Student Recognition Ceremony 2014

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This year, Student Volunteer Center held the Student Recognition Ceremony on May 28, 5pm-7pm at the Alumni Room above the College 9/10 dining hall. It is an annual event held each spring to recognize students, staff, and faculty that have provided exemplary community service during their time at UCSC. It also recognizes student organizations and Greek organizations. The awards are based on applications, letters of recommendation, or nominations.
The following are the awards that one may receive:
– Silver Service Award: 1-2 quarters of service
– Gold Service Award: 3-7 quarters of service
– Platinum Service Award: 8-15 quarters of service
– Student Organization/Greek Award: Exemplary service throughout the 2013-2014 academic year
– Faculty/Staff Award: Exemplary service and mentorship during the 2013-2014 academic year

*The nominations for all awards are limited to service from Summer 2013 to the present quarter (except Gold and Platinum, which must include at least one quarter of service during the 2013-2014 academic year).

This year’s award winners:
– Silver Service Award: Areli Monroy and Rigel Smart.
– Gold Service Award:Leslie Melara, Lauren Greer, Vincent Del Prado, Oliver Standring, Chloe Acebo, Ashley Arteaga, Kiera Stasny, Alexander Moore, Elizabet Acevas, Melanie Weiner, Paige Morehead, Ashley Nava, and Susan Flores.
– Platinum Service Award:Jillian Stoeckman-Ramos, Wilson Lam, Chesea director, Aren Vierra, Harmony Reppond, Nicole Moody, Eddie Santos, Andrew Iliuta, and Valerie Campa.
– Student Organization/Greek Award: Kresge Parliament, Vietnamese Student Association, C.A.Re, Coaching Corps, and Sigma Omicron Pi.
– Faculty/Staff Award: David Shaw, Kathryn Mesa, Anna Durbin, John Steele, Elisabet Hiatt, Professor Stefano Profumo, Franklin Williams, and Lucy Rojas.



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Every year the Student Volunteer Center organizes an Alternative Spring Break trip and every year students come back from a life-changing experience. This year the Student Volunteer Center took 14 students including myself to the gorgeous beach town of Isla Vista, California. Working with the Adopt-A-Block program to clean up and restore the city was an amazing experience we will never forget. Leaving the comfort of our homes to discover a new town while living at Camp Whittier helped us learn new skills and make lasting friendships. Isla Vista is well known as a college party town, but we were able to see a less known side of IV.Image

Isla Vista is a beautiful town right next University of California Santa Barbara with many gorgeous beaches and parks, but Isla Vista is in a constant battle with property destruction. Compared to the California national average Isla Vista has 46% more property damage! We formulated a plan to help make a change in this statistic and help restore beauty to the town of Isla Vista and it started with the Broken Window Theory. The Broken Window Theory states that maintaining urban environments so that they are well ordered will stop further vandalism and other more serious crime. By partnering with the Adopt-A-Block program we helped restore the city to a well-ordered environment through graffiti removal, park restoration, and beach trash pick-ups making a lasting impact on the community.

We spent a total of six days in Isla Vista volunteering, exploring, and eating great food! Upon Arriving to Isla Vista we showed up and found our lodging at Camp Whittier. Camp Whittier is a 55-acre resident camp surrounded by hiking trails, many wild animals (we saw a lot of wild turkeys), and facilitated by a man we all came to love called Cookie. Our first night we left Camp Whittier to enjoy the famous Free Birds, a burrito place that has a monster burrito that is bigger than your head! The next day we woke up early and started working restoring one of Isla Vista’s many parks right next to the ocean and by the end of the day the Adopt-A-Block was blown away with our progress.  Throughout the week we continued to work hard on beach clean ups, trash pick-ups, graffiti removal, and installing a garden irrigation system. After a week of meaningful work we could see the difference we had made and our ASB team formed an unbreakable bond with one another.

