Student opportunities to be presented at Volunteer Fair and Business Expo

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

The Eastern Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism will host a Volunteer Fair and Business Expo Wednesday from 10:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union in the University Ballroom.

The fair gives students the chance to learn about the volunteer opportunities in the off-campus community.

Around 40 businesses and organizations will be present, with a variety of volunteer opportunities available for attendees to explore.

Some of the businesses and organizations participating in the event will be Girls on the Run, My Charleston Dentist, Family Video, Pizza Hut, Jimmy John’s, 104.3 The Party radio station, Lincoln Log Cabin, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity and Produce with a Purpose.

Beth Gillespie, the interim director of civic engagement, said she believes the fair is a good learning opportunity for students on campus.

“It’s a really great way to learn more about your community without having to leave campus,” Gillespie said. “I think that’s absolutely worth 15 or 20 minutes of a student’s time.”

Because the weather report calls for rain, the event was moved from the Library Quad to the University Ballroom.

Gillespie said the turnout for the event could be affected by the change in location.

“It’s very easy when it’s outside to just walk by and participate with it,” Gillespie said. “We are hoping to have a good turnout even though we’ll be inside.”

Gillespie said the office staff tries to keep an eye out for businesses students may have an interest in, so students may have a better understanding of the community as a whole.

In the past, Douglas-Hart Nature Center took part in the fair, bringing a turtle to the event.

“Students are walking by and see the turtle on the table and want to talk more about ‘Who is that guy?’ and ‘What is he doing here?’” Gillespie said.

Crystal Brown, the assistant director of civic engagement, said she is most looking forward to being able to provide an opportunity for students to find out about ways to connect with the community and get involved.

“They can feel like Charleston and Coles County is their home while they’re here, and that they have something to do,” Brown said.

Gillespie said the fair will feature several organizations in need of volunteers.

“It’s fun to just get engaged and learn a little bit more about the organizations we have and what kind of support they need,” Gillespie said. “We do have a lot of success.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].