Simpson hosts first National Service Fair Thursday

by Hanna Russmann/Staff Writer

Simpson College hosts its first National Service Fair today at 12:30 p.m. in the Brenton Student Center Gallery.The National Service Fair is designed to highlight opportunities and temporary career options available for students after they graduate. Organizations at the fair will include AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps and City Year. Many Simpson alumni will be at the fair today to represent the different organizations. It is one of the fair’s top priorities to inform students about these organizations and the process of getting involved with them.The fair is also a way to get students involved in giving back to other people, their communities and their country after college.”We like to promote this stuff as a way to think about, rather than going right into a career, giving back a little bit,” Jim Hayes, associate dean and director of the Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning said.Service learning also gives students a break once they are out of college. During the year or two that a student is in a service learning program, student loans are deferred, room and board is paid, students receive health insurance, and in some cases a receive a small salary.Hayes also believes that students can only benefit from doing service learning when look for a job. Now, service learning is more important than ever with the current job market situation.”If you do this for a year, I think it will make your resume stand out, you will develop your skills along the way and you will do some incredible stuff, in addition to helping other people,” Hayes said.Students also build leadership skills, problem-solving skills and work environment experience, when working in service learning.This fair is for all students who have questions about the process of applying and becoming involved with all of the different types of service learning.  Hayes said that the fair is being put on by student demand.”Students want this to happen,” Hayes said.The National Service Fair is a place where students can have their questions answered about service by the Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning and the organizations that will be there.Sophomore Abby Loudon, never considered doing anything involving service learning. However, she is interested in it because of some work her friend did with service learning.”I had a friend that did (service learning), and I have heard some good stories so I would be interested in the fair,” Loudon said.Junior Shayna Calkins, is very interested in service learning because she is an education major and some national service organizations, like AmeriCorps, have teaching opportunities.”I am in the education program to be a teacher,” Calkins said. “I went to the forum event about Teach for America, and I thought that was really admirable.”Calkins is also planning to attend the fair today to learn more about different organizations and the fact she likes what the organizations do for others.”I am really interested in the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps and leaving those options open,” Calkins said. “All the service learning opportunities seem very humanitarian to me.”