BIG RAPIDS - If you're looking for a volunteer opportunity, Ferris State University's Student Volunteer Center has opened its online database of listings to the entire community.
From researching local history to assisting Habitat for Humanity, the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly or Big Brothers Big Sisters, many non-profit and charitable organizations are looking for help from students and non-students alike.
"We've determined there's a need - now we're getting the connections made," said Cindy Horn, director of Student Leadership and Activities. "This resource used to be just for the Ferris community. Now our community includes anybody who wants to help."
Community organizations report needing volunteers for everything from answering phones to building houses to providing grief support. Most positions require little or no specific qualifications. For some positions, organizations such as the American Red Cross provide training.
Prospective volunteers choose one or more opportunities from a list that can be sorted by times the volunteer is available or by key word. Once they find an opportunity of interest they are given the contact information for that agency and asked to contact the agency to make arrangements for their service.
In making volunteer positions easy to find and apply for, the university hopes to increase the number of hours the entire community devotes to meeting area needs. During Fall 2006 semester, Ferris students, faculty and staff reported putting in 12,617 hours toward meeting these needs. Ferris students volunteer their time both as individuals and as part of Registered Student Organizations.
"We're extraordinarily proud of the commitment to community service our students demonstrate," said Ferris President David Eisler. "By fostering volunteer service throughout the entire mid-Michigan region, our volunteer center helps strengthen these important bonds between the campus community and the wider community in which our students live, work and study."
To access the database of volunteer opportunities, go to www.ferris.edu and type "Volunteer Center" into the home page search engine.
09 February, 2007