Community fair promotes networking and volunteering

Last Tuesday, a fair of organizations occurred at MavAve. Students were offered different volunteer opportunities, networking with the local community and various gifts from organizations visiting Minnesota State. 

Ten organizations visited MSU with various offers for students, including internships, volunteer opportunities and a simple friendly community.

One of the organizations present was Partners for Housing. According to the executive director, Trisha Anderson, they have two emergency shelters located in Mankato and St. Paul. The organization helps people with housing problems. Anderson said they already have experience working with MSU students.

“We actually get quite a few MSU students throughout the year that need to fulfill volunteer hours and we have multiple opportunities to work at events or within our shelters,” said Anderson. 

She said volunteering is not only crucial for students but helpful for nonprofit organizations.

“I think it’s actually absolutely vital for students to volunteer with community partners, like partners for housing and other nonprofit organizations in the Mankato area. It gives them an idea of community members that are facing housing instability, food insecurity, or other needs throughout our community. Nonprofits rely on the hours and the time commitment from volunteers in order to operate at our fullest,” said Anderson.

Many nonprofit organizations are not only positively affecting members of the local community but also solving ecological problems. One organization that works with the environment visited MSU as well. Jessica Drummond, education and outreach coordinator at Great River Greening, said the organization has many goals.

“Great River Greening does ecological restoration work. We are mainly working with farmers who have portions of their land that they want to restore to prairie or historical ecosystems that existed pre-European settlement,” said Drummond. “We do different types of work in the Mankato area and then the North Central Region. It just depends on what the ecological need is.”

Freshman Grace Whaley said she finds this volunteering opportunity interesting and helpful.

“This is something I’m interested in because, for a few years, I went to a school called the School of Environmental Studies. And there I learned about my passion for the earth,” said Whaley. 

Volunteer opportunities and networking are the experiences that allow students to broaden the horizon of their education and personal skills such as communication and leadership. Drummond believes it is not only a good addition to a resume but also a life-changing experience.

“I volunteered as a student and you get a lot of experience out of it. They always say ‘it looks good on a resume,’ which it does, but it also adds value to you as a human along with educational opportunities,” said Drummond. 

Header photo: A variety of community organizations gathered in the MavAve to promote networking opportunities and events that students could volunteer in throughout the surrounding communities. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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