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Campus career fair recruiting for globetrotting do-gooders

The Career Development Center partnered with The President’s Forum on International Human Rights to create Cal State Long Beach’s first-ever Working for Change Career Fair, which took place Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Friendship Walk.

The event provided students from all levels and areas of study the opportunity to meet and network with international, national and locally run organizations and find out about applying for jobs, internships and how to become a volunteer.

Funded by the President’s Office, this event – unlike the larger career fairs each semester – was free of charge for all participants from non-profit organizations to companies, student groups and campus departments.

More than 30 groups participated, with 10 organizations attending a CSULB career fair for the first time.

Among the 10 first-time participants were the American Civil Liberties Union, Heifer International, the International Rescue Committee and the California Conference for Equality and Justice.

“The majority of them are new,” said Erin Booth, internship coordinator for the CDC. “We did recruiting in a totally different way than we usually do for our fairs. Instead of just inviting the employers that we already have relationships with, we started with inviting other organizations that we researched and thought would be good for this event.”

However, non-profit organizations and community service opportunities were not the only booths on display. One of the on-campus groups that expressed gratitude for the event was the Center for Peace and Social Justice, a coalition of faculty, students, staff and community members lead by Ron Loewe, an associate professor of anthropology.

Loewe said that the group actually approached the CDC in order to participate in the event and seized the opportunity to create more student awareness of their group, upcoming events and goals for an active student/faculty anti-war organization.

Put on in conjunction with The President’s Forum on International Human Rights, many participants said they felt that the Working For Change Career Fair happened with excellent timing according to students’ interests.

“I think that students are absolutely more interested in getting involved in the world,” said Catherine Scott of Heifer International.

She cited global warming and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign as two examples where the younger generation is taking the lead.

According to Richard Marcus, assistant professor of the international studies department from 2002 to 2007, the international studies major has leaped from 70 to 170 students majoring in the interdisciplinary field – a 143 percent increase in five years.

Unlike some of the recruiters and Marcus, senior Chicano/Latino studies major Jose Lopez, who just happened to walk by the event Wednesday, disagreed and said that he felt there is only a “small pocket” of students who are truly interested in world affairs.

However, he was grateful for stumbling across the event and said that the focus of the Working for Change Career Fair was ideal for him, because after graduation he definitely wants to get into some kind of non-profit work or activism.

“The corporate thing does not float my boat,” Lopez said.

Though the Working for Change Career Fair only took place for one day, many of the participants said they would like to continue recruiting on campus later in the semester.

This may or may not include tabling at the CDC’s annual spring job fair on March 20 and the Ready For Hire Fair on April 17. Both of these events are open to all majors.

For a full list of companies participating in career fairs and a full workshop schedule, visit www.careers.csulb.edu.

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