Saint Mary’s honors tradition with Service Fair
Colleen Fischer | Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Saint Mary’s College has dedicated itself to upholding its tradition to service. The College’s commitment to service will manifest in a service fair Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Student Center.
The Service Fair was partially organized by Rebecca DeLine, the director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OSCE).
“We hope to connect students to [a] local service organization in the community so that they might find a service opportunity that interests them,” DeLine said in an email.
DeLine said she hopes students create a relationship with organizations that will be lasting and that fosters commitment and “that students might commit to a semester of regular engagement with one of our local non-profits.”
The fair will feature a number of non-profits that work in diverse fields.
“There will be 33 non-profits represented in addition to two OCSE-sponsored opportunities,” DeLine said. “I think that there should be something for everyone.”
DeLine provided some examples of non-profits that students interested in working in the South Bend community might find compelling.
“I don’t think I’m allowed to play favorites, but I will say that we have a wide range of non-profits from those serving youth in after-school programs to those working particularly with the Latinx population to those that work with individuals who are dying,” she said.
The Service Fair is the realization of the work of the OSCE. The organization spent months planning the event in order to connect students to their communities, DeLine said.
“We started by contacting our community partners shortly after Thanksgiving, but the planning actually began a bit before then as we reserved the space and worked with Campus and Community Events to determine how many non-profits we could host,” she said.
DeLine said she recognizes the benefits of students participating in service, but also recognizes the stressors of school and other extra-curricular activities can cause the time commitment of regular service impossible.
“I think engaging with the community is a good thing in and of itself, but I am also realistic that students are very busy and may not have as much time to help at a non-profit if they aren’t receiving something in return,” she said. “So real benefits I know that students will receive are work experience, networking.”
The Service Fair is a part of the celebrations of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, but it also takes place in the 175th year of Saint Mary’s. DeLine said the Service Fair connects with these two events.
“The Sisters of the Holy Cross have long demonstrated a commitment to living and serving alongside the community they are a part of and they did this through first developing authentic and personal relationships with the communities where they lived,“ she said. “The service fair is one way that we can help students get to know the community and to find ways to respond to the needs that are brought forth.”
DeLine said she is looking forward to a lot about the Service Fair, but the thing that she is looking forward to the most is the community and the excitement it produces.
DeLine said she is looking forward to the Service Fair and hopes that it will bring “a lot of great energy and hopefully a lot of wonderful connections between students and the community.”