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Feature Story


SIUE Volunteer Programs Touch Lives, Shape Futures

Volunteer programs through the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Kimmel Leadership Center's Volunteer Services allow students to help others, while having a lasting, positive impact on their lives.

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Whether spending spring break on a Native American Reservation helping tribes gain access to needed resources, counseling rape and sexual assault victims, or gathering clothes and food for the area's homeless, the University's volunteers are dedicated to making a difference.

The lessons they learn through volunteer and leadership programs today provide them with direction for the future, said Suzanne Kutterer-Siburt, director of volunteer services.

In 2010, the University was listed as part of the Presidential Honor Roll for its commitment to volunteerism. Volunteerism also was part of the reason the University was honored recently by Washington Monthly magazine, which stated that the University's volunteer projects through the Kimmel Leadership Center contributed to SIUE's designation among the top 50 in the country.

According to the SIUE volunteer website, "Volunteering allows students to apply academic knowledge, gain skills and experience, and contribute to the community." Opportunities are available across the country, throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, Southwestern Illinois and on campus. Some of the many opportunities include:

  • Taking alternative break trips, such as spring break trips to visit the Cherokee Nation;
  • Participating in local Boy Scout Food Drives;
  • Providing assistance one Saturday each month to the Angle Food coop program, which offers nutritious food at reduced cost through a self-help distribution system;
  • Undergoing Community Emergency Response Training (CERT);
  • Offering assistance through the Faith In Action Yard Clean Up effort;
  • Assisting with SIUE programs, such as through The Gardens at SIUE and Give Kids A Smile Day through the SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton;
  • Participation in several community homeless projects and counseling victims through medical advocate rape and crisis training, as well as suicide and crisis training;
  • Registering individuals to vote.

Students at the University also can take part in the Student Leadership Development Program, which consists of 60 hours of volunteer service and attending a structured reflection session. Half of the volunteer hours must be completed in the community. Participants can receive credit toward a leadership transcript by documenting service hours and by providing an account of skills obtained and duties performed.

For more information about the Kimmel Leadership Center and SIUE Volunteer Services, call (618) 650-2686 or visit: siue.edu/kimmel/volunteer.