The Volunteer Connection fair, organized by Union Programming Council and the Bennion Center took place on Thursday, September 8.
The event took place in the Union Ballroom and provided students with knowledge about the volunteer opportunities available to them. This also offered fun attractions such as free snacks and drinks, cookie giveaway, photo wall and scavenger hunt.
Alyssa Henrie, the cThe Community Services Board Director for the Programming Board, explained that the goal of the event is to raise awareness of volunteer opportunities in the Salt Lake area that students can get involved with.
“We have about 35 non-profit and volunteer organizations just to get in touch with students and tell them what they’re doing, because sometimes it’s hard to find volunteer opportunities on your own,” Henrie said. “All of these organizations are looking for people to help them.”
There was a wide variety of student organizations, from health care to the arts. At their individual tables, the 35 groups had representatives of organizations such as American Red Cross, Sundance Film Festival, Intermountain Health Carethe Utah Children’s Centerthe Feed U pantry and the Ronald McDonald House.
Henrie said many groups were excited about the event as it was the first time they had been to the U to talk about their organizations and the off-campus volunteer opportunities available to students.
One of the on-campus volunteer opportunities promoted was the Food Recovery Network, a national organization with chapters across the country. Dahlia Kraus and Ritika Nayan, students at the University of Utah, volunteer with the group and organized the event.
Nayan, who works with the Food Recovery Network as a partnership liaison, said the event was important for the organization because its volunteer numbers have been lower than normal since COVID-19 began spreading there. two and a half years old.
“So hopefully by filing and just spreading the word, we get more people to show up,” Nayan said.
The organization’s website notes that “Food Recovery Network is the largest student movement fighting food waste and working to end hunger in America.”
Kraus, who works as a food services sustainability intern, explained that the organization’s goal is to eliminate food waste on campus by donating food that will be wasted to the Salt Rescue Mission. Lake, a multi-site homeless shelter that works with the U Food Services and the Food Recovery Network.
“We go to the mess halls and collect any leftovers they have that are going to go to waste,” Kraus said. “We pack it in our own containers, weigh it, label it, and then transport it to the rescue mission.” If food waste from the dining hall cannot be reused for another meal, such as using leftover rice to make a stir-fry, it is donated to the shelter.
There were also several tables set up in the middle of the ballroom where students and other willing attendees could sit and make a yarn hat using a special type of loom to donate to The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake.
Henrie said she felt the first Volunteer Connection Fair was a success.
“In the first 50 minutes, we registered 52 people,” Henrie said. “I think people are definitely interested. And it’s good to see them walking around and talking.
The Volunteer Connection Fair will now take place every year.