Service and Internship Fair returns to guide SSU students

The several Sonoma State University students required to complete an internship for their majors may want to take advantage of this year’s Service and Internship Fair. 

The event will take place Aug. 31 in front of Salazar Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will have around 70 organizations in attendance, according to Sonoma State’s Center for Community Engagement.

The Service and Internship Fair, organized by the Center for Community Engagement, is an annual event that has taken place on campus for many years. 

According to the Center for Community Engagement, the event has helped several students network and find volunteer opportunities as well as internships.   

The Center for Community Engagement is located on the first floor of the library, according to its website. It focuses on helping the university and community collaborate through service-learning classes, internships, volunteer work or community-based research. 

The center is also responsible for creating events such as the Service and Internship Fair to connect students to the community. 

Last year, the fair drew in about 1000 students and faculty members, with more than 60 organizations present on campus.  Several students had the opportunity to find volunteer work and internships offered by the representatives in attendance, and were able to make connections with local community representatives. 

Merith Weisman, coordinator of the Center for Community Engagement and organizer of the fair, said she encourages everyone to attend the fair. 

Weisman praised the event and said it’s a “comfortable place to get out of your comfort zone.” 

“Ifyou’re not quite ready to do an internship, you might do a little volunteer work so that you get used to the idea of working in the community,” Weisman said. “These are folks who want interns, you don’t have to worry about them saying no.”

Several of these nonprofit or governmental organizations reach out and register for the event looking specifically for Sonoma State students. 

Some of the organizations students can expect to see are the American Red Cross of California Northwest, Alexander Valley Film Society, the Center for Climate Protection, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, KRCB North Bay Public Media, La Luz Center, Mentor Me, United Nations Association of Sonoma County, and the Peace Corps. 

Most of the organizations in attendance share the common goal of aiding and providing support to community members. 

Sandeep Shahi, a junior and kinesiology major, admits she had never heard of the Service and Internship Fair, but expressed enthusiasm at the thought of attending this year. 

“Hopefully I’d be able to meet people within the field I am looking to go into and make connections, and possibly even get a volunteer opportunity,” Shahi said. 

Josue Castillo, a senior child development major, also showed interested in the event. 

“I hope to be able to network with some of them and maybe get some sort of opportunity to volunteer or even intern,” Castillo said. “It is important that I start to look for ways to earn more experience in the real world, and I have no doubt that one of the many organizations can provide me with that.” 

Even if students are not looking for internships, Weisman said it’s a good idea to attend, “especially for younger students who maybe are new to Sonoma County.” 

“It’s a chance for them to get to see what is so amazing about Sonoma County, and what is so amazing about Sonoma County is our amazing community full of partners who can’t wait to work with students,” Weisman said.