Non-profits seek Bauer volunteers

Recruiters at the Bauer College of Business searched for students to work for them for free as the college hosted its first volunteer expo on Tuesday at Melcher Hall.

‘Part of our efforts today was to raise awareness and for us to get to know the organizations,’ Frank Kelley, assistant dean of undergraduate business programs, said.

Business student activities advisor Stephanie Krauss said the organizations represented at the expo either have a business focus or have worked with Bauer before.
‘This is mainly for recruiting,’ Krauss said. ‘We don’t want to get in the habit of this being another career fair. We want to keep this volunteer-based.’

Krauss used the Web site to enlist the non-profit organizations.’ She said when business students write personal mission statements, they identify areas of interests, which will be considered in expanding the expo in the future.

‘We’re looking for organizations with a proven track record, especially if they’re out of the Houston area,’ Kelley said.

Krauss said about 150 students attended the expo, which serves as an opportunity for them to venture outside of their comfort zones.’

Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that trains college volunteers to be mentors and tutors to children from kindergarten to 12th grade, gives business students a chance to use the objectives they learn in the classroom.

Junior Achievement operations manager Saprina Richards said volunteers receive training to give classroom instruction on financial skills.

‘We teach kids about things we didn’t learn in school. We’re taught to go to school, graduate and get a job. We’re not taught how to save and spend our money, so we’re teaching kids about financial principles,’ she said.

Richards said potential volunteers are thoroughly prepared to instruct the children.

‘We train them and give them all the materials,’ Richards said. ‘We make sure they’re comfortable to teach the kids.’

Richards said volunteers are never alone in the classroom without the children’s teacher and visit each class five times. She said UH has several professors who volunteered with Junior Achievement as students.

Other organizations represented at the expo were entirely new to the University.

Garden Play Project is a non-profit group based in Kemah, which builds playgrounds for special needs children.

Project leader Sheila Thorne said Kemah is still recovering from Hurricane Ike damage.

‘There’s still a lot of cleanup,’ Thorne said.

Some of the damaged areas include playgrounds, which Thorne wants to adapt into areas accessible to special needs children.

‘The playgrounds and the garden beds are going to be raised so an elderly person or a child in a wheelchair can still reach in and play with the dirt,’ Thorne said.

Thorne also stated volunteering with Garden Play Project could function as a business venture model for students.

‘The students can learn economics of the business,’ Throne said.’ ‘What’s your labor? Did you really make a profit selling the product?’

Thorne said she is encouraged by the response she received from students at the expo. She said several students wanted to propose volunteering with the group to their student organizations.’

‘We couldn’t be happier,’ she said.

Leave a Comment