Web-only: County United Way stresses importance of volunteers

Desiree Bartoe

Kent State faculty and United Way of Portage County officials met Friday to kick off this year’s United Way Steering Committee.

The committee’s goal is to run a successful United Way campaign for Kent State by engaging faculty, student and community support and relaying the social needs of Portage County.

“We want to make sure people are completely aware of what needs are in Portage County and beyond,” said Pete Goldsmith, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs and steering committee chair. “Then, we want to make that connection to the people and understand their needs and wants as well.”

During the meeting committee members discussed future and past events, along with new goals for the committee.

One such goal includes recruiting more volunteers, particularly students, and creating more opportunities and information for them.

“The student population is one that we just have not tapped into,” said committee member Gail Hull, who is also academic program director for the Placement, Advising and Scheduling System.

“Students are more than willing to participate; they just don’t know how,” she said. “We have to do a better job offering them opportunities and information.”

Kent State is the largest employer in Portage County, which is why it is United Way’s main focus, Goldsmith said.

“Kent State is our largest campaign,” said Steve Kleiber, president and CEO of United Way of Portage County. “It accounts for about 10 percent of our proceeds. We are counting on the student and community support for this campaign.”

A monetary goal for the committee has been set at $135,000.

Contact social services reporter Desiree Bartoe at [email protected].