Ibrahim Ouattara, a sophomore at Central Baptist College, stopped in front of a booth for Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County and picked up a brochure.
"Why not?" he asked. He might join later in the year, he said. "It’s a good thing to help people."
By about noon Thursday, Ouattara was among dozens of students looking at what nonprofit organizations are available in Central Arkansas and consider joining up. He stopped by several booths, pointing out Make a Child Smile and picking up information about Hospice Home Care, while walking through the Mabee Student Services Complex. By about 2 p.m., when the 2012 Volunteer Fair ended, about 150 students had come through to see about 15 nonprofit organizations.
The booths show what kinds of organizations students can join outside of CBC to help the community, Ouattara said.
"We just want them to get involved outside the college," said Mandy Hall, CBC career service coordinator. "It’s the humane thing to do to serve others and be selfless."
Freshmen at CBC are required to have a volunteer project, but the fair is for upperclassmen too, Hall said.
CBC, a private Christian college, has held a volunteer fair to encourage students to give back to the community for years, but other colleges are encouraging students to volunteer, Hall said. The University of Central Arkansas plans to hold a similar volunteer fair, event or class later this year, spokeswoman Venita Jenkins said.
Several booths down from where Ouattara was, McKenzie Treat, a freshman, stood with friends in front of the Circle K International booth, a new club affiliated with Kiwanis International that is trying to get started at CBC.
"I think it’s awesome," Treat said. "I’ve lived here my whole life, and it’s nice to learn about the opportunities in the community."
Hall said the event grows every year. This year’s fair added five to six new nonprofit organizations looking to show students what they do, she said. The fair helps students, many of whom are from out of state, learn more about the community, too, she said. Many students will wait a few days before deciding which organization they want to join, she said.
"We want them to commit to something in their hearts," Hall said.
After leafing through a scrapbook at the Circle K booth, Lauren Eyre, a freshman from Jacksonville, Texas, bent over and signed her name to a list of students interested in joining the club. She wants to join, she said.
"I like to get involved in things," Eyre said.