Although college student schedules are pretty jam-packed, it can be quite rewarding to find time to volunteer and help others. Through volunteering, students are able to gain valuable experiences that will teach them more about the world around them, as well as help them develop skills through enhancing their community.
“For me, volunteering has helped me gain confidence, find life-long friends, and feel like I am contributing in a positive way to communities…It is an amazing way to feel like you are contributing to something bigger than yourself,” said Destyni Upton, student director of the Alternative Breaks program in the UVU Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.
The UVU Volunteer and Service-Learning Center provides opportunities for students to have valuable learning experiences and help the community in positive ways. Members of the executive council plan a major event each semester while also managing teams of program directors to lead these events.
The center has a food pantry to provide students, staff and faculty who may be struggling financially with food security. They have also been a part of programs like Sub for Santa to help the local community.
Through the Alternative Breaks program, students are able to go on trips where they can engage in community projects beyond the school and Utah Valley. Students will be able to learn about a variety of issues on these trips as well, such as poverty, homelessness, food insecurity and environmental issues.
It also gives students an opportunity to be introduced to different communities and cultures. The Alternative Breaks program has traveled to California, Oregon, Salt Lake City and Nicaragua. This semester, students will be going to Portland, Ore., the Redwood forest, and the Grand Canyon. Each trip has a different focus, such as homelessness, youth education and the environment.
Recently, the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center focused on mental health. The group worked with the local animal shelter to bring in dogs on campus and discussed self-care. They have written letters to local representatives about funding for mental health.
Sabrina Waymet, vice president of recruitment for the Service Council, said that volunteering helped her develop valuable skills, become more aware of social justice issues and learn to find solutions for them.
“Through being involved with volunteering, many connections can be made at the university and within the community. I have grown so passionate about so many things as I have been involved with the Service Council, and believe many students can find their passions as well,” Waymet said. “Not only is volunteering a great resume builder, but it also is a great door for personal growth, relationship building, and many other awesome opportunities.”
Executive Service Council President Jackson Miner believes that it is worth it to volunteer, even in the midst of busy student lives.
“Students should volunteer to get outside of themselves and help their community,” Miner said “Our students are assets, and together as a team, they can make huge differences in others’ lives.”