Global Service Fair
As part of the global effort to create a more culturally and ethnically conscious world community, International Education Week takes place every year in November in classrooms from New York to Delhi. Spirited by this mission, Binghamton University’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) hosted its first-ever Global Service Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 19. The goal of the three-hour event was to provide students, faculty and staff with connections to groups and projects that support or engage in global service initiatives.
Among the student organizations represented, Corazon de Dahlia, a group that supports a community center in rural Peru, and Microfinance Connection, which raises money for micro loans to impoverished entrepreneurs in developing nations, had two of the most crowded tables. Some of the initiatives which students could volunteer for included fundraising on campus, international service trips, internships and more. In all, 15 area organizations, service-oriented student groups, and Binghamton University departments and offices were represented.
In addition to campus groups, the Global Service Fair also featured two community organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people overseas. The Gikurri Goat Project, based out of St. Anthony of Padua’s parish in Endicott, travels to and raises funds for microfinance projects in the village of Gikuuri, Kenya. Robert Aagre’s Burma School Project, which helps fund a medical clinic in Bagan, Myanmar, and provides much-needed school supplies to impoverished children, was brimming with interested students throughout the duration of the fair.
“It was a very successful event for our Project,” says Aagre. “I had 19 students sign up to volunteer. The quality of student dedication was very high. One student who graduates in the Spring, and will be taking a gap year prior to med school, is considering spending it at the Road to Mandalay Clinic volunteer program in Burma. The Student Red Cross e-board also hopes to be active with our acetaminophen program.”
Student feedback was also very positive and many indicated that they made valuable connections with local community organizations and student groups that are working to make global change happen. According to exit surveys completed by 120 respondents, about 95% indicated that they were moderately to very satisfied with the event overall and that the information they received was useful. Almost 83% expect to become involved with an organization or group they connected with at the event.
Allison Alden, CCE director, was extremely pleased with the event overall and the turnout, which exceeded 200. “It was our first time hosting this event, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. There seems to be very high enthusiasm for global service projects on this campus, so we intend to learn from this year’s event and host one that’s even bigger and better in 2014.”