‘Nonprofit Connections’ links students to community

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Contributing writer 

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, students had the opportunity to meet representatives from local nonprofit agencies at Nonprofit Connections in the Curris Center.

Robin Esau, nonprofit leadership studies professor and the event coordinator, said the event has happened each semester for the past few years.

Esau said 36 agencies were present at this semester’s event, but even more agencies exist in Murray that would be great for students to work with.

Esau said Nonprofit Connections fosters opportunities in which students can add to their skill sets and enhance their existing classroom experiences.

“The Nonprofit Connections event is for all MSU students,” said Peter Weber, the director of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program. “It is our hope to involve faculty and students from other programs, departments, and colleges.”

Weber said Nonprofit Connections is a huge asset to students, but it also benefits nonprofit agencies.

“For local nonprofit organizations, this is a great opportunity to recruit volunteers and interns. In some cases, past volunteers have become staff members who now attend the event as a representative of the nonprofit,” said Weber.

Weber said Nonprofit Connections raises awareness about issues in this community and around the world and gives students a chance to advocate for the people these nonprofits serve.


Several students who attended Nonprofit Connections this year saw great benefits from it.

Shelby Murphy, sophomore from Eddyville, Kentucky, said she was appreciative of the networking opportunities that Nonprofit Connections offered to her.

“I have connections through a few of the organizations already, like the English as a Second Language Conversation Partner Program and the upcoming 4-H,” said Murphy. “It is so awesome to see how knowing just one person can connect you with so many more and open doors to things like volunteer positions, internships and even jobs.”

Maria Schauberger, junior nonprofit major from Boonville, Indiana, said she enjoyed attending the event and seeing other students thrive.

“I had the opportunity to speak with several different students about Nonprofit Connections. I always enjoy getting to see all of the familiar faces as well as all the new faces,” Schauberger said. “The Nonprofit Connections event provides students with an awesome opportunity to get to know the local nonprofits in Murray and encourage them to get involved with the community.”


Erin McCallon, intern at Need Line in Murray, said the organization is an example of how Nonprofit Connections truly opens the door for students to find a job in the nonprofit sector.

McCallon said she came to Nonprofit Connections before and her experience led her to an internship at Need Line – a local food pantry – this semester.

McCallon said she passed out many volunteer packets for Need Line at the event this year.

She said several students needed volunteer hours for their service learning classes, but many were simply interested in volunteering in the community.

“I think that Nonprofit Connections is a really great way for students to look and see what different kinds of needs are met in the community, and it’s great to see that all the students who come through here can start learning about the different aspects of what’s going on outside of Murray State’s campus,” said McCallon.

Ashley Storie, Murray State alumna and the director of development at Starfish, attended Nonprofit Connections as a representative of the agency. Starfish is an orphan ministry that helps orphaned children locally and abroad.

Storie said the connections she made with the community during her time in the nonprofit program motivated her to start her own nonprofit with her family’s help in 2006.

“We’re just thankful that they allow us to come here and meet the students, because they’re great resources,” said Storie.