Internships, volunteer hours, and community involvement are just some of the things that students need and want during their time at school. Many students have a hard time finding these opportunities because they do not know where to look or they do not know that the opportunities even exist. Meanwhile, community organizations are wondering how they can get students involved with their projects.
"I didn't even know what was out there. There are so many options for everyone," said Roberto Mora, third year Business major at Sonoma State University.
When asked, most students will say that they need an internship or volunteer hours for graduation or simply that they want to to involved. Most departments have a list of organizations that they support and past students have collaborated with. However, the lists are not exhaustive and more and more community organizations are reaching out in need of student help.
Community partners are satisfied with the student interns and volunteers they recruit from the Fair. "We just held our orientation for the new junior board and our 3 Interns are a great addition to the team," says Rae Lewis of Chicuchas Wasi.
Several organizations, such as CalSERVES, look to students in the Social Sciences for help. Since social science is so broad, many students are able to find an organization to work with. According to Connie Aust from the Council on Aging, "If you're interested in social work, Council on Aging's internship is perfect for that because you get to know the different government programs as well as nonprofits in Sonoma County. And then we can lead you on to Masters programs."
Some organizations are looking for help even beyond the internship; hiring students out of internships to part-time of full time positions and giving students the opportunity for greater experience. For example, Greenacre Homes & Schools is a nonprofit home and school for young boys and men ages 8-22 that offers paid internships.
[Related: Get Involved: Positive Images]
The Service & Internship Fair is where students and the community get to know each other and find out each others' needs. Many organizations say that they do not look for any majors in particular, but instead say that they can mold job duties around the skills of students who come to them. Positive Images (PI) for example, an organization that provides support for LGBTQ youth and young adults, accepts students of all majors so that they can get a wide range of skills from places they might not have thought of recruiting. This is great for students who believe that their major limits what internships they can get.
You can check out more pictures from this year's Fair.