Thursday, Jan. 24, Waynesburg University will hosted its annual Spring Service Fair on the first and second floors of the Stover Campus Center.
This event, which has been running every semester for at least as long as assistant dean of Student Services Kelley Hardie’s 17 years at Waynesburg, gave students a chance to explore service opportunities with organizations such as Eva K. Bowlby Public Library, the Greene County Historical Society and Habitat for Humanity, among others.
“We invite local community partners to come and share a little bit about their organization and mission, and recruit volunteers,” Hardie said. “So, we have a lot of students from service learning classes, different scholarships and students interested in serving in the area come and just find out a little bit more about these agencies.”
In past years, the event was held on the third floor of Stover, but recently, the location slightly changed to the first and second floors instead. Hardie said this change was made to increase student involvement.
“Since we made that switch from the third floor of stover to the first and second floor, we’ve witnessed an increase of students participating and interacting with the agencies,” Hardie said. “The agencies also have very positive feedback about that, because they’re able to engage with more students and connect with them.”
The change has greatly increased campus involvement , as Hardie estimated that close to 200 students generally stop by and interact with local agencies.
The fair is always held on the second Thursday of both the fall and spring semesters.
“We do that intentionally so we can connect students early in the semester with our local nonprofit organizations,” Hardie said.
Hardie sees the fair as a great opportunity for students to get involved with serving. From a personal standpoint, she enjoys meeting with the agencies face to face after coordinating the event through email and phone.
“I always look forward to interacting with our local service partners,” Hardie said. “It’s a great way to connect with them face to face, because I usually interact with them over the phone or via email. So, it’s a nice way to just converse with them.”
The university offers a heavy dose of service trip opportunities throughout both the fall and spring semesters. For Hardie, a goal is for the service fair to help open students’ eyes to going to a place like Bonaire and Gettysburg for a longer term project.
“I really think connecting our students with local organizations gives them a taste of volunteerism,” Hardie said. “Hopefully they fall in love with what volunteerism looks like and they want to enjoy it and want to do it long term.”