“Volunteering early will help you get hired,” said Kitty Klitzke, a representative from The Lands Council at Wednesday’s Service Fest in the campus mall. Over 40 local non profit agencies gathered in the mall Sept. 27 to share advice and meet with students interested in internships, volunteering and service learning. With the sun shining and music blaring, students visited with different organizations, collecting information and making contacts.
“Sometimes students don’t know how to open these conversations,” said Virginia Hinch, coordinator of [Internship Programs] and Student Offering Service at Eastern, referring to the outgoing representatives flagging students down as they passed through the mall. “We get good responses from the community partners,” said Hinch. “It’s an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to form community partnerships,” said Mary Kate Hawkins, Eastern’s community engagement coordinator. “It’s a great learning opportunity for students.”
Hinch estimated that hundreds of students made the time to interact with representatives from the various organizations, especially because of the great weather, the central location of the mall and the music.
Girl Scouts of America, The American Cancer Society and Volunteers of America, just to name a few, were all available to answer questions and discuss opportunities to volunteer at women’s shelters, work with teenagers, become a camp counselor or join Relay for Life.
“We get a lot of volunteers from our campus fairs,” said Adam Borgman from Habitat for Humanity. Debi Gallagher from The American Cancer Society said that they have a booth every quarter, every year and they make a lot of contacts at Service Fest. Service Fest happens every year, once fall quarter and once winter quarter since it started winter quarter of 2003.
In addition to the aforementioned opportunities available at Service Fest, Hinch also mentioned the Students in Service AmeriCorps Program, which offers monetary educational awards to students in exchange for between 300 and 900 hours of service per year. “We have the second largest program in the region, which I am very proud of,” said Hinch.