Career Expo to feature service options
Katie McCarty | Tuesday, September 9, 2014
When the Fall Career Expo kicks off Wednesday, there will be a new twist to the event: the opportunity for students to explore postgraduate service opportunities.
Hilary Flanagan, director of the Career Center, said the new development arose from a collaboration between the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) and the Career Center.
“Service options have been a part of the career fairs for as long as anyone can remember. This year, we have collaborated in a new way with CSC to make it even easier for our students and the service organizations to connect,” Flanagan said. “CSC had previously coordinated another event focused on service organizations about a month after the Fall Career Expo.
“Some organizations would attend both events, and others would need to choose only one due to their travel budgets. Although in the past we collaborated to cross-promote the events, this year we have fully engaged the service organizations into the Fall Career Expo at the beginning of the semester.”
Michael Hebbeler, director of student leadership and senior transitions within the CSC, said he and his colleagues want seniors to realize the career fair has opportunities for each of them.
“It is really important for postgrad service organizations to be really visible on campus and for students to know there are viable opportunities in almost all fields,” he said. “If you look at the list, there is quite a number of organizations coming. There are social service agencies across the globe that offer full-time service volunteer positions to our graduating seniors.”
According to Hebbeler, approximately 10 percent of the graduating classes over the past several years have pursued service work after graduation.
“These students come from all majors and are discerning graduate school or corporate employment and are responding to a call to live out the mission of the University,” Hebbeler said.
Hebbeler said some commonly-held beliefs about pursuing postgraduate service are false.
“Volunteer refers to pay grade and not the work level,” Hebbeler said. “These are professional positions at professional organizations. Many of these organizations will offer opportunities to live in community with fellow volunteers, and these communities offer opportunities for reflection, for prayer, for deeper exploration of the interior life and maturity in relationships with friends, neighbors, coworkers and people on the margins.”
Flanagan said seniors should give service options as much consideration as they give career paths that are considered more traditional.
“A service experience is a fabulous first-destination opportunity, providing a depth of experiences in various industries and settings,” she said. “Service experiences, no matter the duration, are a strong springboard to whatever career transitions come next.”
Flanagan said Notre Dame seniors’ perennially strong pursuit of postgraduate service reflects the University’s mission.
“To me, it says that our unique student body has such an exciting range of interests, and whether they pursue a commitment to service after graduation or incorporate service into their lives a different way, each graduate will continue to make an impact in service to others,” she said. “I’m thrilled to work in collaboration with my team, CSC and so many of our Discernment Coalition partners on and off campus, to connect our students to those opportunities.”
Hebbeler said it is essential for students to think not of careers, but of vocation.
“It’s the hope of the CSC and career center and really the University that each of our graduates will take seriously his or her vocation, explore his or her call and respond with courage to answer that call,” he said.