In celebration of National Volunteer week, Illinois will be holding our second annual Campus and Community Day of Service on Saturday, April 5. I hope all of you will join me in participating.
Last year, more than 1,500 people volunteered for more than 20 volunteer programs, including The Food Packaging Project which helped to give 146,000 meals to people in need. I was so encouraged and overwhelmed by the campus response. But I’m hoping that this year we will be able to partner together to make an even bigger impact.
Serving our community is at the core of the Illinois mission. Even from the beginning, our foundations were laid with the promise of establishing a beacon of knowledge and service for our state and nation. And our responsibility and dedication to service begins with the local community.
We hope this event will also be a wonderful collaboration with the community. Last year, I was so pleased to see a nearly equal mix of students, campus faculty and staff and community members. We always aim to be working together with the businesses and individuals surrounding Illinois for the benefit of the community, and this is a wonderful, tangible picture of that relationship.
Even before the event begins, the community has already partnered together in service. We’ve been grateful to enjoy a vast and wonderful group of sponsors who are helping to make this event possible. View a full list of all campus and community sponsors here.
There are so many ways to serve whether it is volunteering time or making financial contributions. Please note that the largest of our service projects, The Food Packaging Project, is already at capacity for volunteers, but there are so many other wonderful projects throughout the week that are listed on the website. For example, The Division of Biomedical Sciences will be collecting gently-used prescription glasses to donate, there will be a coat drive and The Boneyard Creek Community Day is on Saturday, April 12. Organizers are also encouraging people to take part in Volunteer Week by starting their own project.
If you are able to volunteer, organizers are asking that everyone please signs up using the website. It creates a much smoother project if organizers know who is coming and when. For a full list of activities, please click here.
By serving, we step outside of our comfort zone. We get the opportunity to meet faculty members, staff, students and people in the community who we may otherwise never meet. It’s always important to step outside of our little corners of campus to interact with people different from us. Who knows what collaborations might arise out of this event?
I have already signed up to volunteer, and I hope you will do the same. Taking a few hours out of a single week to serve is such a small sacrifice. And the potential impact we can have when we all come together can truly change our community.
Around the Campus
Illinois International Week has already begun and runs through April 6. Throughout the week, there will be campus-wide educational, cultural and recreational events designed to foster interest in our global community. See a full list of events here.
The first Africa Business Conference at Illinois will be on Friday, April 4. The event is hosted by the Africa Business Club, a student group whose aim is to provide a suitable platform to educate, enlighten and promote investment interests and opportunities in Africa. For more information, visit their website.
Next week is Graduate Student Appreciation Week. This week is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our more than 11,000 graduate students. View the full list of events here. Join in the conversation on social media by using #ILLINOISgradlife.