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Spotlight on volunteers

By Jeff Green | March 5, 2008

The number of student volunteers honoured by Memorial at this year’s Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) ceremony was up – way up.

More than 130 students were recognized at a special ceremony at Confederation Building March 3. That’s up from 47 students who were acknowledged last year.

That increase clearly demonstrates the support students have for volunteer-related activities and augers well for groups looking for some helping hands, said a proud Rhonda Pittman, co-ordinator of the Student Volunteer Bureau (SVB) at Memorial.

"This program started five years ago as a way to reward and recognize the volunteer work that students at Memorial were already doing. Never could they have imagined then that the program would have exploded the way it has," she said.

The VIP is a joint initiative of the SVB and the Centre for Career Development and Experiential Learning and MUNSU.

Bronze, silver and gold level awards were presented to the students by Tom Hedderson, the provincial minister responsible for the volunteer and non-profit sector.

In order to be recognized with these awards, participants must complete 20 hours of volunteerism for bronze, 40 hours for silver, and 80 hours for gold. The VIP aims to broaden interests and deepen personal experience while realizing the participant’s leadership skills through the completion of volunteer work with various groups and organizations.

Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president of Memorial, was also on-hand for the ceremony. He was joined by Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie.

Ms. Pittman said she is thrilled by the response from Memorial students who want to contribute to the community as volunteers. In fact, she said the number of students looking to give up some extra time in between classes and studying is actually increasing. She said that’s why the VIP has had such tremendous growth.

"Even since last year, the number of award recipients has tripled,” she noted.

“By participating in this program, students from all walks of life, from this province, the rest of Canada and the rest of the world, are proving to everyone on campus and to the greater community that they are engaged and active citizens. Their time means the world to us here at Memorial, and to the people whose lives they touch every day."