Volunteer Fair Showcases Opportunities for Service-oriented Students

September 23, 2015

The McIlhenny Ballroom was buzzing with activity midday Tuesday as University of Scranton students weaved through rows of tables, spoke with representatives and filled out sign-up sheets, not for clubs or jobs, but for volunteer opportunities.

More than 700 students attended the University’s annual volunteer fair, at which 68 nonprofit organizations were present to recruit students. Campus Ministries’ Center for Service and Social Justice at the University organized the fair.

Volunteer opportunities were offered from better-known nonprofits such as the American Heart Association and American Red Cross, as well as more lesser-known nonprofits such as Ironworks Taekwondo Academy from Dunmore and Adopt a Boxer Rescue from Dickson City, which rescues and rehomes boxers from puppy mills and helps provide food and spay/neuter services for families who can’t afford to care for their dogs.

The variety of nonprofits at the annual fair gives students the opportunity not only to fulfill academic or student club related volunteer requirements, but they also have the chance to explore their interests while serving others and learning about the Scranton community.

“I actually had a really great volunteer student come from the University through this fair two years ago, and she and her family have since adopted a boxer from us,” said Dawn Karam of Adopt a Boxer Rescue.

In addition to area nonprofit organizations, students had the opportunity to volunteer for programs offered by the University, such as the International Service Program. Coordinated by Barbara King as part of Campus Ministries, the International Service Program (ISP) sends students on 11 different service trips to countries including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Nicaragua. Programs like these also provide unique experiences for student volunteers.

“Nicaragua and Guyana are close to my heart,” Jordan McCauley, ISP peer facilitator, said. “I went to Nicaragua freshman year and went to Guyana last year, but every trip is unique and special.”

Service and community are integral to the Jesuit culture at The University of Scranton. During the 2013-2014 academic year, a total of 2,853 University students participated in community service programs, volunteering a total number of 175,000 hours.

Nationally recognized for service, the University is among the just 361 colleges in America to achieve Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Scranton was among just 766 higher education institutions in the nation named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

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