Volunteering for Convocation Deepens University Connections

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Every year, the University of Guelph draws on numerous faculty and staff volunteers to help out at more than 30 convocation ceremonies on campus.

Lis Kuindersma, assistant manager for procurement services in Financial Services, volunteered along with her husband for the first time at a U of G convocation ceremony last fall.

“Everyone is so happy,” says Kuindersma. “It’s great to see the students hit that point of accomplishment and to help them see that they’re in the right spot, that they’ve done it.”

Neither she nor her husband is a Guelph grad, but they like the idea of being involved when students graduate. “It helps you feel more in tune with what the University produces and its goals.”

She says she has found University of Guelph’s convocation ceremony to be much more personal and intimate than those at other universities. But, she adds, the U of G ceremony is also well-organized.

Co-ordination of U of G ceremonies is overseen by Claire Alexander, special projects manager in the Community Relations Office.

“Everyone has their own reason for volunteering,” says Alexander. “Some because they have developed a close relationship with students and want to share in the celebration. Others see it as another way to be involved with one of the core purposes of the University: educating students. It helps relate what we do with why we’re doing it.”

Often, those helpers include retirees and alumni who graduated themselves years ago, including regular volunteers Ivan Stinson, OAC ’49, and his wife, Margaret. Says Alexander: “We’re fortunate to have such an engaged community.”

She says whatever their motivation, volunteers come away from the experience feeling more connected with the University and its students.

The main qualifications for new volunteers, says Alexander: being friendly and supportive.

For more information, visit www.uoguelph.ca/convocation/volunteers/ .

Convocation infographic