On the warm and sunny Wednesday, September 26, 2018, a special event occurred in Sykes. The event that took place was the Volunteer Fair, with approximately 451 students in attendance. Despite this statistic, many students may not know what the volunteer fair is and how this event benefits the average West Chester University student.
According to Shannon Gillespie, a graduate student for the Volunteer Student Program at WCU, the Volunteer Fair is an “opportunity for students and anybody that wants to join a program or a service.” At this fair, there are “no restrictions” for a student or anyone that wants to know the nearest service provided near Chester County. Shannon reassured that anybody can “just walk in.”
Before entering the ballroom, one noticed the students of the volunteer program who were stationed to greet curious students, gather student information and help anyone who is unsure what the volunteer fair is about. After signing in, the individual entered the Sykes ballroom where many tables were stationed.
From therapeutic horse training to volunteering with the West Chester Fire Department, this event had a plethora of volunteer opportunities for the WCU student to seize. For instance, for history majors interested in assisting a historical society or being an “active historian,” there is the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS), which is less than a mile away from the campus.
According to one senior student, it is a “wonderful thing” to have for students and non-students alike in order to learn the benefits of volunteer work. For another student, it’s generally a “good opportunity for people” to view and understand potential work that is needed by an individual student’s expertise.
In a 2012 article by Sebastian Herrera from the Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin hosted a volunteer and service learning center to give students “the opportunity to sign up to volunteer for many different nonprofits.” The article further states that some students like Codey Pham, a freshman, wanted to “reach out and give back” to the community of Austin.
In venturing through each station, as stated by Gillespie, there are “non-profit and internship opportunities” just waiting for the student. All an eager student, faculty member or really anyone has to do is just ask the individual in charge of a station as to what opportunities they were advertising. Then, the student has the option to write their name and email address to gather further information.
After leaving the volunteer fair, one important thing to remember is the opportunities it gives to the average student in order to better understand the sheer multitude of volunteer jobs around the borough of West Chester. “There are lots more things to be done at West Chester,” stated a senior student, “a whole lot to be done.” For some, it could be a general hobby they found interesting.
If a student managed to forget or was tied up with homework and therefore unable to attend-have no fear! Confirmed by Gillespie, there is “usually one fair per semester” and information is located at the WCU website at wcupa.edu for further detail. Finally, if there are questions, comments or concerns about the volunteer fair, Shannon Gillespie can be reached at email@example.com.
Nicholas Bartelmo is a third-year student majoring in History. NB790429@wcupa.edu.