Thursday, September 12, 2013

[085] Nonprofits recruit MTSU students at Volunteer Fair

MURFREESBORO — MTSU junior Kiera Corn registered to perform community service for the Environmental Health and Safety Services Stormwater Program Tuesday (Sept. 3) during the annual Volunteer Fair.

“It’s never too late to get a little involved, helping the environment and community,” said Corn, an interior design major from Old Hickory, Tenn.

Corn was not aware of the stormwater program, which partners with the city of Murfreesboro to improve the quality of surface waters by reducing the amount of pollutants in runoff water.

“This is our big day,” said Cynthia Allen, a stormwater coordinator, mentioning that nearly 50 people had registered a little more than two hours into the four-hour Volunteer Fair. “This and CUSTOMS gives us the most volunteers for our program.”

Allen added that the fair is a good way to partner with community members who are here.”

Leadership and Service Director Jackie Victory said about 30 nonprofit agencies attended the fair, which was held outside in the Student Union Common.

“It is a really great opportunity for our students to be able to meet different people in the community, to see what the needs are in Rutherford County, be able to learn about their mission and purpose and be able to support those initiatives while they are here in school, so it’s a great partnership that we have,” Victory said.

Habitat for Humanity, the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, Boys and Girls Clubs, Read to Succeed, the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, the Kittrell Volunteer Fire Department, Greenhouse Ministries and the new Volunteer Rutherford were among the agencies recruiting MTSU students as volunteers.

For Volunteer Rutherford founder and CEO Becky Lanham, participating in the Volunteer Fair was part of its Sept. 1 public launch.

Lanham said her organization, whose website is, “serves as a connector between nonprofits and the community.”

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how Volunteer Rutherford can get more students involved in the community,” Lanham said. “Say there is a student who is going to be here this weekend and not have anything to do, they can go on the site and click on event calendar and see if there’s opportunities with different agencies to volunteer, whether it be for an event or for a fundraiser.

“They also can go and browse and find different ways to get involved with all the different agencies in Rutherford County that may not be date specific, just be by their interest. If someone wants to get involved with animals, the elderly, they can search all those things on the website as well and be a really good resource for students to get involved off the campus in the community.”

Sophomore Katlyn Burton of Spring Hill, Tenn., an early childhood education and family studies major, said event organizers “should do it more often.”

Jordan Thurman, a freshman interior design major from Spring Hill, visited The Salvation Army booth with Burton and said she “likes the whole idea of serving a meal. It helps you get more involved in the community and meet more people.”

Michelle Rozell, coordinator of volunteer resources for Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s organization in Nashville, said this was MADD’s first time to attend the MTSU fair and they plan to be involved in other campuses.

“We’re trying to grow and this is one of the areas where we’re trying to grow,” said Rozell, who added that more than 300 people died in automobile accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2012.

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