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CSC to hose annual service fair tonight

Paul Spadafora | Wednesday, September 29, 2004

To promote interest in volunteer work after graduation, the Center for Social Concerns will help students review the choices available at the Post-Graduate Service Fair tonight.The annually held fair promotes service opportunities and volunteer positions for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s graduates both domestically and abroad. Andrea Smith Shappel, director of the Center For Social Concerns’ senior transition program, said more than 80 service organizations have been invited to campus to help recruit students, principally from religious groups. “There are a few secular groups, such as the Peace Corps, but the large majority are faith-based programs,” Shappel said.According to Shappel, the religious programs work to combine faith and service. “The faith-based programs have the volunteers live in one community with each other, and they are involved in a variety of services for the community,” she said. Shappel said the student turnout and commitment at the activities fair is usually very high. “We usually have 400-500 students come to the fair, and about half of them decide on a program,” Shappel said. “About 10 percent of every [graduating] class … commits to a program.” Programs sponsored through Notre Dame also have a large part in the fair. The Echo program, a student service and education program from the Institute for Church Life, will be in attendance at the fair tonight for its second year.Leonard DeLorenzo, Outreach Projects Coordinator for Echo, said the fair gives newer service organizations the opportunity to build interest within the University. “We got to explain the program to students, we generated a list of people interested in the program and we were able to keep them in the loop,” DeLorenzo said. “It helped us get started and get the word out to seniors.” Colleen Garvey, an assistant director with the Alliance for Catholic Education, agreed that the fair helps promote student interest in volunteerism. “It seems like every year the interest grows as the word of mouth goes out, and people graduate,” Garvey said. “I think students here are really excited about [service].”The Fair will be held tonight from 5:00 to 8:00p.m. in the Stepan Center. Although the fair is intended for juniors and seniors, any interested party is encouraged to attend.