Saluki Volunteer Corp more than it seems

By Gus Bode

Students make a difference, enhance resumes

Factoid:Students interested in volunteering can contact Mythili Rundblad at 453-5714, or stop by the Student Development office on the third floor of the Student Center.

Tammi Skalitzky has been volunteering since she was 5 years old, when she gathered coats for the homeless and worked in soup kitchens with her parents.

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Today, Skalitzky, a graduate student in forestry from Rockford, works in Student Development for the Saluki Volunteer Corps. She is continuing her services and building a strong resum that will look good when she leaves school.

My parents would take me to volunteer and I, in turn, kept them involved when they stopped doing it, she said. [Volunteering] is a big part of our family.

Skalitzky is one of nearly 2,000 SIUC students who volunteer their time and effort at thousands of events each year. Some of the work, such as food drives, is assembled by the students themselves, but counts toward the hours in the Saluki Volunteer Corps.

The SVC’s goal is to promote social and civic responsibility while encouraging students to volunteer in campus and community service programs.

Students not only receive the satisfaction of helping their city and others, but they can build a stronger resum in their field of study by putting in as many volunteer hours as they can each year.

Most students put in at least one or two volunteer hours each week, but all are encouraged to put in at least 30 during their time at SIUC. It’s not required, but it makes Mythili Rundblad’s job easier when it comes time to put together letters of recommendation.

Rundblad is the coordinator of Student Development at SIUC and directs the SVC. She said students from every major are involved in volunteering and there are no set lists of what will count as a credible volunteer act.

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We don’t impose what a student has to do, Rundblad said. It’s their choice. As long as they let me know about the event ahead of time and fill out a form, it isn’t a problem.

Rundblad explained that most events count as community service, but some are questionable, because students are often paid or rewarded outside of SVC for the work they have done. Events that are set up to raise money for Registered Student Organizations, plasma donations and community services done as a condition of sanction, such as a criminal sentence, are not acceptable SVC activities. Most other volunteer work is fair game.

All students have to do to get in on the volunteer gig is go over to the Student Development office and sign their name on a sheet to become active. They are then under no obligation to do any set number of volunteer hours and will not be coerced into doing any. They will, however, be e-mailed various events worthy of volunteering for and encouraged to come up with their own ideas.

It’s a chance for them to develop many skills like leadership and decision-making skills, as well as help out for a good cause, Rundblad said.

Building homes for the less fortunate and bowling with kids are just a couple examples of what Skalitzky and nearly 2,000 SIUC students do to enhance their future resums each year.

Skalitzky has been volunteering at SVC since her freshman year, and long before on her own. She hopes to continue helping others and communities by becoming a forest ranger and giving tours to groups of people.

Upcoming events students can volunteer for include Bowl For Kids’ Sake, Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics. Students interested should contact Rundblad for more information.

By volunteering their time to better the community and the lives of others, members of the Saluki Volunteer Corps say volunteering has taught them many valuable lessons.

I volunteer because it makes a difference, however small, in someone’s life, Skalitzky said.

Reporter Brian Peach can be reached at [email protected]

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