Get ready to change the world: Nonprofit Expo 2024

<p>Photo courtesy of the <a href="" target="">O&#x27;Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs</a></p>

For IUPUI students who are interested in creating meaningful change within their community, the 2024 Nonprofit Expo is an advantageous opportunity to explore internships, employment openings and volunteer positions with nonprofit organizations. This event will take place on Wednesday, March 27 from 12:30–3:30 p.m. in Campus Center room 450. 

The Nonprofit Expo is a career fair, which is a networking event where employers set up displays or tables to advertise employment opportunities and interact with potential employees. Each table will be marked with brightly colored flags that state whether the organization has internships, employment or volunteer opportunities available. Students will also have the opportunity to receive a professional headshot and a tote bag for the event.

Kristine Schuster is a career advisor at the Fairbanks School of Public Health and a member of the Nonprofit Expo committee.

“Students have an opportunity to see the vast opportunities there are in nonprofits,” Schuester said. “I think sometimes we forget how huge that area is.”

Students from any major are encouraged to attend, and many of IUPUI’s schools take part in organizing this event. Participating schools include the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Center for Service and Learning, IU School of Social Work, Fairbanks School of Public Health, IU School of Liberal Arts and Herron School of Art and Design

The Nonprofit Expo will host over 70 different nonprofit organizations during the event, many of which have locations within or around Indianapolis. Employers from various industries will be attending, including industries such as healthcare, education, social assistance, law, behavioral health, life sciences and more. Some of the organizations attending include Ascend Indiana, Aspire Indiana Health, Oakland Psychiatric Center and Versiti Inc

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12:30 p.m. to kick off the event. This year’s featured vendor, Listen To Our Future, will lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Listen To Our Future is a nonprofit that assists with educating and encouraging youth to make impactful changes in their community.

Stacy Lozer, a career advisor at O’Neill School of Public Affairs and committee member for the Nonprofit Expo, explained the mission of Listen To Our Future.

“They are a local organization that focuses on equipping us to make larger impact changes in their community through education, empowerment and social action,” Lozer said. “We're excited to have them as our featured vendor.”

Most opportunities at the fair are catered toward undergraduate students who are juniors and seniors, along with graduate students and alumni. However, there are opportunities available to students of any level, such as volunteer opportunities with the Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis

For students seeking internship opportunities, the Expo will provide many options for students to learn more and connect with employers. Types of internships being promoted at the fair include communications, advocacy, human resources, marketing, life skills, donor services, quality improvement and talent acquisition

To prepare for the career fair, students are advised to update and print their resume. For students who want feedback on their resume, they can create an appointment online to book a thirty-minute resume review with the Office of Student Employment

In addition to updating their resumes, students should make their Handshake profile visible to the public and create a list of employers to chat with. The Nonprofit Expo staff encourages students to research employers they are interested in before speaking with them at the fair. During the fair students should dress professionally, ask employers questions and ask employers for their contact information. Students can also view a virtual map of the career fair to help navigate the event.

“Think about writing cover letters, you know, practice your handshake,” Schuster said. “Don't be afraid to ask the questions that you might feel a little silly asking.”

One student who represents a success story from a previous Nonprofit Expo is Candace Smallwood, a senior in public safety management who is graduating this May. Smallwood visited a booth for the Department of Homeland Security during the 2022 Expo and learned about an opportunity to volunteer as a K9 decoy for the Transportation Security Administration.

During her volunteering shifts at the Indianapolis International Airport, TSA staff plant explosive powder on her body and have her step into the security line or sit near a gate. The dogs then have the opportunity to locate the explosive power and alert their handlers. She has been volunteering with TSA for approximately two years. 

“Through this opportunity, I have networked with professionals in my field and maintained a relationship through consistent volunteering,” Smallwood said. “I have had the ability to give back and have learned about careers within the Department of Homeland Security.”

For students who feel overwhelmed or need a break during the event, there will be two “Paws” tables inside the fair where students can find reprieve at. These tables will be staffed by Career Services members for students who need assistance. 

“We have Career Services staff there to practice a handshake, answer a question, maybe let them take a breath, check the mirror, make sure they know that they look good, and they have everything together,” Lozer said. “We want to support students while they’re there.”

Kennedy McCormack (she/her) is an Indiana University Indianapolis junior who is majoring in Health Services Management. Kennedy is a journalist for the Campus Citizen with a focus on writing about campus events. After college, Kennedy hopes to pursue a career in healthcare communications or marketing.

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