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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 21, 2009

UI community can explore volunteer opportunities Jan. 28

More than 40 local service agencies will be represented when University of Iowa presents a volunteer fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend the fair, where local nonprofit managers will share information and sign up volunteers. 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," said Mary Mathew Wilson, coordinator of the UI Civic Engagement Program.

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.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County relies heavily on UI students to volunteer as mentors, says Jill Kromminga, program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County. "Being part of the Volunteer Fair allows us to have contact with a large number of students. It is a chance to not just disseminate information but provides us the opportunity to have conversations with interested individuals. We get the chance to explain our programs and tell someone face to face that they could be the special friend a child in our community is waiting for," she said.

Another group that has benefited from the Volunteer Fair is the International Women's Club, which provides English lessons for its members. The club helps to provide childcare for those who give the lessons and for those learning English.  "I don't know how I could reach the childcare helpers we need without the Volunteer Fair. It's been wonderful for the International Women's Club and, I hope, wonderful for all our volunteers," said Kathy Fait, club program coordinator.

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, and the Office of Student Life.


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

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