Volunteer Fair comes to campus
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 17:10
Students and staff were invited to attend the Fall Volunteer Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 26. The Office of Student Life and the Service Learning Advisory Council sponsored the fair in an attempt to promote service learning to students and faculty around campus.
The fair featured countless volunteer opportunities and featured local organizations such as the Red Cross, Champaign Park District and the Housing Authority of Champaign County.
Free popcorn, candy and other knick-knacks were given away at the fair to draw people in and to reward those who sacrificed their free time to help out.
“We want to promote volunteering because we believe that if students go help out they can learn through service,” Volunteer Coordinator Maurice Moore, explained. “Students can learn people skills and social skills, and ultimately volunteering can help enhance a student’s education,”
Many students often wonder why they should spend their time volunteering when their schedules are so tight. When a student is juggling school, work and extracurricular activities, it’s hard to get free time to themselves, let alone making time to volunteer.
Those students that do have the extra time to spare might wonder why they should if they aren’t being paid for all of their hard work.
“I want to volunteer to help animals or work with the environment,” Sabrina Kelch, Environmental Science major, said.
She explained that volunteering not only looks good, “but it also makes you feel really good about yourself.”
Many students and staff at the fair admitted to feeling better about themselves when they volunteered. They also claimed that although they weren’t being paid for the work they were doing, what they got back from helping out meant so much more.
Psychology professor Travis Sola gave a bit of insight as to why people are so positively affected by the act of volunteering.
“We often want to see ourselves as helpful people,” he said. “It makes us upset to see others in distress, and the act of going out and helping others relieves some of the distress we face. It gives us a sense of control because we are able to make a difference.”
The feel-good effect and the boost that volunteering gives a person on their resume aren’t the only reasons some feel so passionately about volunteering.
Kevin Sloss, Education to Work coordinator at HACC, explained that being a volunteer helped prepare him for college. Now, Sloss insists upon the importance of student service in the community.
“You’re in college now, and there was always someone there pushing you and helping you along. It’s our duty to give back. Without us where is our future going to go?” Sloss explained.
The organizations at the fair expressed the importance of volunteers for events that will be held within the next couple of months.
Many of the opportunities afforded long-term roles, but there were also events that did not require as much of a time commitment.
Volunteer coordinators advised that people should get involved when they can, and not be deterred from volunteering just because they can’t commit to it in their schedule.
“I was enticed by the free popcorn, but I am here to help the community. Volunteering can help me build my resume, but it also gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside,” Elizabeth Smith, Liberal Arts and Sciences major, explained.
For a full list of service opportunities and more information on organizations at Parkland, visit https://my.parkland.edu/stuservices/academics/learning.