January 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 31°F


Student numbers surge at nonprofits

Ithaca College is one of many schools beginning to see a rise in student volunteerism, with American students today becoming more involved in nonprofit groups and organizations than they were 20 years ago.

In February, the college hosted the Making a Living by Making a Difference panel, where representatives from groups like AmeriCorps: Rural Health Services Corps, City Year, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Secret Service and The Advocacy Center came in to speak about their
respective organizations.

City Year, a nonprofit group that works with public school students to fight the national dropout crisis, receives a large number of applications from Ithaca College students annually. The organization received 21 applications from the college for the 2009-10 academic year, a figure that doubled last academic year to 42.

This year, City Year has already received a reported 31 applications from Ithaca College students and has already hired six.

Senior Recruitment Manager Diana Vining said City Year is hiring Ithaca College students at a slightly higher rate than average.

“We still have one more application deadline on April 30, so we anticipate that we will beat last year’s numbers,” she said.

Vining said they chose the college as one of their focus schools for recruitment because of the philanthropic nature of its students.

“We’ve selected IC as one of our target schools because of the shared culture of service, active student body and previous hires,” she said.

The organization has had two undergraduate students working as summer interns since 2010, with two Ithaca College alumni presently working as long-term staff members.

Elizabeth Stoltz, president and founder of IC Food for Thought, a nonprofit organization aimed at fighting childhood malnutrition around the world, particularly in Africa, said social media has played a pivotal role in spreading awareness about the organization.

“I feel like, especially with the rise of social media, we’ve seen a lot more attention pulled toward nonprofits,” Stoltz said. “Nonprofits
especially have benefited from this rise in popularity of social media because it’s a free outlet, so it’s a great resource for them.”

Over the last five years, the organization has raised more than $20,000 to fight malnutrition in Ethiopia by providing supplies.

“It’s really taken off with Ithaca,” Stoltz said. “We always have a new bunch of students who come in — a lot of freshmen we pull from because we’re at the student organization fairs. Interest in the club is generally growing.”

According to a study completed by the
Corporation for National and Community Service, the average national volunteer rate for college students was 26 percent per year
between 2008 and 2010.

Junior Nicole Hakimi, president of Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations at the college, which was founded in the fall of 2010, began working with clients late last year. Working exclusively with local nonprofit
organizations, SCNO gives students the opportunity to apply their skills in the real world and gain work experience.

“I started this chapter because I knew that students in Ithaca love to get hands-on experience,” Hakimi said. “Because of the professional development majors here at Ithaca College, students are in a more practical mode of thinking, and they want to apply these practical lessons to local businesses.”

Hakimi said she believes young adults today are much more eager to affect change.

“I think, compared with previous generations, our generation wants to make a difference,”
she said.