Postgraduate volunteer service sees 20 percent increase this year

Amanda Muldoon

Forty volunteer placement agencies were represented at the Postgraduate Volunteer Service Fair on Nov. 17.

Among the placement agencies in attendance promoting their programs’ work were Augustinian Volunteers, City Year and Philly Fellows.

Service placements range from one to two years. Students can get involved in programs in either domestically or internationally in order to provide direct or indirect service to the disadvantaged.

There was a 20 percent increase in postgraduate service this year, according to Barbara Haenn, senior adviser for Postgraduate Service.

“I would think the economy has had a role in that,” Haenn said.

While the economy may be an influential factor in the increasing number of students participating in postgraduate service, the main reason for many students’ interest seems to be a rewarding, unique experience.

“I’ve done break trips before, know friends who have done postgrad service and heard it was a great experience,” said senior Mark O’Halloran.

“I did a mission trip last spring, am applying to a few postgrad programs and wanted to come check them out. I’m open to going anywhere,” said senior Olivia Donaldson.

The majority of volunteers from the class of 2009 were placed in programs in the United States.

A few graduates did travel internationally, however, to destinations including Bolivia, South Africa, Haiti, Panama, Argentina, Jamaica and Honduras.

Pennsylvania, California, Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts were among the most popular locations in which graduates served.

Augustinian Volunteers and Jesuit Volunteer Corps attracted the largest number of volunteers from last year’s graduating class.

Augustinian Volunteers have the opportunity to serve in the United States or internationally.

Volunteers can devote their skills to serve in educational, social or health programs.

The organization strives to provide its volunteers with an experience that will allow them to serve others, while enriching their own lives through personal and spiritual growth.

“Though I think the year will present many challenges, I can’t wait to experience a foreign culture and live and serve in community with the other AVs as well as the locals,” said Sinéad Cloughley, Class of 2009. “I know I’ll learn a lot about myself and the world during my year – and I secretly hope those lessons include a few new cooking techniques and a new language.”

Cloughley will be teaching English for a year at St. Leo’s School near Durban, South Africa, starting in January.