 After working hard throughout the day we made sure to balance that hard work with fun during the night. We explored all the fine eateries of Santa Barbara from delicious sushi, to peanut butter burgers, and even monster burritos! We danced like the Irish as we visited an Irish Pub in downtown Santa Barbara, played football along Campus Point beach after exploring UCSB, and saw sea lions lounging on buoys in the ocean. Every day we returned to Camp Whittier where we had basketball games, campfires, and played a ton of billiards. All these unique experiences and more helped us explore the culture of Isla Vista and Santa Barbara.

When it was time to return to Santa Cruz we left Isla Vista with many new experiences, formed meaningful friendships, and memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. In addition to many personal growths we also discovered the impact that we can have on a community when we have a strong desire to help. Volunteering for the Adopt-A-Block program was an incredibly rewarding and life-changing experience. I would strongly encourage any UCSC student interested in ASB to apply for next year. You never know what meaningful relationships your will make and it’s an amazing opportunity to get out explore a new place!

-Jonathan Green

SVC Intern

Celebrating President’s Day with the Family! (Family Student Housing, that is)

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Hello Slugs!

We hope you all enjoyed your beautiful three day/ President’s day weekend! It was quite an eventful one for us here at the Student Volunteer Center as well as for the resident’s of Family Student Housing. Over the course of the past few weeks, the staff and interns here had been designing posters, making arrangements for food and entertainment and preparing for arts and crafts for the second annual Family Student Housing Carnival–and I must say, it was quite successful! The event was held on Monday, February 18th from 12-3pm and we had 105 guests from Family Student Housing show up! Unfortunately the weather was not quite as beautiful as it had been the previous two days, but the smiles of the children warmed our hearts more than the sun could have. These smiles were brought about by the many booths we had, the special guests that made an appearance and the prizes that the kids had a chance to win

Just to list a few, we had a Brain Trivia booth which was planned and set up by our intern Daniel Reichman, where the kids had an opportunity to test and prove their wisdom to the volunteer who was manning the booth. We also had a Balloon and Dart booth where the kids could test their aim to win a few tickets. Additionally our intern Sarah Brinkman chose many entertaining arts and crafts projects which gave the kids a chance to express themselves creatively through painting and flower making. Some of the other booths that we had included Cut the Cake and Rubber Duck Race which allowed the kids to get in touch with their competitive side. After having the opportunity to win tickets, the kids could take them to the prize table to exchange them for goodies such as a blow-up guitar, a sticky man a slap bracelet and more. 

In addition to the many booths that we had, there were also several special guests that showed up to entertain the families. Firstly, we had Fantastic Fred who was present for the entire event to amaze the kids, their families and the SVC staff with his mind blowing magic tricks! Another visitor who was with us all day was Sammy the Slug who floated around the event, dancing and taking pictures with the kids which they were extremely excited about–he certainly livened the mood even more! Also, we had musicians Ben and Zack join us to brighten the day further with their tunes on the guitar and cajon–they were great! Later on in the day we had the Quantum Jujitsu group visit us to show off some of their martial arts moves as well as teach the kids some self-defense. The girls and boys did not hesitate to begin practicing these moves on the mats we had laid out! And last, but certainly not least, we had Michael Mott from City on a Hill Press join us to take pictures and document this fantastic event for us in the campus newspaper!

Overall, this was a really great event that was a successful attempt for the Student Volunteer Center to get in touch with our on campus community by providing a fun event for the kids and families of Family Student Housing! We would like to thank our volunteers who came out and weathered the cold for the benefit of the kids–your help was greatly appreciated! You are all awesome! We would also like to thank all of the entertainers that came out to make our day even better! We look forward to hosting this event next year and we hope that it will continue to be a greater event from here on out!





2011-2012 SVC School Year!

