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ISSUE 119 VOL 20 PUBLISHED 5/12/2006

Volunteers serve

By Stephanie Soucheray
Variety Editor

Friday, May 12, 2006

When students saw life-size iPod silhouettes outside of Stav Hall last week, they were not seeing another giveaway campaign from the Student Alumni Association. Instead, the black cardboard cutouts were placed to celebrate Volunteer Network (VN) week. This spring’s VN week theme was "iVolunteer," a play on Apple’s popular ad campaign.

With over 30 different volunteer opportunities offered to students, VN engages many students in its work.

"We wanted to raise awareness about volunteer programs and one-time service opportunities offered to students," said Liz Frosch ’07, next year’s VN president. The volunteer programs take place on campus, in Northfield and in the Twin Cities.

This spring’s VN week was scheduled to coincide with other campus events, like Lutefest, to broaden VN’s reach to curious students.

The week began last Monday with the annual and ever-popular Senior Citizen’s prom held in Ytterboe Hall lounge. The prom invites residents from Northfield’s retirement centers; more than 20 people came to this year’s party.

"Overall the week went really well," said Ishanaa Rambachan '08, the VN Program Development Coordinator for next year. "Publicity on campus was great and there was a lot of excitement. We also closed the week with a dinner recognizing all of this year's program directors. It was a nice time to recollect on the year."

Frosch is impressed with the strength of VN events among students. "As members of the St. Olaf community, we are active students; naturally students seek out volunteer opportunities," Frosch said. The Volunteer Network exists to provide the campus with many diverse and valuable service options."

VN week tries to raise awareness about how easy it is to volunteer on a service-oriented campus like St. Olaf. "We try to provide a supportive network for volunteers," Frosch said. "We are also encouraging students to be ‘responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world.’"

Next year, Frosch and other members of VN hope to add more national service opportunities to VN’s mission.

“While the Volunteer Network continues to serve the campus, we will offer students more opportunities to volunteer at one-time events in Northfield, the Twin Cities, and hopefully nation-wide," said Frosch. "Our focus for next year will involve a more global perspective.”

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