Volunteerism on the rise at UNCP


The search was on for caring and dedicated community volunteers at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

“The quality I am looking for in a student volunteer is someone who wants to make a difference in the lives of young people,” said Don Woods of Hoke County’s Teen Court program.


Stephonne Brown (right) checks out volunteer opportunities with Adrienne Pelham of the Lumberton Recreation Department.

Stephonne Brown (right) checks out volunteer opportunities with Adrienne Pelham of the Lumberton Recreation Department.

“Compassionate companionship,” said Kammala Brayboy of Advantage Hospice and Home Care of Lumberton, N.C.

“Someone who is creative and loves to work with the community,” said Adrienne Pelham of the Lumberton Recreation Department.

“Someone who wants to learn and is willing to take advantage of an opportunity,” said Rusty Ray of WBTW-TV 13 of Florence, S.C.

In all, 38 organizations set up booths at UNCP’s annual Volunteer and Internship Fair October 6. About 200 students met with a broad range of businesses, non-profits and government agencies of all types.

Volunteering is a growing phenomenon at UNCP, said Melanie Clark, who directs the University’s Leadership and Service Opportunities Program (LSOP).

“Last year, UNCP student volunteers contributed more than 9,000 hours of community service in all kinds of settings,” Clark said. “The program grows every year.”

UNCP’s Career Center was a co-sponsor, and Assistant Director Lori Bumgarner said internships and volunteering have career implications.

“It builds a well-rounded resume, and students gain valuable experience that may lead them to a career,” Bumgarner said.

UNCP offers new ways for students to become involved in community service every year.

A trip to Charleston, S.C., where 30 students will build homes with Habitat for Humanity and work in a soup kitchen, is a joint project of LSOP and the Baptist Student Union.

LSOP is partnering with UNCP Staff Council to do several projects, including work on “Strike at the Wind,” an outdoor drama about Lumbee Indian history.

Community service is also finding its way into the classroom with “service learning” programs offered by several UNCP faculty members. Sociology Professor Dr. Ottis Murray is teaching a course that will train students to write grants for community service programs in Robeson County.

Community service has its rewards. The North Carolina Activating Citizens Through Service (NC ACTS!) is offering 25 $1,000 scholarships to UNCP students who perform more than 300 hours of community service.

“We’ve had great support from across campus,” Clark said.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at UNCP, please contact the Office of Student Activities at (910) 521-6207 or email melanie.clark@uncp.edu.

For more information about internships, please contact the Career Center at 910.521.6270 or email lori.bumgarner@uncp.edu.