The UCLA Volunteer Center’s inaugural event, UCLA Volunteer Day, has become a cornerstone of the UCLA experience. It is the nation’s largest community participation event for new students, and occurs on the Tuesday of True Bruin Welcome Week in September.
Before students attend their first class, they work in conjunction with current students, faculty, parents, staff, and alumni to participate in a wide range of community service projects across Los Angeles. Volunteers participate at the sites of over 25 community partners in every district in Los Angeles to provide critical infrastructure and maintenance support at schools, beaches, parks, homeless shelters, hospitals, and community centers. Participants learn important skills including leadership, task coordination, painting and landscaping, event planning, and more. For some Bruins, this is their first experience in the city of Los Angeles and/or their first time engaging in community service.
Over 7,000 Bruins participate in this event each year, which creates an immediate impact on both the participant and site. This impact has been featured in print and internet news media both locally and nationally. The Center has been congratulated by the White House, the former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and many more. More importantly, the Center has been asked to begin thinking about how we can play a leadership role in the nation and the state; our Volunteer Center and Volunteer Day models have been duplicated at other universities and community areas.