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Over the course of the 2011-2012 school year the Student Volunteer Center (SVC) has made a powerful impact on the UCSC and Santa Cruz communities. Having the privilege of being an intern fall, winter, and spring quarter I was lucky enough to experience the SVC greatness throughout the year. Each quarter the hardworking staff were joined by enthusiastic new interns, and together they threw events, held fundraisers, and provided numerous volunteer opportunities to students.

Fall quarter was my first time being an intern, and three other amazing ladies joined me. This quarter was filled with tons of events! We had the Volunteer Fair, Meal Plan/Flexi Dollar Drive, Giving Tree Program, Blood Drive, the first ever Santa and Nite Owl Cookies Intern Fundraiser, and awarded $1,980 in Community Service Project Grants. The Volunteer fair is one of our first events of the year, and it gives local organizations a chance to come onto campus and connect with students who are interested in volunteering. We had a total of 34 organizations present in the Quarry Plaza!

The Meal Plan/Felxi Dollar Drive was incredibly successful as well. Each student was able to donate up to 10 meals and $25 dollars in felxis. Our efforts combined with the support of Second Harvest Food Bank, Dinning Services, and Staff and Faculty we were able to raise $2,911! Our blood drive produced 93 units of usable blood, and our Santa and Nite Owl Cookie Fundraiser provided students with memorable pictures with Santa at UCSC along with delicious cookies to keep us all in the holiday spirit when finals were approaching. 

Lastly, my favorite event of fall quarter, Giving Tree, was extremely prosperous. I personally loved this event because I believe there is nothing more special than seeing a child’s face sparkle when opening a present from Santa. We were able to collect over 200 items needed by children from the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center and the Jesus Mary and Joseph Home, and distributed their needs on ornaments located in UCSC and local organizations’ offices. After wrapping all the presents staff members delivered them and we received some adorable pictures in return.

During winter quarter I had the pleasure of interning for a second time with two other new hardworking ladies. This quarter was extra special because SVC hosted their very first Family Student Housing Carnival. This event was tons of fun for everyone. The families, children, volunteers, and the SVC crew had an amazing time. We staffed carnival game booths, provided carnival sweets, treats, and lunch, had dancing, a live performance from Comedy Joust, and more! I enjoyed interacting with such special children for the day. Their playful energy gave us just the right dose of enthusiasm to keep up the hard work for the remainder of the quarter. In that time we had a Giveaway Event Fundraiser, a second blood drive, and another $2921.14 was awarded in Community Service Project Grants!

Over Spring Break SVC embarked on their annul Alternative Spring Break Program, which this year, went to Miami, Florida. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this SVC event as well. In total, we took fourteen students and one advisor on a trip we would remember forever. Being exposed to one of the highest economic divisions of wealth in the US gave us real meaning to the work we were doing with Habitat for Humanity. Each day we would begin building on a house bright and early. When our work was finished we took advantage of the opportunity of being in a new place to explore Miami. Over the course of the trip we were able to eat delicious food, help a deserving family have a new home, make new friends, and found a new appreciation for the work of a contractor. However, most importantly we were able to be proactive members of society in the fight against poverty.

In the final quarter of the year SVC tackled multiple tasks. The first was the intern fundraiser, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts that sponsored Relay for Life. We were able to sell 300 doughnuts to hungry UCSC students raising over $200 dollars! This was the most profitable fundraiser of the year and the profit could not have gone to a better cause. SVC once again participated in Relay for Life with their annual team, however this was my first experience in the event. I have to say that it was probably one of the highlights of my UCSC career so far. Having so many powerful people unite around a common goal to help fight back against cancer was a magical experience. Also to raise money for Relay we held a concert, Hip Hop for a Cause. Local talent came together to perform as we tried to raise some money the night before Relay. In total, the Student Volunteer Center raised over $1,500.

Another highlight of spring quarter was our annual Service Recognition Ceremony. This was the first year it was held at the University Catering catered the event and Cloud 9 gave a special performance. This was a special ceremony because students who have shown exemplary service in the community were honored for all their hard work.

