Archived Story

A call to students and service

Published 9:43am Thursday, October 8, 2009

Students at Lake Michigan College and members of the Niles community came out to the Bertrand Crossings Campus Wednesday for a volunteer fair being presented through a partnership of the college and the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan. The fair was a three day event taking place at three of the college's campuses.
Students at Lake Michigan College and members of the Niles community came out to the Bertrand Crossings Campus Wednesday for a volunteer fair being presented through a partnership of the college and the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan. The fair was a three day event taking place at three of the college's campuses.

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

It was a resounding call to service.

In their first such event, the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan partnered with Lake Michigan College for a series of volunteer fairs that brought in prospective volunteers by the hundreds.

Nonprofit, governmental and faith-based agencies including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass, Representatives of Earned Income Tax Coalition, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, the Buchanan Art Center and many others.

The fair was held over the course of three days at LMC’s Benton Harbor and South Haven locations and its final day at the Bertrand Crossings Campus in Niles.

“Many individuals want to volunteer they just don’t know where to go and how,” said John Selmon, executive dean of student services for LMC at the Napier campus.

Selmon estimated 20 total agencies were on campus Wednesday, signing up volunteers. Close to 30 agencies participated in the fair at each of the other campuses and he estimated close to 300 prospective volunteers made their way to the Napier campus in Benton Harbor and close to 100 arrived at both South Haven and the Bertrand Crossings Campus.

The services varied from domestic violence to safety and business oriented organizations.

Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan, Doris Higgins, couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Though the fair was developed with the hopes that it would engage students in the act of service, Higgins said opportunities were available to the public as a whole in order not to leave anyone out.
Through the program, which Higgins said she hopes to make an annual event, Higgins said she also hopes to recognize an outstanding agency and individual for the service done that was initiated by the fair held this week.

Selmon said the opportunity is not only a lasting one, but one that ties into the focus of the college.
“Make a life, make a living, make a contribution in the communities in which they live,” he said.

That, he said, is the spirit of the fair and the goals of Lake Michigan College, “to create a culture of service here.”

For more information contact the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan at (269) 683-5464 in Niles or (269) 983-0912 in St. Joseph.

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