Schulz Learning Center at SSU

“ Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. ”
—Chief Seattle, 1855

SSU students at a table

Service & Internship Fair X


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by Claudia Sisomphou

"This year we had more students interested in volunteering and getting involved compared with last year. We had 19 students sign our guestbook to be invited to our monthly events and 9 signed up to attend our new volunteer orientation." said Ai-Chu Wu, the director of the Tzu Chi Foundation of Santa Rosa, voicing her delight with how many students showed an interest in the organization.

students listening

Students learning more about CalSERVES AmeriCorps

About 1000 students, faculty, and staff, joined 48 organizations from throughout our community for the annual Service and Internship Fair at Sonoma State. The air was filled with excitement and energy as students discovered new opportunities and organizations connected with new volunteers and interns. The Fair allows for organizations to recruit students, faculty, and staff to get involved in their community projects, and to potentially find student interns that they will hire after graduation. Ianthe Brautigan Swensen, the Internship Coordinator for the School of Arts and Humanities and a lecturer in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, voiced her support for the event. "This is just what we need!" she exclaimed, "The students have given me excellent feedback and best of all found internships."

students signing up

Students signing up for opportunities from Catholic Charities and Verity

Both the turnout for this year and the comments we received were incredible. There were local organizations such as Verity and Petaluma Bounty, as well as national organizations like the American Heart Association and the Peace Corps.

Some students used the Fair to think about their future careers and took the time to speak with organizations that they felt paralleled their personal missions. Kia Phillips, a 5th-year Global Studies major with a concentration in global environmental policy, and a philosophy minor, described what she was looking for in a connection: "I am looking for an internship that focuses on the global community and sustainability actions, and being able to focus on community health and restoration ecology. Pachamama seems like a really good idea so we'll see!"

student looking at nonprofit table

Kia Phillips finding out more about Pachamama Alliance

The diversity of the community organizations' missions and projects provided a great platform for students to get involved early on in their college careers even if they weren't exactly sure what their interests were yet. Cielo Lopez, a freshman biology student, explained why she was attending the Fair: "I'm not really looking for anything in particular. I'm just trying to keep my options open."

Other students came to the fair with an idea already in mind for what they hoped to find. Kyle Souza, a 3rd-year political science major said "I didn't really know what to expect from it but everyone's really friendly, and there are free opportunities to volunteer or get work experience. I was looking for something related to law. There are three booths so far that are kind of related and I knew some people at some of them already, so I feel like I have my foot in the door."

students talking to community partners at their tables

Whitney Chiriboga, Madison Waller, and Megan Kovacevich talking to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley

In addition to personal service aspirations, many students also attended to get a head start on their requirements to pursue internships and complete volunteer hours by their academic department. Student Megan Kovacevich was excited to see that what she was learning in class was being addressed by one of the programs at the Fair. Megan talked about her and her friend's experience making a connection with NAMI Sonoma County (National Alliance on Mental Illness): "We are taking two psychopathology classes this semester and everything that they basically work with we are about to learn in class, so it was a really good connection. It could be a future endeavor."

cei giving info

The Center for Environmental Inquiry sharing their available opportunities with a student

A great addition to the benefits of the Fair was that organizations also exchanged contacts with one another to further discuss their programs and strategies for accomplishing their goals. Overall the Fair was a great success, and everyone that attended came together with the goal of making our community and world a better place.

To see more photos from the fair, go to the album here.

To check out how last year's Fair went, read our blog post from last year!

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