Experiential Learning Fair gives students volunteer opportunities

Carolyn Pippin

Forty-eight regional organizations lined the walls of the second floor Student Center for the eighth annual Experiential Learning Fair.

“There are well over 200 community partners that we work with,” said Tina Kandakai, Office of Experiential Education and Civil Engagement Director. “It gives us a chance to bring those partners together here and give students a chance to meet representatives of those agencies face to face.”

Organizations came anywhere from a few blocks away to 45 to 50-mile radius, said Ann Gosky, senior special assistant in OEECE.

“We hope that students come and find out a lot about volunteer and service activities and sometimes even internship opportunities,” Gosky said. “We also hope faculty comes because faculty can incorporate services as part of their curriculum.”

Kent State has recently made experiential learning a requirement, meaning students have to work with an organization outside campus, said graduate assistant Jyoti Sonkar.

“Kent State is one of the first public institutions in Ohio to require this experiential learning,” Kandakai said. “This is in affect to those students that have enrolled as of fall 2012. Many of these non-profit organizations actually become experiential learning activities and projects for our students.”

Several organizations hoped to spread the word to get students involved.

“Each year on campus we hold the volunteer fair for the purpose of allowing students a chance to do something that we know that they’re passionate about,” Kandakai said.

Every year, the number of students that sign up for these organizations through the Experiential Learning Fair “seems to be getting stronger,” said Joseph Montana II, president of Springtime of Hope.

Springtime of Hope is an entirely volunteer-based organization.

“We serve about 800 meals in a month to the homeless in Akron,” Montana said. “The young students come and help volunteer at the organization on Friday nights.”

Coley Nelson, who works for Phi Mu’s national headquarters in Georgia, also scoped out opportunities to put together a packet of information of ways that new members can get involved.

“We definitely checked out the Akron’s Children’s Hospital table because it goes along with our national philanthropy,” Nelson said.

Kandakai said students came from high school where they had experienced volunteering for their community and want to continue with that activity.

“Yes I like to volunteer,” freshman biology major Diona Holden said. “It helps build up my resumem and I like helping organizations that I’m passionate about.”

Contact Carolyn Pippin at [email protected].