The Community Affairs Board is currently hosting their first Volunteer Week, a six-day series of events offering volunteer opportunities and information for students on campus.
So far, the week’s events have emphasized youth outreach on Monday, human rights, the local hungry and the homeless on Tuesday, senior citizen care on Wednesday and the environment and animal protection today. The week will culminate with Friday’s C.A.B. Volunteer Week Festival and an event allowing students to prepare and serve lunch to Santa Barbara’s houseless community on Saturday.
According to Taylor Armstrong, second-year psychology major and Senior Citizen Events Coordinator, Volunteer Week connects students to the community by making volunteering with different nonprofits easy, accessible and fun.
“I think a lot of people want to volunteer but don’t know what is available to them,” Armstrong said. “We provide those sorts of outlets for students.”
These outlets, Armstrong said, include linking students to local nonprofits like the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, Friendship Manor, local elementary schools, local hospitals and Casa Esperanza.
Maria Loberg, second-year biology major and Animal Coordinator, said she hopes the event opens up new perspectives for students on the nature of volunteering and encourages them to look into ways they can contribute to UCSB and the local downtown district.
“We want people to get more involved in the community, both on campus and off,” Loberg said. “We’re here to help you guys help others and to show that volunteering is easy and fun.”
Volunteer Week has been very successful so far in generating student volunteerism and fostering a sense of unity within the neighborhood, according to Ali Guthy, second-year sociology and psychology double major and Hunger-Houseless Coordinator.
“Our second Swipes for the Houseless drive reached its 100 meal cap … in about the same amount of time as the first drive,” Guthy said. “Throughout the course of organizing this program and trying to implement it more effectively on this campus, I have come to discover how many students are truly passionate about this event. Everyone who comes up to our table always wants to know how they can donate more meals, especially the ones that are left over at the end of each week. The success of the drive … really furthers our incentive and motivation to expand the program on campus next quarter.”
Today’s Volunteer Week special events include Dog Day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the Student Resource Building Lawn where students are invited to meet dogs from D.A.W.G., a local, no-kill shelter. Also from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. is a Campus Habitat Restoration event in which participants will meet at Parking Lot 38 to plant native species and perform maintenance work on previously restored areas on campus.
Tomorrow, the Volunteer Week Festival will take place at the Faculty Club Lawn from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in celebration of the volunteers’ work and efforts throughout the week. The event is open to the public and will offer food, prizes, games, a raffle and performances by Vocal Motion, the ITO Dance Team and The Fire Department.
Saturday’s event begins at 8:45 a.m. at the C.A.B. office, where volunteers will prepare sack lunches for houseless locals and personally deliver them to the residents at the Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter at 10:15 a.m.
For more information about upcoming Volunteer Week activities, visit C.A.B.’s Facebook event page entitled “C.A.B. Volunteer Week,” or to find out more about C.A.B.’s additional volunteer opportunities and weekly events, visit their website at cab.as.ucsb.edu.