On June 30, members of the UT Knoxville family—current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends—will roll up their sleeves and do what they’re known for: volunteering their service to others.
“One Day. One Family. All Vols” is this year’s iteration of Volunteering with the Vols, which has drawn Volunteers into community service efforts around the country over the past two years.
“Being a Volunteer is more than just a noun. It’s an action,” said Lauren Goldberg, assistant director of communications in Undergraduate Admissions. “UT is active in the community and living out the Volunteer spirit.”
Goldberg said students have received emails about the project.
Christie Banks, a UT alumna who is now an admissions recruiter based in Atlanta, played a key role in organizing “One Day. One Family. All Vols.”
“I really wanted my colleagues to select a project they thought alumni and students would enjoy, as well as one that had some meaning to them,” Banks said.
In Atlanta, she will have Volunteers packing food and books and cleaning up a warehouse for Action Ministries, an organization that helps people overcome poverty.
Banks volunteers at the organization each month as part of a civic leadership program. In addition, the coordinator of Action Ministries, Eugene Overton, is a UT alumnus.
Those two personal connections to the project show “the Big Orange network is live and in action,” she said.
Taylor Thomas, director of alumni student recruitment and scholarships, is helping recruit alumni to participate nationwide.
“We have reached out to alumni via email, concentrating on our chapter board members in the target areas. The response so far has been very positive,” Thomas said. “Our alumni are very passionate about their university and love meeting current and future Vols. The impact UT had on them was so extraordinary they want to ensure others have the same opportunities. Experiences like this really embody all that it means to be a member of the Volunteer family.”
Goldberg said they hope to see thousands of Volunteers nationwide participating in “One Day. One Family. All Vols.” by joining one of the organized events or by donating their time elsewhere.
“We encourage anyone Volunteer who is involved in community service that day to wear UT gear and snap a photo of themselves at work,” Goldberg said. “We’d love to see all of those photos posted to social media with #volunteeringwiththevols. The collective effort will illustrate that we are truly a university built on leadership and service.”
More information about each of the organized efforts can be found on the Volunteering with the Vols website. Here’s a look at 14 projects being planned in cities around the country:
- Los Angeles, California—Sorting, cleaning, and repackaging donations at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
- San Diego, California—Cleaning up a beach with I Love a Clean San Diego, an organization dedicated to a zero-waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged region.
- Washington, DC— Delivering meals and groceries for Food and Friends, an organization that works to improve the lives and health of people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses
- Orlando, Florida—Sorting, checking, and repacking goods at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia—Sorting and packing food and books and doing general warehouse cleanup at Action Ministries
- Chicago, Illinois—Packaging food for Feed My Starving Children, which ships food around the world to eliminate childhood starvation
- Brooklyn, New York—Cleaning up Red Hooks Park
- Cincinnati, Ohio—Various projects at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
- Chattanooga, Tennessee—Sorting donations and organizing them for purchase in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Center
- Knoxville, Tennessee—Cleaning the kitchen and food service area at the Love Kitchen, which serves the needy
- Nashville, Tennessee—Helping residents of Waterford at Hermitage, an assisted living and memory care facility, make sleeping mats out of plastic bags for the homeless
- Memphis, Tennessee—Decorating the interior of the FedEx Family House, which provides housing for out-of-town families with children receiving treatment at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, for the July 4 holiday
- Austin, Texas—Inspecting, cleaning, sorting, and boxing up food at the Central Texas Food Bank
- Houston, Texas—Sorting medical supplies, moving boxes, and loading shipping containers for Project C.U.R.E., an organization the provides donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world
Anyone volunteering on their own that day or organizing a group event is asked to register their efforts with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Amy Blakely (email@example.com; 865-974-5034)