GS VIA program creates leadership opportunities in Statesboro

Tandra Smith

The Office of Career Services has recently begun Volunteers in Action (VIA), a new volunteer program for GS students that allows them to take advantage of leadership experiences in the Statesboro community.

The Volunteers in Action program started around four years ago in the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement (OLCE). The program grew so much that this spring, the program moved from the OLCE to Career Services.

“There was a need to develop a program that allowed students on an ongoing basis to work five to 15 to 20 hours a week in the same location,” Jason Pollet, Assistant Director of Experiential Learning, said.

Since the office got control of the program, they have attempted to grow and expand it by offering more opportunities and urging more students to get involved with the program.

“The Volunteers in Action program allows students to begin their professional development and knowing that experience in a way that is not so official, in terms of getting on a corporation’s job site, loading up your resume and having someone you don’t know look at it,” Pollet said.

Once in the program, individuals are known as VIA Project Leaders who work anywhere from five to 20 hours a week managing special events, writing grants, planning activities and more.

“I think it sounds like a good experience. Getting involved in the community is very important. So it’s a great opportunity to do that,” Mary Hinson, junior athletic training major, said.

Students can find local Statesboro agencies participating in this program by going to the Career Services page, hovering over “Students”, then clicking on “Volunteer in Action Experiences”. Many of the programs take applications at anytime, while others have specific application due dates.

Savannah McNeely, sophomore IT major, likes the idea of the program and would definitely participate in it if she didn’t have other things scheduled.

“It [the program] gives you good experience with people and you get to see things from a different perspective. It’s also good to get involved,” McNeely said.

Pollet believes that the program is a good way for GS students to begin being more marketable, even from early in their college career.

Pollet said, “It’s like a soft landing for freshman and sophomore students, even junior students to go ahead and start to build that experience so they can be more competitive in their own internship or full time job search.”