December 1, 2010
A teacher volunteering his time in an afterschool program inspired Pricila Chavez Lara’s interest in music.
Now a junior music major at UC Riverside, Chavez Lara recalled her first-grade teacher’s generosity when deciding to use part of a scholarship she won to start a youth orchestra in her hometown of Hemet.
“What if that wasn’t there for me,” she said of the music program she attended all through elementary school. “Music was made available to me through another person’s community service.”
Volunteerism is ingrained in the culture and public service mission of the University of California. Chavez Lara is among the thousands of students, staff and faculty at UC campuses who take part in that mission. “I truly believe in karma,” Chavez Lara said. “If I help others, others will help me.”
That philosophy is brought to life on a daily basis at all UC campuses. Washington Monthly ranked eight UC campuses in its 2010 list of universities that contribute to the public good and encourage students to give back. According to the 2008 Undergraduate Experience Survey, 58 percent of UC students participate in some form of community service. The activities can be small, such as starting a youth musical group, and big, such as participating in UCLA’s Volunteer Day.