Over 80 organizations come to ND Service Fair
Megan Hemler | Thursday, October 1, 2009
Hundreds of Notre Dame students, along with representatives from over 80 service organizations, filled the Joyce Center concourse Wednesday night from 5 to 8 p.m. for the annual Postgraduate Service Fair.
The fair featured faith-based organizations such as the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, but also included programs without a religious affiliation, such as AmeriCorps and Teach for America.
“I came here to look at Peace Corps and Teach for America,” senior David Bettwy said, “but I also want to get an impression of what the faith-based ones are like because I don’t really have any idea.”
The Fair offered students the chance to meet with service representatives in an informal setting. With casual clothing and light refreshments, the Service Fair had a markedly different atmosphere from the annual Fall Career Expo held in the Joyce Center two weeks ago. Organized as more of a meet-and-greet instead of screening of applicants, the fair included a variety of regional, national, and international service opportunities.
“Everybody who we’re talking to has done the programs themselves, so they’re a really good resource,” senior Brianna Muller said.
With the lingering effects of the economic recession, “Students have become more creative in what they can do after they graduate,” Center for Social Concerns Director of Student Leadership and Student Transitions Michael Hebbeler said. “Applications are up this year. For example, Jesuit Volunteers Corp, their applications have doubled.”
“Our students are known for being on top of their game and really researching places of interest to them. That really helps move the search forward,” he continued.
The Center for Social Concerns, which opened this year in a newly constructed building, is responsible for bringing the fair to Notre Dame each year.
Hebbeler said that service enhances a resume in the eyes of employers.
“It’s important to note that grad schools and employers are really drawn to people coming out of service, and I think that’s a misconception, that this is somehow a year off,” Hebbeler said. “But you’re actually on the ground, you’re learning and your skills are being used and you’re also hopefully being transformed in some way through community, through the relationships that are being formed, and coming out a much different person than you were going in.”
“That’s furthering the mission of Notre Dame,” he said.
“It’s good that Notre Dame provides us with opportunities to continue serving others after we leave,” senior Lisa Bunn said.