June 28, 2022

#UMWTogether – Contributing to the community and looking out for each other, Be the change

UMW student Yamila Merida spreads mulch for Tree Fredericksburg at Into the Streets last fall. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW student Yamila Merida spreads mulch for Tree Fredericksburg at Into the Streets last fall. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

“Civic engagement is very important. We all live here together and we need to look out for one another.” – Elizabeth Goreham

Why is it so important to find a cause you love and volunteer your time? Spending time enriching your community is a great way to broaden your perceptions of the world. By immersing yourself in a community and surrounding yourself with people who are dedicated to bettering the world, you can learn so much about how the world works. You gain a unique sense of purpose by serving those around you, one which often manifests in other areas of your life. Giving back to the place you call home helps to unite the community and bridge some of the social, economic and political gaps.

Volunteering:  How helping others helps you

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/outside-the-classroom/volunteering-how-helping-others-helps-you

5 Benefits for giving back to the community

https://borgenproject.org/5-benefits-giving-back-community/

10 Ways You Can Make a Difference in Your Community

https://medium.com/the-whole-family-happiness-project/10-ways-you-can-make-a-difference-in-your-community-26f699a6a4bd

UMW’s Community Engagement webpage

https://academics.umw.edu/communityengagement/

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In fall 2019, prior to the pandemic, CCE’s Faculty Director Leslie Martin works with UMW first-years to stock the Eagle Resource Closet, a food pantry on the fifth floor of Lee Hall. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

In fall 2019, prior to the pandemic, CCE’s Faculty Director Leslie Martin works with UMW first-years to stock the Eagle Resource Closet, a food pantry on the fifth floor of Lee Hall. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Historically, times of devastation have often proven that people, communities and, on a larger spectrum, the world has what it takes to work together for the greater good of humanity. For example, people from all over, domestically and abroad, came together to provide aid to the citizens of Louisiana, Texas, and adjacent regions that were tremendously impacted by the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Or, what greater display of “representation matters” is there than the Olympics, where countries set aside differences in order to come together to celebrate one of the world’s greatest competitions. So, as we, in 2021, move deeper into the midst of a global pandemic and social unrest, it is hopeful that we all can agree that “working together” to recover society should be an avid part of our communal and personal action-plans this year. Therefore, let us all ponder the question “What steps can I take today, tomorrow, and in the near future to rebuild hope, stability, and peace within myself, my community, and the world?” And If you have feelings of questioning what impact “U” can have on the world, try to spell unity without it. You matter.

Here are some resources that may inspire you to keep striving to be the change:

https://youtu.be/mIqhl0rH0Wc

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/21/how-you-can-help-during-coronavirus/?arc404=true

https://earthjustice.org/blog/2020-april/8-ways-you-can-help-your-community-amid-the-covid-19-crisis

https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covidwise/