Representatives from more than 100 non-profit organizations came to campus last Thursday to educate students about job opportunities.
Last week’s career fair, sponsored by Idealist.org and hosted by the GW Career Center showcased about 135 non-profit organization employers in the Marvin Center. As students searched for work and internships many consider non-profit organizations as employers, but career specialists said there are important differences between the two.
Executive Director of the Career Center Marva Gumbs Jennings said this fair had a different feel than the other four the Career Center hosts annually. Idealist.org used its Web site to advertise the fair to prospective job applicants outside the GW community.
Jennings said about 1,200 people registered to attend the event. Abram Ojure, manager of partnerships for Idealist.org, said the organization has been coming to GW for a few years and has produced more than 120 fairs across the country.
“We attract a niche group of professionals who want to do good in the world and give back to their communities,” Ojure said.
The non-profit oriented businesses drew a large crowd of “qualified professionals and students,” Ojure said, but he was quick to dispel the notion that working for a non profit means you are paid less.
“There’s a misconception that working for non-profits means making less money. That is becoming less true,” he said, although he conceded that “if you’re out to make money then non-profit is not where you want to be.”
Alexander Rakow, a representative from union organizer New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, said prospective employees for non-profit organizations need to weigh the importance of salary before pursuing employment by a non-profit organization.
“The salaries are never going to be as high in the non-profit world as in the profit world,” Rakow said, “But believing in what you’re doing more than compensates for the pay, especially when you’re young.”
GW students made up a small percentage of people in attendance at the fair, as job seekers from the surrounding area and far beyond browsed employers, too.
Sophomore Nicole Sayegh attended the fair to find a summer internship.
“I’m an international affairs major, so part of that for me is working for a non-profit eventually,” she said.
Sayegh hopes to work towards an executive position at a non-profit some day.
“I want to learn and develop as a person with the help of other people,” said Emilia Leshiew on her desire to work for a non-profit.
Leshiew, on vacation in the U.S. from her home country of Poland, was looking for a job somewhere in Southeast Asia. She heard about the fair through Idealist.org.
Jeff Glenn, a student at Bringham Young University in Idaho, is in D.C. for the semester on an internship and was looking for a job at the fair.
Glenn’s interest in working for a non profit started when he spent time working in Latin America. He said, “It’s fulfilling to solve problems and help other people.”