Students have 66 chances to volunteer in October

Sara Maddox, Contributing Writer

The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism offers different volunteering opportunities and service projects to students on campus.

Within the last eight weeks of school, the students of Eastern have completed more than 1,700 hours of community service, said Beth Gillespie, the interim director at The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism.

With the shift of student enrollment the last few years, there was no correlating decline in the total amount of volunteer hours logged by students, Gillespie said.

“Even though we had less students, the students that we had here on campus were doing more and getting engaged…and still doing good at the same total rate as they had in the past,” Gillespie said.

With an increase of student enrollment this year, she said she also looks forward to seeing an increase in the total number of volunteer hours logged.

For the month of October, Gillespie said the office is offering students 66 different volunteering opportunities.

Most of the projects being offered are available six days a week and usually include two hours of volunteering.

Gillespie said approximately 95 percent of the opportunities also provide transportation to and from the location, so volunteers do not have to transport themselves.

In efforts to continue to increase involvement from students, Gillespie said The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism tries, “to make it as easy as possible for students to get engaged with us”, by offering a variety of opportunities and times for the projects.

Sam Tompkins, a senior engineering student, said he likes volunteering at Eastern for a couple of reasons.

“(Eastern offers) a variety of projects the school offers to its (students) because not only is it important to give back, but it is something that stands out to future employers,” Tompkins said.

A few of the more popular projects and opportunities include the Special Olympics, Jump Start, and Girls on the Run, Gillespie said.

The Special Olympics, held at Eastern’s O’Brien Field, has nearly 300 students volunteering for the event, totaling nearly 2,100 service hours, she said.

The Jump Start event, which is held at the beginning of the school year, gets all incoming Eastern Illinois University students involved in a service project to give back to the Charleston and surrounding areas’ communities.

Girls on the Run, an event held in November that promotes female empowerment with young girls in the community, is also a very popular event. Gillespie called it one of her favorites.

To find more information about how to get involved or to see what opportunities are currently available to students, Gillespie said students can go to The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism on the third floor in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union or they can visit

Sara Maddox can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].