May 16, 2011
Volunteer Day coordinators are working with student government officers to help make students feel more connected to their volunteer sites in 2011.
Undergraduate Students Association Council Community Service Commissioner Jamie Yao, along with the Volunteer Center, has implemented an application process in which students can nominate sites where they are interested in volunteering.
“We wanted to make it so that there’s a better connection between existing sites that UCLA members serve at and Volunteer Day sites,” Yao said.
She said she hopes students will feel more tied to volunteering this way.
“We want to motivate a long-term connection between the freshmen and transfer students to community service,” she said.
Several students said they did not feel a strong connection to the sites they volunteered at last year.
First-year pre-business economics student Christina Wu volunteered at the beach at Volunteer Day 2010 but said she did not feel her work was effective.
“There were a lot of people working at the same site, so it was a little chaotic,” she said.
Wu said she believes the new nomination process will improve the volunteering experience, because students will work at places they are enthusiastic about.
Ben Lin, a first-year computer science student, said the idea of helping other people was not carried out clearly on Volunteer Day.
“There was such a huge amount of people that there wasn’t enough work to be done,” Lin said.
Yao said she hopes to educate volunteers about the needs of specific volunteer sites on Volunteer Day so students will feel that they are making a difference. She added that sites will be close to the UCLA campus, so students will be able to spend more time volunteering and less time getting to their sites.
When filling out the application, students must also specify two fellow Bruins who would act as “task managers” if their site were chosen. Yao said having task leaders who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the site will help students feel more connected to the work.
The goal is for 20 percent of students to go to sites nominated by fellow Bruins, Yao said. The remaining 80 percent of students will work at returning sites.