SF State nonprofit fair showcases volunteer, internship and employment opportunities

Students who think looking for a job or internship can be tedious task need not look further than the SF State Institute for Civic and Community Engagement Nonprofit Agency Fair Feb. 8 and 9.

The event will be held in the Cesar Chavez Student Center’s main quad, and is one of many events hosted by the Community Service Learning Program.  It will showcase roughly 50 organizations who are on the lookout for volunteers, interns and employees.

“I am excited for the students to meet face-to-face with our community partners and to see firsthand the commitment and passion of the work that they do and the services they provide to the community,” said Jennifer Gasang, senior program coordinator for ICCE.

Although new nonprofit agencies attend the fair each semester, this time students will have the chance to discuss internship opportunities with city agencies and elected officials. This includes the San Francisco Department of Environment and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is also looking for a policy intern to work his legislation, according to CSL Associate Director Perla Barrientos.

Gasang noted that the ICCE has also made new adjustments to the arrangements of the fair. This time, the nonprofits will be grouped together according to their primary services so that students can easily connect with the organizations they are most interested in.

“(The fair) provides an opportunity for students that may enhance their academic life,” said Barrientos. “It provides an opportunity to see all the job possibilities once they graduate from SF State.”

While many students may think they can’t find the time to volunteer at these organizations, former CSL Team Coordinator Jeremy Hedman encourages people to take advantage of the opportunity to network.

“In past experiences, these organizations were involved with helping the less fortunate and people in need,” Hedman said. “The opportunity to work for these organizations can assist students in connecting with professionals associated with organizations, and through these connections the student may be able to use them as a resource to later get internships, jobs or letters of recommendation. Of course, there is also the good feeling you get when helping people in need, and the satisfaction of your work that comes with the job.”

The fair is designed to be an easy and quick way for students to meet people at the organizations they find the most interesting.

“I think the whole idea of the fair is exciting,” said economics major Melissa Castro. “I don’t even know where to start looking for an internship. Since the resources are going to be brought here, it’s going to be convenient way to see what possible job opportunities are out there.”

Gasang said that last semester, the fair attracted over 200 students. Members from the ICCE hope that students will walk away with contacts from their preferred organizations to open up more opportunities for hands-on experience.

“I encourage all students—undergraduate and graduate—to come out to the fair,” said Gasang. “Don’t get the misconception that you don’t have time to volunteer or intern; most organizations are very flexible with student schedules and work with you on your interests and possible coursework connection. This is an invaluable opportunity to gain real world experience and to network.”