Social justice fair aims to get students to volunteer

Benefits to students include improving job prospects

Students can learn about volunteer opportunities from representatives of different organizations at the Social Justice Fair.

Over 30 organizations will come together for the 11th annual Social Justice Fair.

Carly Kosa is the main organizer of the event. Not long ago, she was a student herself. She says students often think about finding a job, and having volunteer experience looks good on a resume.

“Students are looking for extra-curricular things to add to their resume,” Kosa says. “A lot of times, students are looking for volunteer opportunities or ways they can get involved, especially if they want careers in the nonprofit sector.”

Kosa says the organizations at the fair range from ArtsJunktion, a place that repurposes waste materials to be used in art projects, to Food Matters Manitoba, which aims to make healthy food more available and affordable.

Brent Retzlaff, volunteer coordinator for Siloam Mission, will attend the fair. He says a lot of their volunteers come from post-secondary institutions, and they are always looking for more people to help.

“We’re looking to anyone who is willing to help,” Retzlaff says. “We’re looking for people who have experience with conflict resolution and relationship building … But we also love people who don’t know anything about that stuff.” 

Retzlaff says that Siloam talked to approximately 20 to 25 students at last year’s fair. Although it’s unknown how many of them went on to volunteer for Siloam, students make up a majority of their volunteers, with charity groups based out of a workplace coming in second.

According to Statistics Canada, about four out of 10 Canadians volunteered their time. Young people are much more likely to volunteer. About 65 per cent of people aged 15 to 19 volunteer their time at an organization.

Kosa says the fair also aims to show a more personal side of many organizations. Students sometimes live very hectic lives, and the chance to talk to someone at a charity organization can bring a sense of accountability to volunteering.

“Talking to someone is a much better way to be accountable to them. In an email, students are busy. They’ll forget or put it aside. But when you talk to someone … it’s a bit more of a commitment,” Kosa says. “People are looking forward to just connecting with a face, rather than emailing … It’s a really great way to meet someone and talk to them about the work they do.”

The Social Justice Fair takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in Riddell Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Published in Volume 71, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 26, 2017)

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