Sac State Serves links volunteers with organizations in need
Mix feel-good community service with a teachable moment, add networking and bonding in the name of the Sacramento State, and you get Sac State Serves. The volunteer network links students, staff, faculty and alumni with local non-profit organizations for monthly done-in-a-day projects.
The program fulfills the demand for volunteer opportunities from members of the Sac State community who weren’t being served otherwise, says creator Misty Garcia of the University’s Community Engagement Center. “Before Sac State Serves, we had only one volunteer program and it was just for students.”
Events are locally based and held on weekends, making it convenient for students and working professionals to take part. And the short duration of the projects enables those who want to make a difference to do so without making a long-term commitment to a cause.
In the year and a half it’s been in place, volunteers have helped the Homeless Connect program distribute resources, tidied up the grounds at the Ronald McDonald House and hosted athletes and guests during the World Masters Athletics Championships at Hornet Stadium. Other events have supported the Sacramento Zoo, the Race for the Arts and Creek Week.
While the majority of volunteers are students, the high participation rate among alumni has been especially gratifying for Garcia. “The program is accessible to everyone, so it hits all majors, not just those who might be drawn to a specific cause,” she says. “Plus, there is often a chance for alumni to work alongside students, and that’s where the greatest conversations happen, when they find common ground.”
Part of the Sac State Serves’ appeal may be the effort to provide a variety of causes to support, keeping the volunteer experience fresh. Organizers hope that in addition to serving the community, volunteers will increase their knowledge and support of the non-profit groups providing assistance in the Sacramento area.
Community organizations are so pleased with the response that some have requested repeat visits.
“Sac State Serves was such a huge help with the Sacramento County Animal Shelter’s ‘Flea’ Market fundraiser,” says Celeste Ingrid, volunteer coordinator for the shelter. “Not only were they super-friendly and helpful assisting masses of shoppers, but they worked with such professionalism. We look forward to including them in future shelter events.”
Fall plans have Sac State Serves participating in the Great American River Clean Up and a Veterans Day outreach to vets who receive Meals on Wheels. To sign up, visit csus.edu/cec/volunteer.