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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 29, 2008

UI Volunteer Fair connects students, employees with organizations

People in the University of Iowa community worked together during the June flood, showing that they are willing to volunteer their time and talents to help others. As a way to keep this spirit alive, the University of Iowa will sponsor a fall semester volunteer fair Thursday, Sept. 11 to connect students, faculty and staff with local service organizations.

The fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Old Brick Community Center at 26 E. Market St. in Iowa City. The new location was necessitated by the temporary closing of the Iowa Memorial Union because of water damage.

"The flood of this past summer demonstrated very visibly how important volunteerism is, and how willing and eager so many members of our community are to give back in some way, to support one another," said UI Executive Vice President and Provost Wallace Loh. "The volunteer fair is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff members to find rewarding outlets for that desire to contribute."

Approximately 65 organizations will be on hand to provide information and sign up volunteers. Groups expected to attend include 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.

"We're looking forward to introducing faculty, staff, and students to many of our local nonprofits who rely on dedicated volunteers to help them accomplish their missions," said Mary Mathew Wilson, coordinator of the UI Civic Engagement Program.

A substantial number of UI students, faculty members and staff participate in the local, state, national and international communities through volunteerism and service learning. The university is actively supporting the creation of service-learning courses, which help students learn course content by partnering with community organizations that address a variety of community needs.

"Being connected to the community has completely shaped my student experience. Volunteering is one of the best ways to feel like you have a stake in the world and learn how to identify the needs of people around you," said Abbie Gruwell, UI Student Government's student organizations liaison.

Phillip Jones, vice president for student services and dean of students, expressed strong support for the volunteer fair. "The important reciprocal relationships between the university and the nonprofit community are demonstrated through the fair; together we can address community needs and student learning," Jones said.

The fair is co-sponsored by the Civic Engagement Program, Old Brick, UI Student Government, the 10,000 Hours Show, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Student Services, the Office of Student Life, and the UI Foundation.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mary Mathew Wilson, Civic Engagement Program, 319-335-9668; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,