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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 22, 2008

UI community can explore volunteer opportunities Jan. 30

More than 50 local service agencies will be represented when University of Iowa presents a volunteer fair from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend the fair, where 50 to 60 local nonprofit managers will share information about their organizations' missions. The agencies will also sign up volunteers during the fair. Several civic and government organizations will be represented, as well as cultural and historical groups, educational and child care organizations, and those that serve people who are poor, ill, disabled or victims of violence.

"Having local nonprofit organizations come to one central, accessible location on campus is a useful way to help fair visitors gain instant awareness of the wide range of volunteer opportunities and potential service learning partnerships available in our community," Mary Mathew Wilson, coordinator of the UI Civic Engagement Program, said.

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

"Preparing students to be effective citizens in their communities is a key goal of higher education. UI students, as well as faculty and staff, are fortunate to have the Volunteer Fair to help them explore opportunities for service and personal growth," said Tom Rocklin, senior associate provost for undergraduate education at the UI and dean of University College.

UI student Jillian Smith said the volunteer fair is a great way to make contacts with organizations and find opportunities in the community. She has volunteered with the Free Lunch Program at Iowa City's Wesley Center, Iowa Public Interest Research group, and the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center.

"These experiences have made me realize the broad range of need in the Iowa City area," Smith said. "At the animal shelter, I had the chance to work with other individuals that have a heart for animals as well. Though all of the people I volunteered with were strangers, we put our teamwork skills to good use assembling a large kennel, collapsing and organizing pet carriers and playing with the animals."

Tara Wood, volunteer coordinator for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) in Iowa City says the fair not only helps RVAP find new volunteers but also enables the program to raise awareness about its services. "We talk with so many people about the RVAP -- not only about how to volunteer, but about what we do and how much we care about those affected by sexual violence," she explained.

"The University of Iowa is grateful to the community-based organizations that take time to staff the Volunteer Fair; they are key to engaging our students in the meaningful process of citizenship," said Phillip Jones, vice president for student services and dean of students.

Campus-wide volunteer fairs have been held at the UI since 2005. The fair is co-sponsored by the Civic Engagement Program, 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.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mary Mathew Wilson, UI Civic Engagement Program, 319-335-7589; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,