The Volunteer Center encourages faculty and staff to roll up their sleeves and make a difference in the Springfield community by planning and implementing volunteer and civic engagement projects. Below are some initial ways you can get involved and means by which we can assist you in the process.
We are always looking for faculty/staff serve as leaders for service projects. Your engagement with students outside of the classroom is linked to many positive benefits for students. If there is an ongoing service project, or an upcoming event that you would like to serve as a group leader for, we would love to have you. Additionally, we are always seeking volunteers to help with the annual Springfest Service Project. Please contact us to make these arrangements.
Many faculty and staff overlook the important role they can take in promoting student engagement in service. One of the easiest ways to do this is to promote service opportunities in your classes. We encourage you to promote any of our upcoming events in your courses. Alternatively, we are willing to send a representative from our office to come to your class and give a brief presentation about service and the opportunities available at UIS.
If you want your entire class to participate in a one-time/episodic event you can sign your class up to participate in one of our upcoming events, or you can collaborate with Volunteer Center in advance of the course to create an episodic class project just for your course.
If you want the students’ service to be integrated into the course curriculum, please consider contacting the UIS Service-Learning Program to establish your course as a Service-Learning course within their guidelines. Service-Learning course provide students with a meaningful volunteer experience which allows them to gain a greater perspective and understanding of the community and themselves.
In the spring of 2012, the Leadership for Life Program was organized into five committees. Each committee has a focus area and is led by a student with an interest in that area. The focus areas are public health, sustainability, hunger and homelessness, youth and education, and civic engagement. If you are interested in serving as a mentor to a committee chair or participating in the planning process for one of the committees’ projects please contact us directly and we can coordinate a meeting with you and the chair of that focus area.
The Volunteer Center keeps a directory of service based organizations as well as a list of current volunteer opportunities. These resources can be a good start in finding a community partner and creating a service opportunity for students. If you have a project or community partner in mind, the Volunteer Center can help you reach out to this partner and set up a site visit. We can also help you work through logistic issues associated with service.
If you are looking for more information and research on service in post-secondary education, we suggest starting with Campus Compact’s (2003) text “Introduction to Service-Learning Toolkit: Readings and Resources for Faculty (2nd Editon).” This good, easy read to help provide some context for how implement service in higher education. If you are interested in further readings, here is a list of additional resources to help get you started.