October 16, 2007

Rundblad appointed to statewide commission

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — As coordinator of Student Development for Southern Illinois University Carbondale for more than eight years, Mythili Rundblad has worked with countless student volunteers, helping them make the world a better place. Now she will take her commitment to the state level with her appointment to the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The 25-member nonpartisan board coordinates the Illinois' Promise program, administers programs funded by the Corporation for National Service and provides support for volunteerism. The group, paid expenses only, also sponsors conferences and training throughout the state and administers various award programs. The commission meets four times annually. Rundblad's appointment runs until May 2009.

"It is a great opportunity to work with like-minded individuals to enhance volunteerism and civic engagement throughout the state of Illinois," said Rundblad, of Carbondale. "I believe it is important for people to understand the significant role of higher education and its contributions to volunteer efforts in the state. Throughout our history, citizens have taken the initiative to change things for the better. Serving on ICVCS, I hope to contribute ideas on how to tap into people's volunteer spirit and create avenues that allow people to contribute their time and skills to make life better for communities across Illinois. "

"Often, I have heard people say they would volunteer if someone asks them," Rundblad added. "I hope to utilize my experience as coordinator here at SIUC to share how we can let people know of volunteer opportunities and how technology can be utilized to reach and inform people and market programs and services. I also look forward to learning from the other ICVCS commissioners who are leaders in their fields."

Rundblad has a triple role at SIUC, overseeing the Saluki Volunteer Corps, the SIUC Chapter of Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps and Service Learning. Between Aug. 1, 2006, and July 31, 2007, more than 5,100 SIUC students participated in the Saluki Volunteer Corps, contributing more than 34,372 hours of service. They work proactively with more than 60 community organizations in a collaborative effort that engages the students in promoting the needs of the service organizations and volunteering to help meet those needs, Rundblad said. She said students prefer "hands-on" involvement in helping others.

The Land of Lincoln program is a consortium involving SIUC and the region's community colleges to provide tutoring and mentoring to students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, according to Rundblad. University students lend a hand to students in the Carbondale elementary, Murphysboro, Elverado, Unity Point and Du Quoin school districts. On a smaller scale, Rundblad works with faculty interested in integrating service and civic components into their curriculum.

"We're very pleased to have someone from the south and also someone that has Mythili's level of experience appointed to this commission," said Dave Warner, director of the Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps and Southern Seven AmeriCorps. "Mythili is very familiar with the nuts and bolts of running a portion of the AmeriCorps program. She really has hands-on involvement and knowledge."

"It's really a wonderful opportunity," Rundblad said. "I think everybody brings their own unique perspective to the commission."

A native of Bombay, India, Rundblad received undergraduate degrees in economics and political science at Bombay University and earned master's degrees in political science and in educational guidance and student development from Eastern Illinois University at Charleston. She previously served as adviser to international students at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.