UT Offers More Opportunities for Students to Give Back

A growing list of volunteer opportunities will provide UT students with more ways to make a difference in the local community and the world.

This year, the Center for Leadership and Service will offer monthly themed days of service. All service requests come to the center from community partners, so the center can ensure all volunteer hours served on those days are filling a local need.

These opportunities reinforce the university’s new Experience Learning initiative, which seeks to enhance student learning and increase student engagement by putting classroom learning into practice through hands-on, real-world problem solving and activities.

Eight days of service will be offered this year with five of those being new for the academic year.

September 11: 9/11 Remembrance Day of Service: I Remember, I Serve—Students will serve at local agencies on this annual day of charitable engagement in the United States.

October 23: “Make a Difference” Day of Service—Students will join in the largest national day of community service to improve the lives of others.

November 20: “No One Goes Hungry” Day of Service—Students will work with area food pantries and other agencies with a common mission of ensuring that all have access to food.

January 16: Clifton M. Jones Student Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service—Students will attend a campus-wide conference and a day of service with local agencies.

February 12: “Random Acts of Kindness” Day of Service—Students will volunteer at area nonprofit agencies to do their part in making the community a kinder place.

March 2: National “Read Across America” Day of Service—Students will participate in this annual reading motivation and awareness program which calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading.

April 10–16: National Volunteer Week—UT’s Leadership and Service Ambassadors will plan a daily service opportunity for each day of the week. This nationally celebrated week encourages individuals and their respective communities to take action and be at the center of social change.

April 22: Sustainability Day of Service—Students will work to make Knoxville more sustainable by volunteering with area agencies that promote environmental awareness, sustainability, conservation, and recycling.

“It has been my experience that our students truly live up to our moniker as ‘Volunteers.’ Their desire and passion for service speaks to the type of students we are recruiting to the university,” said Melissa Shivers, associate vice chancellor for student life and dean of students.

UT students have logged more than 75,000 volunteer hours over the past three years through the center’s service hour tracking tool.

“When students are able to identify a major that speaks to their interests and co-curricular activities that feed their passion, their university experience is enhanced,” Shivers said. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide these rich, cultural experiences for our students that invariably help shape their university experience.”

Find more information about the days of service here.

Students also will have a way to give back internationally through a trip being offered for the first time by the center in partnership with UTK Cru, an international interdenominational Christian organization. During spring break in March, students can participate in a new service immersion experience in Prague, focusing on international social justice education and human trafficking.

“Students who graduate from UT go on to impact our state, nation, and the world through their leadership and service. We are dedicated to providing our students with as many meaningful opportunities as we can to lead and serve in diverse cultures and communities during their time here,” said Sally Parish, director of the Center for Leadership and Service.

“It is imperative that we cultivate a spirit of service in our students. That service extends beyond our campus, and the Knoxville community, and into different countries around the globe as our students are becoming more invested in the world around them,” Parish said.

Students can apply here. Applications will be accepted until September 9.