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International volunteering group seeks new members

February 23, 2014

MSU’s International Volunteer Action Corps, or IVAC, which first launched in 2006, is currently being “re-engineered” to include new members and keep the activities.

“International Volunteer Action Corps is dedicated (to) building a multicultural community to help both international students and domestic students better fit into a globalized campus culture,” group president Fangfei Li said.

IVAC Vice President George Park said the group is trying to reach a higher level of domestic student involvement. In the past, the group has consisted mostly of international students.

“People like to hang out with their own group, but we are trying to make them move out of the comfort zone … so people with different backgrounds can join (other groups),” said Carlos Fuentes, assistant director of the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions.

Fuentes, who also is the adviser of the group, said the goal for IVAC is to have a well-grounded structure for the development of new projects.

In its efforts to bring more students together in a friendly environment, the group hosted an ice skating event at Munn Ice Arena on Thursday.

Li said the event was geared toward recruiting new members for the group.

“We are always open to students getting involved,” Li said.

Fuentes said the group gives the opportunity for students to experience the culture in different countries, such as Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

These trips are primarily geared towards community service and social work, and they provide learning experiences for students and are part of the group’s winter break program.

In addition, the group has summer learning programs in the Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto.

Fuentes also said the group has programs providing local services within Michigan.

The organization, more broadly understood, is not just about traveling, but also about endeavoring “to help out the local communities” outside of East Lansing.

Li said apart from the overseas volunteer trips, the group also is planning on volunteering at the Greater Lansing Food Bank in March.

Some of the initiative’s future goals include “reinstating the initiative within the local peace corps office,” because both groups have like-minded goals when it comes to community outreach, Fuentes said.

He said the group is always looking to add new members to have a more cosmopolitan student body, endowed with the skills to carry out effective service, both locally and abroad.

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