Volunteerism alive & well at NIU

In the light of the National Service Day on November 6, 1993, let’s step back and look at student volunteerism at NIU over the past five years. To cite a few examples: in 1989-90 fraternity and sorority members contributed 13,000 service hours and donated nearly $150,000; the “skip-a-meal” program in the residence halls raised about $38,000; the recycling center recycled 374 tons of materials as well as the 3,984 service hours contributed through the religious groups at the homeless and domestic violence shelters.

For the past three years, the Student Volunteer Corps Program has focused on different aspects of student volunteerism at NIU. When SVC was established in 1991 as mandated by House Bill 2571, the focus was to introduce the SVC Program to NIU students and the surrounding community through the Programming and Activities Office, thus the establishment of the SVC Task Force, Student Leadership and Volunteer Resources Center, SVC buttons and the SVC Kickoff with the proclamation of “Year of the Student Volunteer” at the 1991 Organizational Expo. We kept track of 1,119 students in the SVC database and logged in about 20,000 volunteer hours, and listed 198 volunteer agencies in the Volunteer Resource Center. At the 1992 Volunteer Reception, we honored 203 NIU students, 13 student organizations/residence halls and three volunteer agencies with Certificates of Appreciation from the Lt. Governor’s Office for Voluntary Action in recognition of their voluntary activities.

In 1992-93, we focused on promoting the SVC program to students through efforts such as the Volunteer Institute, surveys, reflections and outreach to volunteer agencies and students organizations. We awarded certificates of appreciation to 163 NIU students, eight student organizations, one faculty/staff member who displayed exemplary leadership in encouraging volunteerism among NIU students and three awards to community agencies. There was less emphasis on keeping track of hours as we focused more on encouraging students to volunteer at least 30 hours per academic year.

SVC is currently focusing on getting students to participate more in local volunteer activities and work closely with community agencies. This is evidenced by the 414 students who helped to build the “Adventures in Barbland,” and SVC helped to promote and get students involved with the “NIU Clean Up” and “Crop Walk ‘93” projects. Student Volunteer Corps is now a registered/SA recognized student organization with members representing volunteer student organizations on campus such as Sigma Lambda Sigma, Circle K, Alpha Phi Omega, Douglas Hall Geoforce, Stevenson Towers friends and Sociology Advisory committee. Working with the Salvation Army’s “Adopt-a-kettle” project, the committee has recently produced a newsletter, and is planning a Volunteer Expo on February 9, 1994 and looking to the Student Volunteer Reception on April 18, 1994. We are looking for interested students to join the committee. In all that we are doing to document student volunteerism and to recognize our students volunteer, there has been instances where we were not able to reach or did not hear about the contributions of our student volunteers. Please let us know about your volunteer efforts.

Contact the Student Volunteer Corps Committee at 753-1421 in the Programming and Activities Office. We look forward to working with more students, and student organizations and volunteer agencies in planning, promoting and recognizing their student volunteers.