Volunteer organizers across the entire Duluth community gathered in St. Scholastica’s student union for VITA’s once-a-semester volunteer fair. VITA, which stands for Volunteers Involved Through Action, is a student-run organization through Campus Ministry, housed in the Center for Just Living.
VITA coordinates volunteer opportunities with various agencies in the Duluth community. Areas of service include “hunger and homelessness, peace and justice, youth service, geriatrics, and health,” said Corrine Schrafnaugel, one of VITA’s student organizers.
“We help students and community members connect with volunteer opportunities all over the Duluth community; you’d be surprised how much help is needed on a daily basis,” Schrafnaugel added.
VITA volunteers have also organized many on-campus activities, including the annual Homeless Sleep-out and Oxfam Hunger Banquet. They’re also responsible for organizing service trips, offering students a chance to travel around the country to volunteer.
The volunteer fair offered these student organizers a break as volunteer organizations come directly to the students. More than twelve tables were set up, adorned with banners, bowls of candy, dioramas, and sign-up sheets waiting for student signatures.
Lori Barnstorf, VITA’s faculty advisor and administrative director of Campus Ministry, happily walked from station to station, explaining the various organizations and their history with VITA. “So much of Scholastica’s core values comes out in volunteering,” Barnstorf said. “Though students seem to always have a lot on their plates, we’ve never had a real shortage of volunteers. Thanks to VITA, people looking for volunteering opportunities never have to look far.”
The core values Barnstorf referred to are ingrained in the minds of every CSS student, but for the curious outsider, they are “community, hospitality, respect, stewardship, and love of learning,” values that are a deeply rooted part of the Benedictine tradition.
Volunteering is often required of students in many disciplines at St. Scholastica. Anyone looking for volunteer opportunities can contact VITA through Lori Barnstorf in the Campus Ministry office, or through their email address, email@example.com.