Local agencies looking for volunteers among students

By Chris Cutter

What do the Sabaquay Girl Scout Council and the Nashusa Grasslands have in common? Absolutely nothing, except the fact that they represent two of over 70 local organizations seeking student volunteers.

NIU President John La Tourette has declared 1991-92 as the “Year of the Student Volunteer” in direct reaction to a bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 1989 creating the “Student Volunteer Corps Program.”

The bill mandates that “beginning in Fall 1991, all full-time undergraduate students entering each participating college and university are to be strongly encouraged and expected, although not required, to participate in the Student Volunteer Corps Program.”

As a result of the bill, there have been many volunteer agencies created at colleges and universities across Illinois.

Currently, only five Illinois institutions of higher education have a volunteer service requirement as a condition students have to complete before graduation.

At a local level, NIU’s Office of University Programming and Activities has established the Student Leadership and Resource Center.

The center is designed to encourage volunteers among the student body.

Spear-headed by the efforts of program coordinator Z. Ahmad, this service currently provides opportunities for over 130 various volunteer jobs in the DeKalb vicinity .

“We are trying to encourage students to volunteer their talents to the community,” Ahmad said. “It is not mandatory.”