Students explore volunteer options


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More than 200 UI students grabbed maps and passports on Wednesday, though they never left campus.

These students didn’t have their passports stamped by airport security — they were traveling through the UI Volunteer Fair in the IMU Main Lounge on a journey to volunteer their time.

Kelly Jo Karnes, an associate director of the Office of Student Life, said the passport promotion was an incentive for students to stop and speak with agencies. Students who filled their passports at the fair received a free T-shirt.

From helping elementary-age girls make healthy decisions to donating blood, do-gooders had 45 different agencies to choose from.

Girls on the Run of Johnson County garnered a full list of potential volunteers from the fair.

The program has almost 100 volunteers each season, said Phoebe Trepp, the organization’s representative at the fair. Volunteers manage the program in which they teach girls in grades three to six from eight area elementary schools.

The group’s curriculum focuses on healthy decision making on all spectrums, Trepp said. A 5K race caps the 12-week program.

The organization recruits many volunteers, including running buddies, who commit to two dates when they can run in the 5K with the girls, and coaches, who meet with the girls once or twice a week.

“The program prevents long-term negative behaviors,” Trepp said.

Recruiters for Campus QUASH also lured volunteers to their colorful display on Wednesday.

Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, Campus QUASH is a scavenger hunt to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

This spring will mark the event’s second anniversary at the UI.

Another booth recruited for the DeGowin Blood Center at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. Representatives passed out cards calling for platelet donors.

“Patient demand has been high, and we need your help,” the cards read.

Attendance is lower each year at the spring volunteer fair in comparison with the fall, said Karnes, noting that many agencies most likely already found volunteers in the fall. The cold and snowy weather also probably contributed to the low attendance, she said.

The spring fair usually averages between 250-350 students while last year’s fall fair had a record 1,100 students.

“It’s another chance for students to see what is available,” Karnes said.

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