Students stop by the Jersey Strong table at the Volunteer Fair on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 in the Eynon Ballroom. -Contributor/Dijon Johnson

Led and organized by Shelly Klink, administrative coordinator for the Office of Civic Involvement, and Naveen Khan, second-year graduate coordinator, the Rowan Office of Volunteerism held its annual Volunteer Fair this past Thursday. The event was laden with materials and programs for students of all experience levels to learn how to get involved and make a difference on and around campus.

Khan was set up adjacent to the entrance to the Eynon Ballroom, ready to inform and recruit. Khan welcomed those who entered the facility with information on her newly initiated V.I.P. program. The initiative is aimed towards students without experience in volunteerism, those who are reluctant about becoming involved and anyone who is in general need of a guiding mentor.

Eligible after a year with the Office of Civic Involvement, students are immediately able to provide useful insights through participation in this program to new participants who may be overwhelmed. The need for V.I.P. was immediately recognizable from accounts of many of the event attendees, made up of almost entirely first year students.

Freshman biochemistry major Shivani Shah appreciated the range of opportunities presented at the fair.

“I like that there are tons of national organizations here and opportunities that are close to the school for freshmen who can’t have cars on campus,” Shah said.

Ensuring that students were provided with an ample amount of organizations to choose from was an obvious priority of the event’s organizers. Represented organizations included Volunteers of America, Robins’ Nest, Family Promise of Gloucester County, Samaritan Food Bank of Glassboro, Bancroft and many more. This effort seemed to resonate well with the students in attendance, as most appreciated the opportunity to learn about each organization, even if they may not ultimately volunteer with them.

Students stop by the Circle K International table at the Volunteer Fair on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 in the Eynon Ballroom. -Contributor/Dijon Johnson

Freshmen biochemistry majors Kayla Gonzalez and Meena Young voiced appreciation for the plethora of choices.

“It’s nice and really interactive,” Young said. “I definitely [like] going from table to table hearing from everyone, and all of the organizations that work with kids, animals, and historical work”.

Kayla Gonzalez echoed this sentiment and felt compelled to choose the March of Dimes program as her volunteering option.

“I have a personal connection with the program, [since] a childhood friend had similar disabilities growing up,” Gonzalez said.

The goal of the Office of Volunteerism is to become a conduit between students and the organizations that help them become more deeply entrenched in the community they are a part of already. With events like these during the semester, this goal of student-community involvement comes closer to fruition.

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