Volunteer opportunities offered to BenU students

By Claire Kositzky Staff Writer

Benedictine University gives students many opportunities to volunteer, serve the community and spread one of the key Benedictine values, hospitality.

Brother Rick Poro supplies volunteer opportunities to Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry located in Naperville and the West Suburban food pantry in Woodridge. He goes twice a month on Saturday. Brother Rick sends out an email to all students about the volunteer opportunities.

“It helps students get a better understanding of the Benedictine values. It’s a great chance to see what better way to live out the values of hospitality,” Poro enthused. “You can feel the presence of God among the poor and students always want to come back because we tend to take things for granted.”

He was also collecting gifts for the people of Sacred Heart Mission Church in Hopkins Park. Depending on the weather, Poro and five students will be traveling on Dec. 10 to deliver the presents collected.

“Living out the Benedictine values is to service the less fortunate in our community is a positive way in representing what it means to be a Benedictine student,” said Poro.

Next semester, Poro will have more opportunities for volunteering.

Humanities 250 at Benedictine University requires students to obtain ten service hours.

“For my Humanities class we were required to do 10 hours of community service. I worked with students after school that needed extra academic help,”  said senior Laura Christensen. “I volunteered to work with students at Pioneer Elementary School in Bolingbrook to work with students that need extra academic help.”

“I think volunteering is a good thing for people to do because it feels good to help people who need it,” Christensen added.

Students can find many other volunteer opportunities around Benedictine.

DuPage Children’s Museum has volunteering options as well as internships for college students. The museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville. The current volunteer positions are museum assistants.

“Museum assistants greet visitors and work on the floors where children play. We have over 150 exhibits,” said Diane Ernst, coordinator of volunteers at the museum.  “So the museum assistants would help set up the exhibits and help stimulate the children’s mind at the exhibit by playing with blocks and making a spaceship.”

“We would like volunteers to commit to two to three hours at a time once a week. We are very flexible and are open seven days a week. Right now, we are in need of weekday volunteers. We are open until 4 p.m. on the weekdays and on Friday’s we are open until 8 p.m. Each Friday night, we host mini events for the children,”Ernst added.

The museum also offers unpaid internships for marketing, art and art history, early childhood teaching, recreational and graphic design. They are also looking for help with their blog, photography and data entry.

The museum focuses on math, science and art and is open to children ages birth to ten years. The museum receives over one thousand visitors a day and are always in need of volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering at the museum can contact Diane Ernst at (630) 637-8000 ext. 4680 or