Throughout the whole year our Director Chris Silva, Programs Director William Brotherson, and Operations Director Brenda Beltran have kept the Student Volunteer Center running as a prestigious organization here on campus. I have enjoyed this opportunity to get involved with my school and feel connected to the university in a way I did not before my experience interning at SVC. I encourage everyone to stop by our office who is looking for a special intern experience, wanting to volunteer, or just to say hello! Remember a single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up to make new trees. Get involved, make a difference. 


Building A Better Community

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Hello all! 

On Wednesday, May 23rd, the Student Volunteer Center hosted its 12th annual Service Recognition Ceremony. This event recognizes outstanding students, staff, and faculty that have completed exemplary community service during their time at UCSC. We annually award individual students, student organizations, Greek organizations, faculty, and staff based on an application and letters of recommendation and/or a community member nomination. This year’s winners included Elena Kohn for the Silver Slug Award (1 to 2 quarters of service), Vietta Navarro for the Gold Slug Award (3 to 7 quarters of service), Nicolas Sutton for the Platinum Slug Award (8 to 15 quarters of service), Alpha Omega Phi for the Greek Organization Award, and Franklin Williams of Kresge Service Learning who received the Faculty award.

This year’s SRC theme was “Building a Better Community” and it emphasized the wonderful ways in which volunteers help construct, renovate, and refurbish the places they call home. Our volunteers are the backbones of our communities and without their help our communities would need some serious overhauling! 

Held in the beautiful Alumni Room above the College Nine and Ten Dining Hall, the 2012 Service Recognition Ceremony was quite a shindig. The evening began with inspiring speeches made by SVC’s two faculty advisors Assistant Dean of Students, Lucy Rojas and Research Professor and Lecturer in Community Studies, Dr. Andrea Steiner. Both advisors had more than a few kind words to say about UCSC’s incredible volunteers and the overarching meaning of the work that they do. The event was catered by the University Dining staff and the hors d’oeuvres were delicious! Guests’ plates were filled with fresh sushi, fine cheeses, marinated vegetables, mouthwatering shepherd’s dip, and cream puffs the size of your head! Needless to say, the food was a hit, as were the decorations. Decked out in cool royal blue and crisp yellow accents, the room featured gorgeous fresh flower arrangements, creative photo displays, and charming accents constructed out of common building materials. It seems safe to say that the guests thoroughly enjoyed the event, especially when Cloud 9 arrived to help us wrap up the event by serenading the audience with a few choice hits. The evening could not have been better!

SRC 2012 was a wonderful celebration of volunteerism at its finest. We at the Student Volunteer Center would like to express our deepest thanks for those who have supported us throughout this busy spring quarter! We cannot believe that this year is about to come to a close but summer will give us all a chance to relax and refuel for next year! Keep checking our website to learn more about summer volunteer opportunities! Happy volunteering!


Hannah Mykel

Student Volunteer Center Intern


ASB Trip to Miami, Florida!

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For this year’s annual Alternative Spring Break trip the Student Volunteer Center took a group of fourteen UCSC students and one faculty advisor to beautiful Miami, Florida. Working with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for deserving families was an experience we will remember forever. Traveling to a new location, and thus venturing out of our zones of comfort, enabled us all to grow and learn the new skills and customs of a community different from our own. Although Miami is known for its riches we were able to see a side of it that media rarely exposes.

Going to Miami was an once-in-a-lifetime service-learning opportunity and a chance to gain first hand experience with major socio-economic issues that exist in America today. Miami is a financial epicenter and a leader in commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2009, it was ranked as the richest city in the United States. Not every Miami resident, however, shares in the affluence. Miami consistently ranks in the bottom five of cities of more than 250,00 people with the highest poverty rates. Recent census data revealed that almost 100,000 of Miami’s 351,000 residents are living below the poverty level. Being there first hand, we were able to witness the devastating effects of income inequality, an issue that has taken over the public discourse in America.

