Why State University needs an Alternative Careers Fair

College placement offices exist to acquaint students with available career options. Yet few students who want to apply their energy, talent and idealism to social change jobs, such as working with senior citizens, tenant organizations or environmental groups, receive adequate guidance placement office personnel.

Career counselors concur that information about a variety of work options is crucial to making career decisions. New graduates who are choosing their first jobs are particularly dependent on and influenced by their counselors' services. Yet most placement offices are heavily stocked with recruitment materials extolling the joys and benefits of working for large corporations, while information on alternative or social change careers is scant. Government recruiters are often the only noncorporate options that students are able to learn about.

There is a pressing need to correct this imbalance in [name of your school]'s career placement office and make information about less visible but equally viable career options accessible to State University's students.

Social change organizations actively engaged in important work are seeking recent graduates and others to fill positions of responsibility, but lack the resources to recruit personnel on college campuses adequately. To bring social change groups together with interested State University students, [name(s) of the student group(s) which are sponsoring the fair] propose holding an Alternative Careers Fair which would:

  1. inform students and university faculty about alternative career opportunities;

  2. expose our placement and career counseling personnel to the resources of and career possibilities with social change organizations; and

  3. provide social change organizations with a chance to meet the many enthusiastic students on our campus who could be such valuable volunteers, interns and potential employees for these groups.

The Plan for the Alternative Careers Fair

The fair will be a one day event to which representatives from local, regional and national social change groups will be invited to speak, participate in panel discussions, give workshops, show films and talk with students about their work and job opportunities. There will also be a speaker who is prominent and active in the social change movement to kick off the day's events by holding a news conference and addressing the students.

The [name of your school] career office has reported a increasing level of interest among students here in social change jobs. We expect that close to 1,000 students will attend this event. We are inviting 80 groups to attend, expecting approximately 40 will agree to participate.

We will be organizing extensive outreach to students to ensure that every student on the [name of your school] campus will know about the fair and that many will consider attending.

The fair day will begin with a press conference, attended by the keynote speaker, the fair's co-sponsors and the media. This will be followed by the speaker's address to the students.

At mid-day, the fair itself will begin with the organizations' representatives staffing information tables and providing hand-outs to and speaking with students who are interested in their work. This will continue until 5 p.m. During the last two hours of the fair, there will also be workshops, seminar discussions and video presentations regarding public interest careers and specific projects of the organizations represented.

Materials for the Alternative Careers Fair

At the fair, there will be a variety of materials available to students. All of the organizations will bring literature describing their work. We will also provide booklets describing the participating organizations' purpose, goals, recent projects, staff size and other particulars. A bibliography of resources on alternative and social change careers will provided, with: core books and newsletters such as Good Works: A Guide to Careers in Social Change; Great Careers: The Fourth of July Guide to Careers, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities in the Nonprofit Sector; and COMMUNITY JOBS, on sale for students.

Model Budget*

The cost of these budget items will vary with the size of the fair and with differences in in-kind services provided by the university and other sponsors.

Telephone charges (calls to potential speakers and organizations) $50.00
Office supplies $25.00
Postage $50.00
Photocopying news releases $10.00
flyers/table tents $15.00
registration forms $10.00
evaluations $25.00
Printing posters $25.00
press packages $25.00
fair programs and literature $50.00
Advertising Ad in campus paper $50.00
Equipment rentals sound system for speaker $50.00
video presentations $50.00
Set-up/Logistics tables, chairs $100.00
Miscellaneous refreshments $150.00
decorations $25.00
Total amount requested $710.00
Speakers** fees $500-5,000
transportation $500.00
meals and acommodations $150.00

*Many of these items are available to student groups without charge.

** If funds are available. Speakers are great but not necessary for a successful fair.