This past month, Kristina (Boston Harbor Islands Centennial Volunteer Ambassador) and I went to a few volunteer fairs in the Boston area. Our first stop was Northeastern University’s fair in late September.
We met a lot of new students, upperclassmen, and graduate students interested in all three parks in Boston (Boston Harbor Islands, Boston National Historical Park, and Boston African American National Historic Site). While tabling for three hours at Northeastern, over 70 students stopped by to talk to us and 55 put down their emails to learn more about volunteering with the National Park Service in Boston. Two students we met at the volunteer fair even came to my most recent visitor services volunteer training session and are going to start volunteering at the BOST visitor centers this month.
Our second stop had two days for the volunteer fair. We spent September 28th and October 1st at Roxbury Community College’s volunteer fair. The fair was in a busy hallway and we were able to talk to students between classes. The biggest accomplishment at RCC was informing the local community that we had urban National and State Parks in Boston. Many were excited to venture out the Boston Harbor Islands this month and next summer. While there weren’t as many students interested or had time available in their schedule to volunteer from RCC, about 75% of the students walking by stopped to see what the National Park Service had to offer in Boston.
Lastly, we stopped by Brandeis University’s Social Impact Job, Internship, and Volunteer Fair on October 7th.
There were many students interested in jobs with the National Park Service after college, some had even done internships or trail crews similar to what the Student Conservation Association offers. Kristina and I were able to give them advice about applying to jobs on USAJobs and internships with the SCA, but many also considered volunteering as a good way to learn interpretation and stewardship skills. We talked to about 75 students, many students also took information about volunteering with the National Park Service in general and with our Boston National Parks.
Overall, all the college volunteer fairs brought attention to the urban National Parks in Boston and got millennials interested in Find Your Park and volunteering with the National Park Service. We hope that many will volunteer with us or with the National Park Service elsewhere!