Community Service Spotlight: Fall 2023

Each semester, Global UGRAD students across the United States complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service to fulfill their Global UGRAD program requirement. This fall, students embraced the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their host communities by doing everything from volunteering at local charitable organizations to cleaning up local parks and gardens. Below are highlights from some of these experiences that had a profound impact on Global UGRAD students during the fall 2023 semester.

Sarah and other student volunteers from Bridgewater State University picking green peppers at Sharing the Harvest farm

Sarah Hasan, a student from Egypt at Bridgewater State University shared, “I worked with ‘Sharing the Harvest’ as one of my community service projects. We planted seeds of kindness and harvested smiles!” Sharing the Harvest is a volunteer farm in Massachusetts that works to alleviate hunger and provide agricultural education to the local community. Sarah was able to help harvest green peppers thanks to the farm’s connection to the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice at Bridgewater State University.

Sarah Hasan, Egypt, Bridgewater State University

“During one of our recent volunteer opportunities, we collected food and goods across campus for ‘The Bods Can.’ It is an annual contest for collecting food from Emporia State University (ESU) and Washburn University. All donations, both in food and money, support Corky’s Cupboard, the on-campus food pantry at ESU. ‘Take what you need and give what you can’ exemplifies our food pantry. It is open to all students, and everyone can take what they need for free. Coming from a country with less food security and access, this meaningful initiative by my university is exactly why I was eager to participate! As stated on the back of my shirt, even a simple act like this for a meaningful cause has the power to ‘make the world a better place.’”

Mcaine Andrei Carlos, Philippines, Emporia State University

“When I was thinking about my community service requirements for UGRAD, I utilized campus resources to find that the Glen Arboretum required help to mulch and chip trees. Mulching protects the soil from erosion and is an extremely helpful process, especially for man-made arboretums like the one here at Towson University. This activity helped me understand the time and effort required to take care of the nature that surrounds us. 

Another way I gained my community service hours was by socializing with cats at an animal shelter! Our work as volunteers was to help the cats and kittens get acclimated to humans by simply playing with them and talking to them – the best volunteering service I have ever done!

I did both volunteer experiences along with fellow UGRAD, Alex (Guatemala), which helped us not only to give back to the community but also to become better friends!”

Nashra Fatima, India, Towson University

Volunteers building children’s beds at the outdoor recreation center

“As part of my community service, I volunteered at an outdoor recreation center. This center teaches classes to children about outdoor activities and leadership. With my friends, we helped sand wood that will serve as the children’s beds next summer. We also raked leaves and had so much fun! The camp relies greatly on the generosity of local volunteers’ time and works to provide the best educational experiences for visiting schools and camp groups.”

Nataly Zuniga Sosa, Honduras, Northern Michigan University

Alina (second from the right), cleaning up Lake Champlain with friends from SUNY Plattsburgh

“On my birthday, we completed a beach cleaning activity at Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York. I am so lucky to live in a city that is super close to a beautiful lake with a beach. To contribute to its cleanliness, we joined a group of other volunteers. The beach was clean, but we found many pieces of glass, cigarettes, and other small things that could be very dangerous for visitors and the environment and would not be easily seen or found. At the end of the day, we sorted out the trash and talked about the experience we had. The fun part is that Aimen (pictured in the front of the photo) introduced me to others and made all the volunteers sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song to me! It was an engaging and enjoyable community service!”

Alina Mamatova, Kyrgyzstan, SUNY Plattsburgh

Taririo hosting her podcast on mental health

“As a psychology student at the University of Zimbabwe who knows the importance of mental health, I decided to start a radio talk show on mental health (WNEC FM 91.7) to fulfill my community service hours. I am so glad my host university, New England College, gave me the opportunity to educate my community on the importance of mental health. I serve the people of Henniker, New Hampshire by putting smiles on their faces through motivation and giving them hope to start a new day by telling them that they matter and that they are important. This is the best community service I have ever had because it gives me a chance to have heart-to-heart sessions with people from a culture that is different from mine. I am grateful to believe that my sessions on the radio might have saved someone’s life out there and given them hope again.”

Tariro Mandaza, Zimbabwe, New England College