The University of Lethbridge and Volunteer Lethbridge are creating greater opportunities for student community service and volunteerism activities by entering into a partnership that will see Volunteer Lethbridge relocate its offices to the University’s Dr. Foster James Penny Building in mid-November.
“This partnership will prove to be of tremendous benefit to the citizens of Lethbridge by providing more opportunities for our students to serve in the community as volunteers,” says University of Lethbridge President and Vice-chancellor, Dr. Mike Mahon. “It will also be of great value to our students. As a university, we have identified our responsibility to instill a sense of citizenship in our students, and this begins by creating a climate of support and encouragement for community engagement. This partnership further establishes that climate.”
The U of L will give access to approximately 160 sq. m of space for Volunteer Lethbridge, consisting of five offices on the building’s second level. Volunteer Lethbridge staff will also undertake reception duties in the Penny Building’s main lobby, thereby allowing community access to the building and its amenities throughout regular office hours.
Many U of L students already embrace the volunteer experience and the University has worked with Volunteer Lethbridge on a number of initiatives, such as the annual Volunteer Fair and through participation in Project Paintbursh.
“This is such a good opportunity for us to further establish our relationship with Volunteer Lethbridge because it’s a partnership that allows both organizations to better serve the citizens of Lethbridge,” says Mahon. “When the University opened the Penny Building, a key goal was to strengthen the connection we have with Lethbridge and the southern Alberta community, and this partnership continues that mission.”
Volunteer Lethbridge began as a three-year, federally-funded project through the YWCA in 1981, operating as the Lethbridge Volunteer Bureau. It was then transformed into an independent, not-for-profit agency and registered as a society in 1986. Later renamed the Community Volunteer Centre, it adopted its current name in 2000 and is currently associated with more than 100 member agencies.
Its move to the Penny Building will enhance partnership opportunities with the U of L as Volunteer Lethbridge looks to develop specific volunteer activities for students through various programs, such as the Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP), offered through Volunteer Alberta and the Government of Alberta.
“Building a resilient community is what volunteerism is all about. What we have to offer together will strengthen the volunteer involvement capacity in our community,” says Diana Sim, executive director for Volunteer Lethbridge. “We welcome the general public and not-for-profit groups to come visit us at our new location to learn more about how volunteerism impacts the community.”
Once in the Penny Building, Volunteer Lethbridge staff will provide reception for visitors to the building, schedule bookings of the building’s community rooms as well as operate a U of L ticket kiosk and merchandise centre.
The Penny Building currently houses the University’s alumni relations and annual giving programs, the U of L Call Centre and gallery space for Faculty of Fine Arts students.
“By bringing Volunteer Lethbridge into the building, many more people from Lethbridge and throughout southern Alberta will get a chance to utilize the space and participate in community-minded initiatives,” says Mahon.