Belmont students and employees networked with Nashville nonprofit organizations Wednesday during the Community Connections Fair. The fair is designed to flood Belmont’s campus with information and people from community organizations to share volunteer opportunities.
“It is really important for students to get what is going on in the community and for people to participate,” said Polina Sologub, a sophomore from Ukrane studying international economics. She took interest in the Lupus Foundation of America after a family member was stricken with cancer. She now volunteers for the foundation’s Mid-South Chapter and worked at its booth during the Community Connections Fair to encourage her peers to also get involved.
“Volunteering will help the organization to grow, and the organization helps patients to grow,” Sologub said.
More than 60 nonprofit organizations throughout Middle Tennessee set up booths in Neely Hall, including Monroe Harding, Nashville CARES, Conexion Americas and Sports 4 All Foundation.
“We host this fair annually because a lot of students want to know about opportunities to volunteer in the community, to encourage faculty to find partners for service learning and to give the entire campus an opportunity to learn about where their charitable contributions go in the community,” said Tim Stewart, director of service learning. “And the organizations here benefit so much from the opportunity to meet and network with other nonprofits in the community.”
The fair also gives students an opportunity to apply skills they learn in the classroom in a hands-on setting, such as marketing, public relations and education.
“In a lot of nonprofits, you have one person wearing a lot of hats, so we really rely on students and volunteers to help us with our work in the community,” said Belmont alumna Liz Zinke (’07), now walk coordinator for the Mid-South Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America.