Undergraduate Academic Affairs

May 12, 2014

Discover the impact of student service and leadership at the Spring Celebration

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

UW students have a zeal for community service and activism. In 2012-13, more than 7,000 students engaged in academic service-learning, volunteering a staggering 465,000 hours with organizations such as Girls on the Run and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  That’s the equivalent of 53 years of service.

Picture of Hanna Dinh volunteering with young student

UW undergraduate Hanna Dinh volunteering at the Chinese Information and Service Center in conjunction with her English 121 class, “Social Issues.”

In recognition of this extraordinary accomplishment, the annual Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership showcases more than 100 UW undergraduates who have dedicated their time, skills and sheer hard work to service and leadership activities in the community.

The Spring Celebration takes place May 20, 3-6:30 p.m. in the HUB (gallery of projects on first floor, reception in Lyceum) on the UW Seattle campus. All students, staff, faculty and especially alumni of UAA programs are invited to attend.

This year’s Spring Celebration will include a Gallery of Student Projects, nine break-out sessions and a pop-up museum showcasing artifacts that represent the theme of “the art of powerful citizenship,” curated by students who attended Citizen University 2014, a national conference for educators and activists on civic engagement.

Service is, of course, about contributing your skills and giving your time to those in need. But this also leads to innumerable benefits for the volunteers themselves.

Daniel Hadidi, who graduated last winter quarter with a B.S. in biology, worked with Persian Circle, a cultural organization that works to bring together Persians at UW and in the greater Seattle area. Daniel found that his work not only helped strengthen the Persian community, but it also helped himself in many ways. “I have experienced great personal growth, becoming more confident in social situations and establishing closer relationships with others,” he says.

Professor Rick Bonus, associate professor of American Ethnic Studies, stresses the educational value of service-learning projects. “It’s not only a different kind of learning because of its location,” he says. “It’s a kind of learning that is wrapped around the practice of being of service to others. When serving others takes place, students learn how to empathize, collaborate, and participate in someone else’s lives. Indeed, many students tell me how being of service is such a humbling experience, and one that provides them with a deeper sense of meaningfulness beyond what a classroom session could offer.”

Hanna Dinh, a senior studying public health and medical anthropology, certainly experienced that. She volunteered with the Vietnam Health Center and served on its Public Health Committee to make educational posters and take-home notecards for patients in rural areas of Vietnam about public health issues such as water sanitation. Hanna was especially impressed by the amount of teamwork it took from volunteers, staff, advisers and other students to achieve a successful project. “We all volunteered and struggled together, but also challenged and supported each other to reach our potential […] Witnessing and experiencing this teamwork daily during our volunteering in Vietnam gave me the necessary energy and strength [to complete the project].“

The Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership is sponsored by the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center, the Husky Leadership Initiative, Jumpstart, the Mary Gates Endowment for Students, the Pipeline Project, and the HUB, programs that are a part of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Student Life.