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ISSUE 120 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/22/2006

Volunteers organize

By Alyssa Kleven
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 22, 2006

Those who were not pleased by the philanthropic offerings of the Co-Curricular Fair on Sept. 6 made their way to Buntrock Plaza on Sept. 13 to explore St. Olaf's volunteering opportunities. The Volunteer Network (VN) hosts a the Volunteer Fair every year exactly one week after the Co-Curricular Fair each fall.

This year's VN coordinator, Liz Frosch '07, said that people appeared to be "very motivated." After the Co-Curricular Fair, the VN Fair gave students a second chance to recruit for their different volunteer projects, as well as a second chance to get involved with more volunteer organizations on campus.

Programs are divided up into categories of interest, including the environment, animals, education, the elderly, youth, health and people in need. In all, about 40 volunteer groups were represented at the fair. Although some tables came with just a smile, some did offer enticing rewards for being interested, like cookies and candy.

VN itself did not shy away from rewarding volunteers for their hard work last year and interest this year. Root beer and towels were available at the Volunteer Network table, and students who signed up for VN aliases were entered into a drawing for a free Volunteer Network t-shirt.

According to Frosch, most students interested in the volunteer organizations signed up at the Co-Curricular Fair, but it gave VN another opportunity to publicize and to inform students about upcoming events. By signing up for a VN alias, students are privy to one time volunteer events that don’t need previous commitment.

When it came to the VN alias, Frosch commented, "[Volunteer Network] knows that everyone has a different schedule, and not everyone can commit to doing one or two hours every week. The [Volunteer Network] alias can then inform students if they want to know about one-time volunteer events."

The alias will also inform students about Volunteer Week events, which will take place the first full week in November. These will include five to ten minute volunteer opportunities aimed at getting the entire campus involved.

Students running tables at the Volunteer Fair had many positive things to say. According to Solveig Voelker '07 of the Story Circle honor house, "[the VN fair provides] reliable resources for those who are passionate about volunteering."

Meanwhile, Brian Roach '07 of Three Links Care Center and Brooke Walper '07 of Spread the Hope concurred that the VN fair is about bettering opportunities for St. Olaf students. "[The Fair] lets students take advantage of all St. Olaf has to offer," Roach commented.

Walper noted the importance of the Fair for first-year students, saying that "It's important for freshman."

Chad Goodroad '08 was checking out what different groups had to offer. After signing up at a table he commented that the Volunteer Fair is helpful because it helps to "[talk] to people and get a first-hand account of what's happening, but keg root beer doesn't turn people away either." Goodroad was cheerful, but he noted that there are two sides to signing up for so many different activities.

"It is easy to over extend, but if you can do one thing you feel fulfilled," he said.

In case students missed the VN Fair, they can still obtain a copy of the VN book in the SAC office, which gives summaries of the different organizations and each organization’s contact person.

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