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UIS part of first “episodic” volunteer initiative

October 28, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - The University of Illinois at Springfield and Lincoln Land Community College are jointly sponsoring a volunteer initiative designed to provide volunteer opportunities that don’t require much time.  In fact, a commitment of as little as two hours a year is just fine with the creators of Springfield Cares, the first “episodic” volunteer program for the Springfield community.

Related Links

Springfield Cares Website

In partnership with the City of Springfield, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Project, and the United Way of Central Illinois, UIS and LLCC hope to draw people from all sectors of the community to work together to provide solutions and help those in need.  The goal of the program is to make it easier to match volunteers with needs that take less time.

“This initiative is an excellent example of how higher education and the Springfield community can work together to make this city a better place to live and work,” said UIS Provost Michael Cheney. “UIS is very eager to help support volunteer activity in this community and to join with our partners to build bonds of goodwill.”

The glue that holds the program together is Betty McLean, coordinator of student volunteers and service learning at UIS, and coordinator of the Community Volunteer Center at LLCC. “This initiative is about building bridges and creating a four-lane highway between LLCC and UIS and with our community,” McLean said.

She said that many not-for-profit agencies and organizations and educational institutions will have numerous volunteer opportunities that can be accessed from LLCC’s volunteer center website. UIS faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to check out the website for short-term opportunities to help out in the community.

The concept of “episodic” volunteering is consistent with the results of the benchmark survey released in 2001 by the Illinois Civic Engagement Project, which revealed that many people feel too busy to volunteer or be involved in their communities.  As a result, the project advised that people be asked to volunteer for a specific task for a limited amount of time.  The project was housed in the Center for State Policy and Leadership and involved two units of the Center -- Illinois Issues and the Survey Research Office. 

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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