of the volunteer fair, which has motivated them to continue hosting the fair.

“Our incoming freshman students and our transfer students are new to town, so this is a great way for them as well as our returning students who may not have been exposed to it to get an understanding of who is in our community, what kind of work is happening and what kind of need is there for people who are our neighbors and then how we can get involved,” Gillespie said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]