K-State gives funds, support to new volunteer center
Contributed by Kim Frazier, Volunteer Center assistant coordinator
In spring 2007 the Student Governing Association recognized the value of partnerships between university and community organizations. They approved funding for the creation of a new volunteer center, the first of its kind in Manhattan. Today, only three percent of volunteer centers in the country are a division or program of a university.
K-State hopes to serve as a national model for campus-based volunteer centers.
The volunteer center will be run by student coordinators with the support of other staff. The first employees will be hired this semester. They will work to develop and maintain positive relationships between the 437 registered student associations, clubs, organizations, and various community agencies throughout Manhattan. The volunteer center will serve as a resource for volunteer-organization connection by means of a web-based matching program that will allow community members to search for opportunities to serve in Manhattan.
The new center, housed within the university's civic leadership, is an affiliate of the National Volunteer Network which is supported by the Points of Light Foundation. This year Manhattan was one of 10 communities chosen nationwide to receive the support of the Points of Light Foundation. In mid-July, members of the start-up team attended the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Philadelphia. They attended a start-up academy, specifically designed to assist in the beginning stages of creating a new volunteer center.
Currently, K-State is the only financial supporter of the center, but they hope to involve the city of Manhattan as well.
The K-State Volunteer Center will provide other services such as volunteer training and other community service opportunities such as Community Service Week. These unique services will empower and enable local citizens to get involved and work together to find solutions for community issues.