To the UCLA Volunteer Center, unity means, “to bring a group of individuals together to create change and understanding, and to connect with those around us.” Unity sees no boundaries, is empowering, and connects all, regardless of any differences.
The UCLA Volunteer Center’s #YearofUnity campaign identifies and recognizes those in the UCLA and Greater Los Angeles communities who generate change by uniting those around them. The campaign has two initiatives:
- Encourage the UCLA community to think about what unites them with other local communities.
- Inspire readers to turn their frustration into action by providing positive resources and involvement opportunities.
The #YOU campaign serves to inspire unity by showcasing positive role models — making community members aware of opportunities is the first step to getting them involved. The Center hopes the campaign can be one of multiplicity, and growth, with each engagement inspiring both involvement in pre-existing projects and the creation of new ones.
Anika Patel, a former participant in SMMIP (the UCLA Volunteer Center’s Social Media and Marketing Internship Program), was inspired by interactions with her classmates in her Islamic Studies course. Patel believed she had to create a medium to foster unity in a time when other Bruins needed it most, and when division was most visible to her. Anika applied the social media skills she learned to develop meaningful online engagements through #YearofUnity.
To Patel, unity means “appreciation of difference, moving toward a positive impact.” She elaborates, “We are all different and no one is the same, but that doesn’t mean we can’t move forward together.”
Patel questions how the media commonly portrays a lack of engagement among the millennial generation. She finds this far from true. The college admissions process is getting more competitive and students are taught about giving back and volunteering at an earlier age, Patel says, but once they apply to college, it becomes easy to focus on just your major or social interactions. It also becomes easier to stay confined to the boundaries of university campuses. “It’s very easy not to be unified. In our modern world that has a lot of specialization, we are very divided in how we see ourselves.”
Patel’s creation of #YearofUnity combats this mentality and motivates everyone to interact throughout Los Angeles. Volunteering provides opportunities to improve both your community and yourself, she notes, and often allows you to explore new areas of interest. With such a globally impactive university, where graduates will go on to live around the world, the #YearofUnity campaign’s goal is to spread habitual engagement worldwide.
How to Participate
If you are inspired by the mission of this campaign, or are already involved in a unifying volunteer project, please use this submission form for the opportunity to be featured and to motivate others with your act of unity. Show #UCLA what you value with the #YearofUnity hashtag and find others to unite with. See below for some of the campaign’s best posts.
STUDENT GROUPS | CIRCLE K
Participation in acts of selfless service nurtures a positive outlook on life. With 13,250 members across the world, Circle K has the potential to make a global impact 💙💛 The #UCLA chapter has raised over $23,000 for various charities and volunteered over 10,000 service hours in the past year.
UCLA ALUMNI | OC BURRITO PROJECT
The OC Burrito Project is an organization that unites Orange County community members in serving the local community by rolling and delivering hundreds of burritos to homeless neighbors. Since November 2015, they have rolled and delivered over 5,000 burritos!
UCLA PROGRAMS | UCLA PATHWAY EXTENSION
Pathway at #UCLA Extension assists young adults with disabilities receive the most out of their educational endeavors. This program offers individualized support, inclusive living and learning environments, and opportunities for participants to improve skills for college and beyond.