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April 2013 Archives

In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, I'd like to highlight the many opportunities available to stay involved and volunteer that the U of M has to offer. If making a difference in your community is something that is very important to you, you'll definitely find what you're looking for at the University of Minnesota. First of all, there are so many student organizations built around volunteer opportunities--I couldn't even count them all! I've picked out a couple service-based student groups to highlight, but there are literally hundreds.

American Red Cross Student Organization 

Their mission is to provide service for the community with regards to public health issues, especially relating to the University of Minnesota campus student population in collaboration with the American Red Cross. Services may include (but are not limited to) hosting speakers to advocate for a cause, running blood drives, and collecting for international relief.

Circle of Giving (COG)
COG's principle activities are health focused group volunteer projects, workshops for leadership development, fundraising for a scholarship fund, serving as mentor for local youth, and helping members develop service projects based on their interests, such as health disparities in minority groups.

Colleges Against Cancer
Colleges Against Cancer is dedicated to eliminating cancer by spreading awareness and education through volunteer work in the community. Through cancer education, survivorship, and advocacy programs, all University of Minnesota college students have the opportunity to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Biology Without Borders
Biology Without Borders is a student organization that leads students on annual global volunteer trips while connecting students with resources and making them advocates for global and social change. Their goal is to promote ethical volunteerism, and community-based and sustainable projects in underserved areas, both locally and globally.

Orphan Kitten Project
The Orphan Kitten Project helps local shelters by fostering orphan kittens (newborns to 8 weeks old) while providing hands-on animal experience to veterinary students.

Students Against Hunger
Students Against Hunger's mission is to aid Kids Against Hunger in significantly reducing the number of hungry children locally and globally by providing a community service activity that is meaningful, fun and memorable. Through enlisting members and volunteers from the University community, they package nutritious meals researched by food scientists in order to battle death's grip on over 40,000 children who die each day due to malnutrition, starvation and hunger-related diseases.

For a complete list of service-based student groups, check out: http://sua.umn.edu/groups/directory/index.php?group_by=category#Service

In addition to service-based student organizations, the University of Minnesota also fosters community service through offering service-learning courses. Service-learning courses incorporate community involvement into the coursework--students learn by participating in community service projects. Homework for these classes involves working with community-based organizations, which compliments the classes' readings, lectures and discussions. Wouldn't it be great getting to volunteer and earning class credit for it at the same time?

If you're passionate about volunteering, the University of Minnesota's Community Service Learning Center is a great resource to help you find what you're looking for. Check it out! http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/

It's officially the week of Spring Jam! Spring Jam is an annual three-day music festival on campus, which includes live performances, competitions, free food, and other special events all in the celebration of the coming of spring and the end of the school year. The entirety of Spring Jam is completely planned and put together by a committee U of M students. (A great opportunity four our students to build event-planning experience!) 

There are always amazing artists - both big names and local bands - that perform during Spring Jam. The big headliners last year were New Boyz, The Cataracs, and Prof. Jessie James (my favorite artist at Spring Jam last year) made an appearance at an afternoon concert too! This year's headliners are Greg Bates, The Kicks, and Mat Kearney. I wouldn't call myself an avid music and concert fan, but nothing beats fist-pumping, dancing, belting out lyrics at the top of your lungs at outdoor concerts with thousands of other fellow Gophers. Did I mention that all Spring Jam events are completely FREE for U of M students?

Spring Jam isn't only about the concerts, though. The days are also filled with many other fun, free events. For example, this year's events include free yoga classes, blood drives, dance competitions, a Battle of the Bands competition between U of M bands, outdoor film screenings of Silver Linings Playbook, and more! Take a look at the Spring Jam schedule to see a complete list of this year's special events.

I love the U of M not only for its great academics, but also for all the awesome opportunities to have FUN, like Spring Jam! So, Future Gophers...imagine yourself as a current U of M student counting down the days until you get to experience three straight days of celebration at Spring Jam festivities. Sounds enticing doesn't it?

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Photo credits: http://springjam.umn.edu/

Today I'd like to put the spotlight on a great opportunity for students who are interested in a career in advertising: the U of M's National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team, Chariot. Chariot recently won first place at the NSAC District Competition on April 13th, which means the team will be representing the University of Minnesota at the national competition in Phoenix this year! Read on to learn more about NSAC and how you can get involved.

What is the National Student Advertising Competition?
Each year corporate sponsors give the same case study to NSAC teams around the nation. The case studies relate to the company's product or service and advertising situation. The corporate sponsors are often big name companies--past sponsors have included Coca Cola, JC Penney, State Farm, and Nissan. Within each school's team, students are then responsible for researching, developing, creating, and pitching an advertising campaign to a panel of judges at a district-level competition. 

District competitions are held each spring in 15 districts throughout the U.S. The winners of each district then get to move on to the national-level competition and pitch their advertising campaigns to judges and the executives of the sponsor company. We're wishing the best of luck to Chariot when they compete at Nationals in June. Way to represent the University of Minnesota!

Getting involved at the U of M
Joining a student group can be one of the best ways to make your college experience a great one. If you're interested in advertising, joining Chariot can help you make friends and connections with other advertising and marketing students, network with professionals, gain relevant advertising experience, and make a difference in the advertising strategies of real companies!

Chariot doesn't only limit its members to students majoring in advertising. The club currently has students interested in marketing and graphic design as well. If you think you'd be interested in joining Chariot, you should definitely check out their website at http://umnsac.com or email them at nsac@umn.edu.


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