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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer

Center for Social Concerns hosts annual postgraduate service fair

The Postgraduate Service and Social Impact Fair will be taking place in the Joyce Center on Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m.

The fair, which is hosted by the Center for Social Concerns, is an opportunity for any student with an interest in potentially pursuing a service job after graduation to meet, get to know and network with service organizations in a wide variety of fields.

70 different organization are attending the fair, 18 of which are international. Attending organizations include the Peace Corps, Teach for America and the Catholic Volunteer Network.

At the fair, students with an interest in service will be able to talk to representatives for different service groups and organizations to learn more about what postgraduate service looks like, and opportunities to participate in the field of social service.

Karen Manier, who helped plan the event and is the Center for Social Concerns lead coordinator for postgraduate discernment, said that event is open to students of all ages and from all fields.

“Probably a majority of the people there will be seniors and juniors trying to identify opportunities for after graduation, but obviously the sooner the better, because when you start to get a sense for the range of organizations that are out there it gives you time to really fully engage in the discernment process,” she said. “So if you’re a first-year student or a sophomore and you think you might want to do service after school, then it would be great to just come by and talk to some of the groups with no pressure attached.”

Manier said that in the last couple years, around seven percent of Notre Dame’s graduating classes have entered into service or social impact work, which she said is a great way for a person to discern what they would like to pursue in life.

“Postgraduate service is a great sort of stepping-stone to a job, career path or grad school because it gives you a chance to try something out and see if you like that kind of work,” Manier said.

In keeping with the idea of service as a method of discernment, the fair has invited service organizations from a wide variety of fields in order to give as many students as possible to opportunity to pursue or try areas they are interested in, while still serving the world and making a difference. Service in areas such as immigration, refugee relocation, restorative justice and education are common, but service opportunities also exist in areas like ministry, healthcare, administration and communications, social services and various forms of international service.

“I've never seen doing a year of service or two work against someone in terms of their marketability,” Mainer said. “It's a great way to explore your interests as well as make a difference for others.”