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FGCU’s upcoming semi-annual Service Learning Fair

FGCU’s upcoming semi-annual Service Learning Fair

FGCU’s semi-annual Service Learning Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 in the Cohen Center Ballroom. More than 60 volunteer organizations will be in attendance at the fair.

The purpose of the fair is for FGCU students to communicate and network with different organizations and try to establish relationships that can lead to future service opportunities.

Every organization will have a booth set up in the ballroom with a representative to talk to students about what they do and what they are about. At these booths, different flyers and handouts will be given out that further discuss the organizations’ mission to both ensure and enhance a student’s take away.

Students will find a wide range of agencies, such as ones that focus on helping the environment, the impoverished, animals, the disabled, the young or the old.

This semester’s Service Learning Fair will include a few newbies or first-time attendees to the event, including A Roof for Roofus and the I Will Mentorship Foundation. However, some veteran organizations, such as The Heights Center, Our Mother’s Home and Gladiolus Learning and Development Center, will return as well.

Kelsey Wilkinson, the program assistant of the Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement and a former FGCU student herself, said that she could not imagine a semester without the Service Learning Fair. She also highlighted the importance of the fair, not only to students but also to the school as a whole.

“(It) allows students and agencies to partner together to complete meaningful and mutually beneficial service projects,” Wilkinson said. “It also allows agencies to network with each other and our faculty members, often resulting in partnerships that span over multiple semesters or even years.”

The fair is one of the only places where an FGCU student can have access to this sort of opportunity. FGCU students are required to complete a certain number of service learning hours before graduating. Undergraduate students must do 80 hours and graduate students 40 hours.

“I have definitely seen students benefit directly from the fair,” said Katharine O’Connor, a foundations of civic engagement instructor at FGCU. “Many of my students find their service projects from going to the fair. One in particular was a student who was a journalism major that started to teach children at the Quality Life Center about news reporting.”

O’Connor also outlined the symbiotic relationship that often results between the FGCU students and the organizations.

“FGCU students bring a new perspective as well as passion to the agencies,” O’Connor said. “In return, the students gain real life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and leadership skills.”

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