We spent a total of six days in Miami working, exploring, and eating amazing food! During our first day we became acquainted with the Habitat for Humanity organization and learned what our workdays would consist of. The rest of the day was spent discovering Miami’s special attractions, like beautiful beaches and delicious Cuban coffee. Our leisurely trip soon ended, however, as we began the hard work of drywall installation the next day. With the expert help of our contractor, Gaston, the day went by smoothly and with tons of laughs. The following days we became masters at operating drill guns, installing insulation, painting, putting up walls, and much more. Working side by side on a project that had greater meaning than just building a house brought us together and we formed an unbreakable bond. We were also able to do some site seeing at the end of our work days and each of us left with a souvenir from our new favorite place.

Upon our return back to Santa Cruz, we had gained new experiences, new friendships, and memories to last a lifetime. Besides making great personal growths we also were reminded of what is really important in life, and how much positive energy our world really needs. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity provided us an opportunity to remember why we love to do what we do. Making a difference in someone’s life that looked to us for help was a humbling experience. I know I can speak for everyone when I say that our journey to Miami was an altering experience that will have lasting impacts on our lives for years to come. It was a truly rewarding experience and I encourage any interested UCSC student to apply for next year’s trip! Who knows where we will go next…

-Emily Baize
SVC Intern

A Day of Bouncing, Games, and Lots of Candy!

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Hey Slugs!

I hope everyone has been enjoying this beautiful, unexpected February weather. SVC just held our first Family Student Housing Carnival on Sunday, February 12. Families with parents who attend the university were treated to a fun day of carnival games, prizes, entertainment, and delicious food. For several weeks we worked to create fun games and activities for kids of varying ages, find appropriate entertainment, the right kind of food, and create decorations. We provided games such as balloon darts, beanbag toss, a stumping brain trivia, and a dinosaur dig. Kids could win tickets from these games, which could be turned in for prizes, such as very popular inflatable guitars and Kanye West glasses. We were amazed by the strength of some kids. They were surprisingly good at popping balloons, which we even struggled with, and often knocked over our beanbag toss board. Many happy kids walked home for the carnival sporting the Kanye look, guitars in hand.

In addition to games, we provided lots of fun activities. Most popular was the bounce house, especially among the SVC staff. We couldn’t wait for the kids to go home so that we would have a chance to test out the bounce house. There were also many arts and crafts projects, including face painting, temporary tattoos, and coloring. Many kids were grossed out by the “nose pick game,” where children could reach their hands through a cardboard cut out of a nose and feel what was inside. One girl in particular ran off screaming towards the bathroom, after sticking her hand in the green died cornstarch. Children also enjoyed dressing up and having their picture taken in front of our backdrop. Girls in particular loved posing for the camera. Popular dress up items included bunny ears and bright red boas.

In the middle of the day, Comedy Joust, an on-campus improvisation group, provided us with entertainment. They supplied lots of laughter, especially for the adult crowd. The food was a large crowd-pleaser as well. For lunch, we got food catered by Joe’s Pizza and Subs. But despite the pizza, falafel, and pita bread, the most popular food item had to be a toss up between the cotton candy and snow cones. Many kids ran around with blue tongues and teeth after eating several snow cones. Others sported sugarcoated mouths and lips, hinting at their constant trips to the cotton candy machine.

As the carnival winded down, everyone could agree that the day was lots of fun. Kids went home after reaching their sugar quota, prizes in hand, faces painted, and with huge smiles on their faces. Parents also enjoyed spending time with their kids in a fun and stress-free environment. We were exhausted, now realizing how much energy kids have and how much they require, but not too exhausted to pass up an opportunity to jump on the bounce house.

In all the carnival was a great success! We thank all the volunteers who helped out, manning the booths and helping clean up. You guys are awesome! We look forward to making this carnival an annual event! See you next time!

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