Campus fair promotes student involvement

John Adams

An iMac computer was one of the rewards available for students who attended the Community Service Fair on the St. Paul campus Wednesday. The other rewards — such as volunteering — were more prevalent but required more effort of interested students.
About 25 local community service providers set up booths in the Northstar Ballroom for perusing students and faculty. The annual fair, which attracted about 100 people, is in its fifth year and is co-sponsored by the United Way and the Campus Involvement Center.
To be eligible for the drawing to win the iMac computer, students are required to get the signatures of five groups at the fair. This is intended to introduce students to groups looking for volunteers, such as the group Athletes Committed to Educating Students.
The group educates grade school students through sports terms or situations. For example, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ed McDaniel taught students to calculate how many of his hands it would take to reach the ceiling; then student tutors taught the grade school students related math problems.
Volunteer Coordinator and former University student Chad Buboltz said about half the tutors are University students. He signed up about six more Wednesday.
Buboltz admitted most volunteers and tutors for the center are not as famous as Ed McDaniel.
“We take athletes or non-athletes. There is always room for tutors,” Buboltz said.
Another group at the fair with volunteer opportunities which support youth was the Plymouth Christian Youth Center.
The center owns one of the last standing cabins on an island inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Youth from area schools or churches accompanied by volunteers use the cabin as a base camp for seven-day trips into the boundary waters. Kathleen Butts, a teacher at the center, said many of the volunteers from the University are from a class assignment in the sociology department.
As an assignment in Introduction to Sociology students can either volunteer for community service or write a paper. Many choose the volunteer work and fill the requirement with the youth center. Another place students can find volunteer opportunities is at the Office for Special Learning Opportunities.
Maggie Lockner, a senior in non-profit management who works for OSLO, said about 65 students were advised in OSLO fall quarter about community service programs that fit with their talents and academic goals.
“Everyone has a talent for volunteering: engineers, accountants, majors who do not typically volunteer, but we could find them a spot,” she said.