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Volunteer Street Fair and Majors Fair inhabit Baker University Center

On Oct. 2, Baker University Center was the site of the annual Majors Fair and the Volunteer Street Fair. The events took place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Here is a look at the highlights:

Volunteer Street Fair

The Volunteer Street Fair, which was sponsored by the Campus Involvement Center, hosted a number of community service groups, including Athens County Children Services, Good Works and the Ohio University Community Service Leadership Council among others.

Students could walk through the fair and find a community service opportunity that appealed to their interests. Sophomore Julia Miller stopped by the fair on her way to work and found herself drawn to the different opportunities.

"I think it's kind of hard to get information on volunteer opportunities and this was a great way to get information in a really quick run through way," said Miller.

Not only were students getting information, but their peers were also informing others about community service opportunities.

Athens Student Action (ASA), a new organization sponsored by the College of Health Sciences and Professions, serves as a database for volunteer opportunities.

"The website is a great tool to use," said graduate student Tana Reynolds, coordinator of ASA. "Volunteering is a super great experience, especially in our area because we have such a huge population of people who need help and service."

Each organization was committed to the common goal of educating students and recruiting them to serve the community.

Chelsea Goettge, executive director of the Appalachia Progressive Education Center and an Ohio University alumna, gave students an opportunity to volunteer by working with kids in a creative environment. The Appalachia Progressive Education Center offers an afterschool art program and a summer camp for children at Arts West. The program brings in artists to teach children a diverse set of skills.

"Athens County is the poorest county in Ohio and art programs are almost non-existent," said Goettge. "We are giving kids a chance to be creative and think creatively, but also learn a practical skill so they can fit into the economy of the region."

Robert Miesser, an intern with the Good Earth Farm, gave students the chance to be a part of the food production process at the farm.

"If you think about poverty in Athens, about 30 percent of the county has to make decisions between putting gas in their cars and having food on the table. The farm grows and produces organically and donates 10,000 pounds of produce to food pantries each year," said Miesser.

Students can come to the farm on Saturdays and contribute to the initiative by weeding, planting or harvesting.

Majors Fair

Inside of the Baker University Center at the top of the escalators were two learning community peer mentors directing students to the Majors Fair.

"The Major's Fair is really important for learning communities because a lot of freshmen aren't really sure where they're going to go at this point. All majors have representatives there so students can get more information and even begin to change their major right on the spot. That's a huge draw to the fair," said Caitlin Stone, a peer mentor for the Communications Learning Community.

Students were able to learn about what the University's different departments have to offer, from majors, minors and certificates, while asking professionals about their current academic tracks.

"I have gotten a lot out of the Majors Fair," said freshman Jhana-Rae Cole. "I've talked to a lot of different people. I'm in the College of Business, but I'm also interested in psychology. I talked to someone at the Psychology Department stand and they were able to tell me that business and psychology are good mergers and that would be a good thing to work toward."

Faculty, staff and students banded together to help inquiring students with the important information of deciding their academic course.

"We don't want people to major in something that doesn't grab them," said English Undergraduate Director and Associate Professor Beth Quitslund. "Any college major is going to be most successful for students if they're really excited about it. So if this isn't their passion we want to help them find what is."