The pandemic put the kibosh on the large-scale school beautifications, creek clean-ups and food-bank sortings that have long been the highlights of the campus’s annual Volunteer Day, but UCLA’s commitment to service isn’t easily quashed.
For the 12th annual Volunteer Day, on Oct. 10, volunteerism goes virtual. For the first time, the event will include online education sessions that anyone can sign up for featuring the expertise of UCLA and community leaders. Among the six webinars on offer are “How to Effectively Protest,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Voter Registration/Suppression,” while an additional virtual session will instruct participants on how to become poll workers for the November elections.
Timed to help launch the UCLA school year, Volunteer Day, presented by the Wescom Foundation, reminds new students that service to the community is just as much a part of being a Bruin as classes and research. Volunteers can be staff or faculty, students or alumni, friends or family.
Counting the educational webinars and poll-worker session, this year’s adapted day of service includes eight different kinds of activities, and volunteers can join in as many as they have time for.
Some events are closer to the traditional Volunteer Day experience of working with local schools and nonprofits. Participants can pick and choose from more than a dozen informational sessions to learn about getting involved with some of UCLA’s key nonprofit partners, such as food banks and homeless shelters. Community members can also share their own knowledge by making
UCLA’s Volunteer Center is also coordinating a letter-writing campaign to thank health care workers for their service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And to thank Bruin parents and guardians of all stripes — and perhaps free them up to volunteer — adults can sign kids up ahead of time for an Oct. 10 virtual arts-and-crafts session that will be simple, safe and use household items.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, only two events will take place away from computers: a blood drive and a basic-needs drive. Volunteers can drive through the UCLA Luskin Conference Center turnaround (map) and drop off non-perishable food, grocery gift cards and hygiene products for UCLA students in need and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. A UCLA blood drive will help patients at the university’s hospitals, and anyone who can’t donate at the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center is encouraged to find a local donation center to help their own community.