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Students peruse tables at a past internship fair

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GVL Archive Students peruse tables at a past internship fair

Rachel Melke

Students looking to rack up community service hours or interested in helping out the greater Allendale and Grand Rapids communities can stop by the annual Non-Profit Volunteer and Internship Fair Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. in Henry Hall.

The fair will be packed with religious groups, groups helping children, an animal sanctuary and schools, all more looking for help with various projects from members of the Grand Valley State University community.

GVSU’s Community Service Learning Center began organizing the event in late 1990s. The fair is intended to give interested students an easy way to connect with nonprofit organizations that work with a variety of issue areas.

In previous years the event would bring in 40 organizations, but due to the community’s growing interest, this year’s event will host a maximum-capacity 53 organizations.

Although many new organizations will make an appearance, there are a few that are considered “frequent flyer” organizations, said Eric Stevens, a graduate student from the CSLC. Those organizations include Allendale Public Schools, the American Red Cross and Kid’s Food Basket.

Both elementary schools, Oakwood Intermediate, the middle school and high school from Allendale Public Schools are all full of volunteer opportunities. Among regular volunteer positions such as tutoring and mentoring programs, there are also one-time opportunities such as the literacy night as well as the math and science night.

“The volunteer fair has been instrumental for us to connect with Grand Valley students,” said Deb Delooff, an Americorp VISTA volunteer working in Allendale Public Schools. “A lot of our programs are flexible and we can put (student volunteers) into our schools. Without our partnership with Grand Valley, we wouldn’t be able to run some of the programs we offer.”

Delooff has been attending the Non-Profit Volunteer and Internship Fair for six years with Allendale Public Schools. They attend both fall and winter fairs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, another attending organization, pairs children who have led troubled lives with an older mentor of the same sex. Students who decide to become mentors are only required to spend one hour per week with their “little,” but the one hour a week can add up in both influence in the child’s life and hours of community service for the GVSU students.

“(The fair) meets our students’ needs by creating internship and volunteer opportunities,” Stevens said, noting the service requirements some students must meet for classes and student organizations.

In addition to meeting service hour requirements, community service with these organizations can also help our Grand Rapids community.

“Most of these organizations do things like help feed homeless, provide food to school children, collect blood for the dying and teach invaluable life lessons to our community that will change lives forever,” Stevens said. “What could be more important than helping out our local organizations and community?”

Visit to get a full list of the organizations attending Tuesday’s event. Students need not register in advance to attend.

The winter semester’s Non-Profit Volunteer and Internship fair will take place Jan. 26.

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