Volunteer fair to offer opportunities for students

AJ Fournier, Campus Reporter

The Volunteer Fair will kick off its ninth annual fair from 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday in the Library Quad.

Beth Gillespie, interim director of Civil Engagement and Volunteerism, said the fair is a way for students to understand the different opportunities and ways to give back.

“It offers a wide variety of different opportunities to give, from working with kids to working in a community garden— there are numerous different opportunities,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said the fair partners with over 70 local non-profits and over 30 people will be coming to spread the word on how students can get involved and give back.

The office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism invite those non-profits to come spread the word of the work they are doing and how students can help give back.

“These programs help students understand the amount of opportunities that are available in the community,” Gillespie said. “It also helps them learn about different resources within the community, so that way students can see a wide scope of volunteering and don’t just have to find opportunities through the volunteer office.”

Gillespie said some of the programs that will be at the fair also took part in Jumpstart 2 G.I.V.E.

Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service, the Mattoon YMCA, Camp New Hope, Special Olympics and Douglas Hart Nature Center are set to be at the fair along with other programs.

Gillespie said the programs will have different opportunities students can work on and the turnout for the fair has always been a success in the past.

“Our students last year gave over 130,000 hours of their time, so this is a campus that is committed to making a difference in the lives of others and giving back,” Gillespie said.

Crystal Brown, the assistant director, said that there is not a particular volunteer program students favor.

“Our student body has different interests, we try to appeal to all of the students and provide a well rounded amount of different opportunities, so they can choose what they are interested in,” Brown said.

Brown also said the fair exposes students in RSO’s that require service hours to various volunteer opportunities so they can complete those hours.

If a student shows interest in a certain organization, Brown said the organization will have an interest list so the student can fill out their information and the organization can reach out to them.

“It is a great opportunity for students to network, and could even get potential internships,” Brown said.

Annie Garner, a graduate assistant, said the fair is still looking for volunteers to help set up the fair.

Garner said volunteers would help set up tables and chairs and carry supplies for the different organizations coming.

Helpers would only be needed for the hour before the fair starts to set up and an hour after the fair ends to tear it down, Garner said.

A volunteer form for the fair is available to fill out on the Civil Engagement and Volunteerism website page at http://www.eiu.edu/volunteer/.

AJ Fournier can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]