University of North Georgia (UNG) students looking to engage with the community through volunteering, service-learning and internships will have the opportunity on Sept. 24 to network with more than 50 organizations at the sixth annual Volunteer Fair, hosted by the College of Arts & Letters on UNG's Gainesville Campus.
UNG was one of the first public universities in Georgia to earn the prestigious Community Engagement Classification from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which promotes service-learning and community partnerships and the many ways they can enhance the educational experience.
Dr. Mary Carney, director for UNG's Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership, said community-based learning is important because it brings abstract concepts to life through real-world experiences.
"Community engagement is a cornerstone of UNG's mission, and the Volunteer Fair is an invaluable tool in helping us to fulfill that mission," Carney said. "The event orchestrates a win-win for all those involved, as our students get the opportunity to work with knowledgeable and caring professionals, and the organizations gain much-needed temporary helpers with the desire to learn and make an impact."
This year's fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building and will include community service providers from nonprofit, private and governmental realms.
Dr. George Danns, professor of sociology at UNG, has coordinated the Volunteer Fair each year, and said the event and the opportunities it offers continue to grow.
"Many programs require students to complete service-learning hours and internships related to their majors. This event, which is the only one of its kind in the region, connects students with community organizations to fulfill that requirement," Danns said. "The Volunteer Fair is part of a pedagogy of engagement that brings the community to the campus and takes the campus to the community. The fair also expands the economic impact of UNG in the community by availing participating agencies innumerable volunteer hours provided by our students."
This past year, national and local organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Humane Society, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, and the Hall County Sheriff's Department participated, and are expected to be present again this year. To watch a video with highlights from this past year's event, visit: https://video.ung.edu/Watch/m7M5FjBz.