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Nevada students learn and serve across the globe



An increasing number of students at the University of Nevada, Reno are getting involved with public service both locally and abroad. Twenty Nevada alumni are currently volunteers with the Peace Corps, making Nevada one of the top-25 schools in the country for number of alumni in service. The University ranks just behind Yale University on the list and is tied with Emory and Brown Universities.

As the number of student volunteers increases, so do the number of opportunities to serve, and students can take advantage of them at the College of Businessupcoming career fair on March 31. Forty-five companies are currently registered to participate, and that number is expected to grow before the event. Many will be looking for students willing to volunteer.

AmeriCorps VISTA, a federal program that fights poverty in the United States by enriching education and providing vocational training, will attend the fair, as will the Northern Nevada International Center. The regional office of the Peace Corps will have a booth, as well as offer an informational session from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 31 at REI in Reno.

Jane Bessette, director of career services for the College of Business, also recommends students talk to the U.S. Army and Navy booths about civilian service and attend the networking reception from 4 to 6 p.m. March 30 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Great Room. Other service opportunities can be found on campus through the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), which sends students to study-abroad programs in 25 different countries and launched a service-learning project this spring through its Bangalore, India program. The project will expand to USAC’s Ghana program this summer.

According to Bessette, the volunteer opportunities provide unique benefits to students who take advantage of them.

“Any work is a chance to gain skills and contacts,” she said. “These groups give you the chance to do something great, to feel good about yourself, and help your career at the same time.”

University of Nevada, Reno alumnus Christopher Moore knows firsthand the benefits of service work. As an undergraduate student studying international affairs and Spanish, he studied abroad in Spain, Mexico and China, where he volunteered with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and traveled to Guatemala on a Habitat for Humanity trip.

His volunteer work, which continued after his graduation in 2002 with a trip to a refugee camp in Ghana and a Habitat for Humanity trip to Ethiopia, earned him a full-ride rotary scholarship to graduate school in Queensland, Australia to study peace studies and conflict resolution.

“[Volunteering] has opened up opportunities for me as far as my career goes,” said Moore, who is currently applying for development jobs in Africa and hopes to eventually work with the United Nations. “It’s given me experience and contacts.”

For more information about the upcoming career fair on March 31, go to http://www.unr.edu/cn/index.aspx?id=career_fair.

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