UAB Service Learning Hosts Community-Campus Speed Dating Extravaganza

By on February 11, 2014
Campus_Community_Speed_Matching_2014

Valentine’s Day is not just about roses and chocolates. It is about building meaningful relationships with those you love. This Valentine’s Day, UAB Service Learning hopes to foster some of these meaningful relationships as they host the  second annual Campus-Community Speed Matching.

Campus-Community Speed Matching brings together non-profits and potential volunteers in an easy, comfortable, concise, and informative setting. This year’s event will host 14 non-profits, which will be scattered throughout the room and prepared with a five-minute description of their goals and projects. Each non-profit has been asked to present their mission and a well-defined project that the potential volunteer would be signed on to help with. Thanks to the structure of Speed Matching, if a volunteer does not feel like he or she has the interests or set of skills necessary for the non-profit, no awkward silences need arise. The volunteer will simply be rotated after five minutes.

Libba Vaughan, UAB’s Coordinator for Academic Student Engagement, describes Campus-Community Speed Matching as an opportunity ”to create a mutually beneficial relationships between the individual, the non-profit, and the cause.”

Vaughan drew the idea for a speed-matching style meet-and-greet from other UAB schools and programs. Science and Technology Honors has effectively used the format for introducing students to research labs and the Collat School of Business has tried a similar approach with Networking meet-and-greets.

Last year’s event proved to be a huge success.  Vaughan has similar hopes for this year, “We had an 80% percent matching success rate last year, but I don’t want to stop there,” said Vaughan as she scrolled through the list of attendees.

Last year’s projects tackled a variety of local issues, from early childhood development to environmental issues.  Agam Dhawan, one of the students who worked with One Roof, a non-profit fighting the problem of homelessness in Birmingham, encourages other students to follow in his footsteps.

“It was a phenomenal opportunity for us to grow and complete a hands-on project that has impact in the real world. It is a totally different experience completing a project for a class and completing a project with an organization outside of class, where they are relying on you to complete your work,” said Dhawan.

He, along with Stephen Voss and William Carter, surveyed homeless men and women to try to understand the root of the problem and how organizations like One Roof can go about fixing it. Although One Roof is not attending this year, other wonderful organizations, like the Freshwater Land Trust, Breakthrough Collaborative, and Magic Moments, will all be present and seeking students to be actively involved in their projects.

UAB Service Learning encourages faculty and students alike to attend Campus-Community Speed Matching. The event will be Friday, February 14th, 2014, at the Edge of Chaos (4th Floor or Lister Hill Library). Lunch will be free for registered participants, but registration is not necessary to attend the event.

To register for Campus-Community Speed Matching, contact Libba Vaughan at libbav@uab.edu. For more information, visit http://www.uab.edu/servicelearning.

Campus Community Speed Matching 2014

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