Festival ISU looked a bit different this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Student organizations and campus units were out on the Quad on four different days as opposed to the traditional, single-day event.
Student organizations and campus units focusing on civic engagement were featured on September 3 as part of Civic Engagement Day at Festival ISU. The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) also took part that day, along with many of its community partners.
Civic Engagement Day was a great way for students to learn about the importance of civic engagement and find out ways they can help in their community. Representatives from 34 local nonprofit organizations had the opportunity to talk to students about their volunteer and internship opportunities.
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS) attended Festival ISU to encourage students to volunteer to help local children stay on the right path. “We serve families and youth who have had some minor involvement with police, school resource officers, or kids that have some acting-out behaviors,” said Donnelle Pressburger, comprehensive advisement team coordinator for the Center for Youth and Family Solutions. “Our overall goal is to take them off the trajectory that they are heading and allow for them to build stronger relationships that they need to grow. Kids struggle with that right now, so they need someone to invest in them and advocate for them.”
Any students interested in volunteering as a mentor for CYFS should contact Pressburger.
The Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal was also interested in finding students to fill volunteer roles, along with some paid positions.
“There are always volunteer opportunities working with kids and we are newly advertising some administration, leadership, and event-planning volunteer opportunities,” said Gabriela Soto, development coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club.
“Any students that volunteer will create meaningful connections with the kids by implementing our pillars: education and STEM, healthy lifestyles, good character, citizenship and service learning, teen service and career exploration, and arts and culture.”
Any students interested in volunteering at the Boys and Girls club can contact Soto.
While the League of Women Voters of McLean County also had volunteer opportunities for students, that wasn’t their primary focus at Festival ISU. “We are very interested in making sure ISU students are aware of the importance of civic engagement in the form of registering to vote, voting in all elections, local and national, and encouraging their fellow students in their network to vote,” said Faith Russell, vice president of League of Women Voters (LWV) in McLean County.
LWV is also looking to recruit more college and high school students to help make a change. “We have three volunteer opportunities that would work for ISU students,” Russell said. “One is on membership recruitment, where students would work with us to figure out how to communicate with the ISU community and high school students who we can educate on the importance of registering to vote.
“We also have an opportunity for fundraising event planning for some activities we have coming up later this year, and then we have a research opportunity where we would like an ISU student to work with us on identifying voter priorities for the League’s work in our community.”
Any students interested in learning more about the voting process or volunteer opportunities can look on the LWV website. Illinois State also offers election-related resources through the Redbird Voter Guide.
The McLean County Museum of History has a variety of volunteer opportunities and student internships available.
“There are opportunities to volunteer in our collections, working with artifacts, condition reporting, inventory, and research,” said Rachael Masa, director of volunteers and interns for the museum. “We also have volunteer opportunities in the education department, leading student tours and field trips through the galleries.”
“We have a visitor’s center and a Cruisin’ with Lincoln on Route 66 Visitor’s Center where we need volunteers to be our visitor center receptionist. We also have a library reference desk where we need library assistants.”
According to Masa, the museum also has a lot of fun activities and programs planned. For more information on events and volunteer opportunities, visit the museum’s website. They also have a handful of internship opportunities available, so any students interested should contact Masa.
There are many organizations around campus and Bloomington-Normal that are eager to work with students. Find out more information about CCE’s community partners and their current volunteer needs on the CCE website.