A public information session will be held Feb. 17 for people interested in learning more about Leave for Change, a U of G-sponsored program that gives regular full-time staff and faculty an opportunity to volunteer their expertise during short assignments in developing countries. The session runs from noon to 1:15 p.m. in Room 103 of the University Centre.

Leave for Change is offered through Uniterra, a joint initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Centre for International Studies and Co-operation. Uniterra mobilizes people and organizations in Canada and the developing world to reduce poverty by achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Under the Leave for Change program, Canadian volunteers are assigned overseas for two to four weeks. This allows a limited number of qualified employees from participating organizations to transform their vacation time into short international assignments with well-defined tasks and the support of development professionals in the host country.

“Leave for Change is an opportunity for U of G staff to share their skills and acquire knowledge of markets outside our own,” says Annette Boodram, manager of human resources planning.

President Alastair Summerlee, past chair of WUSC’s board of directors, says Leave for Change is a win-win program for everyone. It reaches employers such as U of G that want to foster global citizenship in their staff. It also give people of all ages in various occupations an opportunity to make a difference, he says.

“Leave for Change enables people to share their skills internationally and, on their return, share their learning at their workplace.”

Uniterra will screen all applications for suitable matches with posted vacancies, interview short-listed candidates and choose participants. Employees selected must attend pre-departure training on campus before leaving for their volunteer assignment in the 2010 summer semester. When they return to Guelph, they will be asked to share their experiences informally.

For more information about Leave for Change, call Boodram at Ext. 56435.