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Opportunity Fair aims to help UW-River Falls students make connections

Falcon News Service

December 9, 2015

The second annual Opportunity Fair at UW-River Falls, hosted in partnership between Career Services and Student Involvement, will see an increase of booths for organizations and businesses from last year.

The first Opportunity Fair took place in February and featured 72 different on-campus jobs, internships, summer positions and volunteer positions. Businesses and organizations involved in the previous Opportunity Fair included those in the local area of River Falls, Hudson, Woodbury, and Stillwater and featured opportunities from organizations such as the Peace Corps and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

“(The Opportunity Fair) was created so that students would have an opportunity to network with area employers and see what’s available right here in the community to start building or acquiring relevant experience on their resumes early on,” said Assistant Director of Career Services McKenna Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer said that although the Opportunity Fair and the Career Fair feature some of the same organizations, such as Aladtec and ACR Homes, it differs from the Career Fair because it focuses on many opportunities while the Career Fair mainly focuses on internships and full-time jobs.

The Opportunity Fair is also more informal than the Career Fair, allowing students a non-intimidating environment to learn about the opportunities available to them, according to Assistant Director of Student Involvement Amy Lloyd.

“It’s definitely an informal experience versus the Career Fair, when it’s obviously a very formal experience,” said Lloyd. “This is a way for students to test the waters, talk to people, and hopefully find an experience. Because that’s what people want down the road, actual experience.”

Career Services and Student Involvement will be modeling the Opportunity Fair set-up after the Career Fair however, increasing the number of possible booths from a capacity of 74 to 94. Pfeiffer said that this will help with the goal of having 500 students attend, which would be about a 150 student increase from last year.

According to Pfeiffer, 37 organizations are returning from last year’s Opportunity Fair, including WeHaKee Camp for Girls, the Wisconsin Farmers Union, and the Wisconsin Early Autism Project. So far, 46 organizations have committed to attend the Opportunity Fair this year.

Kelsey Wright is a junior psychology major at UWRF, and will be representing WeHaKee Camp for Girls at the Opportunity Fair. She said she thinks that it’s important for the university to hold events like the Opportunity Fair.

“I think having a fair like this is really good to have people come in and it’s a whole area where you can see just the different things going on,” said Wright. “I think it’s, people aren’t just automatically aware, and having events makes it easier for people to find out about things.”

Tips for students on the Career Services website when preparing and attending the Opportunity Fair include researching the attending organizations, approaching the organization representatives confidently and actively listen to what is being said, and discuss with the organization representative how and when to follow-up.

When it comes to students preparing for the Opportunity Fair, Pfeiffer said that there is no formal dress code and although students can bring a resume, it is not required.

“Come with an open mind and ready to ask questions,” said Pfeiffer. “It’s the type of event that they can go to in-between classes. So if they have five minutes, come and spend five minutes. If they have an hour, come and spend an hour.”

The Opportunity Fair is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Riverview Ballroom in the University Center. For more information, go to the Career Services page on the university’s website, uwrf.edu.