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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 10, 2005

First UI-Wide Volunteer Fair To Link Students, Employees With Organizations

The University of Iowa will sponsor a campus-wide volunteer fair to connect students, faculty and staff with local service organizations as part of Welcome Week '05 and the Year of Public Engagement.

The fair will be held Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union. More than 30 area service groups will be available to provide information and sign up volunteers. UI President David Skorton, who has declared the 2005-06 academic year the Year of Public Engagement, will speak about the importance of public engagement at 1 p.m.

A community service volunteer fair was always a part of Welcome Week activities in the past, but Mary Mathew Wilson, coordinator of the UI Civic Engagement Program, said those fairs were aimed mostly at entering first-year students and returning students.

"This year we've greatly expanded the focus to the entire university community, including all students, faculty and staff, with the goal of introducing as many individuals as possible to exciting volunteer opportunities and potential service learning partnerships," she said.

Earlier this year the University of Iowa joined the Campus Compact, an organization that assists its member institutions to provide service-learning opportunities in their classroom curriculum. Mathew Wilson said the fair will be an opportunity for faculty members to become acquainted with a range of community-based organizations and to explore potential partnerships for fitting service learning into new or existing course offerings.

"Faculty will get a sense of the richness and vitality of out-of-classroom service learning experiences at the Volunteer Fair," said Wilson.

Among the organizations expected to be present at the fair are civic and government organizations, educational and child care organizations, art and cultural organizations, historical groups and groups that provide services to people who are poor, ill, disabled or victims of violence.

The fair is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Services, the Office of the Provost, University of Iowa Student Government, Welcome Week and the 10,000 Hours Show.

The Year of Public Engagement has been declared for the 2005-2006 academic year as an effort to encourage the university community to intensify its efforts and sharpen its focus on engagement with the public and public issues at the local, state, national and international levels.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,