Laura's Internship Experience

December 11, 2015

By Laura Wishart 

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This fall, I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the Student Volunteer Center as an intern. The SVC does tremendous work helping to connect students at UCSC with the larger Santa Cruz community, and becoming involved with them was a very rewarding experience! As an intern, I helped support their fall programs which included the Volunteer Fair, the Giving Tree, and the Meal Plan and Flexi Dollar Drive. I also worked closely with two other motivated interns to plan a fundraiser which benefited a local Santa Cruz organization. 

The Volunteer Fair was the SVC’s first major program of the year. On the morning of October 21st, a team of volunteers and I helped set up tables and chairs in Quarry Plaza for the over 40 organizations that would be attending. I then helped check in representatives from the diverse array of organizations. There were members doing outreach for the American Red Cross, Food Not Bombs, Coaching Corps, the UCSC Arboretum, and the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, just to name a few. It was great to be able to bring such a wide range of causes to campus for students to get involved with. The organizations themselves also said that the event was hugely beneficial for them, and this feedback was extremely gratifying.     

The Giving Tree was one of my favorite programs because it made the holidays that much brighter for the families and children involved. I made dozens of ornaments with children’s wish lists which students, faculty, staff and individuals off campus were able to adopt. As the quarter went on, it was amazing to watch our office fill up with gifts as the result of our generous community. By week 10, the office was so filled with toys, clothes, and various necessities that every available surface was covered and you could barely even walk through the space.

The Meal Plan and Flexi Dollar Drive is another incredible SVC program that allows students of UCSC to engage with and give back to the Santa Cruz community. During the drive, students can donate their unused meals and flexi dollars to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Just one dollar feeds a family of four within the Santa Cruz and San Benito counties! I was directly involved with this process through tabling, during which I would set up at the entrance to one of our dining halls and ask people to donate. While there were always a few no’s, I was continually inspired by how many people were eager to help out. It was great to have hands-on involvement with a program that makes such a small act of generosity go so far.

Planning a fundraiser with the two other SVC interns was also a remarkable experience! I had never planned an event such as this before and I definitely learned a lot. The process encouraged us all to further develop our skills of organization, time-management, and planning. In the weeks leading up to the fundraiser, we had to turn in forms to get approved for tabling and selling donuts in Quarry Plaza as well as coordinate day-of tasks. We also had to publicize the event by designing and hanging flyers and posters around campus. When it was all over, we ended up raising $175 for the Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center! The fundraiser was a great success and I feel personally encouraged knowing that I am capable of coordinating events like it in the future. Overall, I gained so many valuable skills and had such meaningful experiences through interning with the SVC. I would highly recommend the internship to others!