Campaigns for giving to the United Way pop up with great regularity this time of year, but for many of the University of Nevada, Reno students who are involved with the campus organization Student United Way, the effort to raise awareness and make a difference is only just beginning.
Just ask Felicia Kampf, a nutrition major from Winnemucca, Nev., and president of Student United Way. Even while she was in the midst of studying for finals last week, Kampf took time to list off the many different initiatives her group will be involved with in 2011.
“Oh man, for the next few weeks and months we will be doing quite a few things and I find them all pretty interesting,” Kampf said. “They include the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for low-income families as well as working with non-profit groups to set one up on campus for students.
“We will be attending an alternative spring break program, which for us means heading to Louisiana to help rebuild New Orleans. We will also be working with the Girl Scouts to help them do a fundraiser and begin a troop on campus for girls to get them exposed to the University setting and student role models.”
For Kampf, such involvement is a critical component to a successful student experience.
“I think it’s extremely important for students to become aware of the needs in their community and learn that they can make a difference,” she said. “Through being active in the community and also in a club on campus I feel that students are also more likely to have a better sense of well-being leading to a better University experience.”
Paulina Maqueda, another Student United Way volunteer, said that her involvement stems from a deep-rooted belief instilled by her parents that it is every individual’s duty to make a difference in the lives of others.
“I honestly believe that being involved in an organization such as Student United Way is a duty that we have as human beings,” said Maqueda, a second-year international affairs major from Las Vegas. “We are studying for professions that will make our lives better, and even though some people have more means of obtaining the funds to do so, we are all fortunate enough to be doing so. So why not give, if not funds, then our time, to make someone’s life a little better.”
Student United Way has about 20 members. Maqueda said recruitment is ongoing: “Since we’re a fairly new club, we are still trying to recruit more people. We did have a successful amount of people sign up at this year’s Club Fair, and we hope to continue to have even more success in years to come.”
This year’s United Way Campaign on campus runs through Dec. 23. As an incentive to participate, any person making a $10 pledge will be included in a drawing for premier seating at a men’s and women’s basketball game, dinner for two or gift cards in the bookstore. Information about specific programs is available at the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra website.