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Murray State to Hold "Nonprofit Connections" Event with Over 25 Local Organizations

Murray State University's Nonprofit Leadership Studies program hosts "Nonprofit Connections" on Wednesday, September 14th, from 10 am to 1 pm in the Curris Center Ballroom.
Murray State University's Nonprofit Leadership Studies program hosts "Nonprofit Connections" on Wednesday, September 14th, from 10 am to 1 pm in the Curris Center Ballroom.

The Murray State Nonprofit Leadership Studies program hosts "Nonprofit Connections," a job fair-style event featuring over 25 local nonprofit organizations. Austin Carter speaks with program director Dr. Elise Kieffer and nonprofit studies student Alissa Peal ahead of the event.

Nonprofit Connections features 27 nonprofit organizations from the Murray, Paducah, and Metropolis areas. Each organization will have booths set up, and students and community members are invited to attend and engage with whichever booths they find the most relative to their interests. The organizations will be offering employment, volunteering, educational, and internship opportunities.

"It's kind of meant to be a matchmaking event," Kieffer says. "We're a university program, so we do target students. But anybody who's interested in learning about the nonprofits in Murray and the surrounding communities is able to come and learn about the diversity of organizations we really have. I think a lot of times we get in our own nonprofit niche, and we might not go outside of that and realize what all is happening in our community."

And in true nonprofit fashion, it isn't just the participants who benefit—the organizations do, too. "Unfortunately, with COVID and us being a college community, a lot of times, organizations lose their volunteers because they're used to them being here for four years," Peal explains. "COVID has really put them behind in being able to scout for people. Getting the people in the community to know [these nonprofits] is really helpful. They get to meet new people and get people really excited about their programs."

Kieffer adds, "statistics show us that students that are engaged in the communities around their university have a more fulfilling time at university. They may or may not choose to stay there afterward, but they have a better university experience. Through the last couple of years, students have really been prohibited from plugging into the broader community."

"So, we see this as an opportunity to inform students about all the wonderful things that are happening around the university," Kieffer continues. "I find as an educator that my students are highly motivated to social action. They don't want to just make a living; they want to make a difference. No matter what their major is, no matter what field they're studying, this is an opportunity to find a place where you can plug in and make a difference and maybe also meet people who have the same passions as you do."

Peal says that she feels that nonprofit work helps deepen her connection with the community. "You know you're doing something amazing for these people," she says. "The organizations I worked with before, I got to actually meet the people I was helping. I'm not just putting in the work and not seeing the outcomes. It's a lot more gratifying experience. Also, it goes really well towards job applications. Even if you're not getting 'that much' back, you're putting in and getting that effort."

"Volunteering gives us an opportunity to focus on someone else and get outside of our own headspace," Kieffer adds. "Even though sometimes the things that you're helping aren't cheerful, sometimes you're helping a cause that is heartbreaking. But it puts your situation into perspective and gives you an opportunity to help someone and, therefore, feel more empowered and fulfilled."

Nonprofit Connections will take place on Wednesday, September 14th, from 10 am to 1 pm in the Curris Center Ballroom. No registration is required. The program is also still accepting nonprofit organizations who are interested in participating in the event. Organizations who wish to attend can e-mail Dr. Elise Kieffer at

To learn more about the MSU Nonprofit Leadership Studies program, visit its website.

Austin Carter is a Murray State grad and has been involved with WKMS since he was in high school. Over the years he has been a producer for WKMS and has hosted several music shows, but now calls Morning Edition his home each weekday morning.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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