Organization encourages students to get an early start on community service

This fall, hundreds of involvement-hungry freshmen will walk onto the gorgeous University of Miami campus, warmly welcomed by potential. Whether it be in athletic participation, academic opportunities or student organizations, students at UM are offered a plethora of options for involvement. Still, students may be inclined to take note of the resources on campus that provide leadership and volunteering opportunities year round. Here are some organizations that start shaping Hurricane leaders as soon as Orientation week.

The Butler Center for Service and Leadership, located in UC 240, is the first stop for any service-seeking student. The Center offers a wide range of volunteer and advocacy-based opportunities for students, staff and the entire community, organizing one-day service events and other experiences, and keeping involvement strong with more than 40 service organizations.

Orientation Outreach

During Orientation, the Class of 2016 will gain their first exposure to the work of the Butler Center through Orientation Outreach. Orientation Outreach is a first-year event with the community, in which students will be given the opportunity to meet upperclassmen and other peers passionate about serving. Also, this event will allow students to get a glimpse into other similar events which will occur during the year. Throughout the school year, the Butler Center coordinates events including FunDay. On FunDay, the U hosts mentally challenged visitors to participate in various events. Other events include National Ghandi Day of Service, the largest of its kind on campus, where students volunteer at locations throughout Miami.

First Year U

For those freshmen who crave a little something extra, First Year U is run from October through November and is designed to provide first-year students with the opportunity to learn about leadership, make connections with faculty, and explore Miami. This program mixes large group sessions and smaller experiences in the residential areas, with attention to commuters as well, and focuses on diversity, leadership, and owning your own U experience—all with the common goal of responsible citizenship and taking action you are passionate about. During November, participants will explore the community through trips which provide the chance to see how some faculty and administrators utilize their own skills within the community, an inspiring and empowering experience for any Cane. Applications can be found online, and will be followed by an interview.

Serving Together Reaching 

Integrity, Values, and Engagement (S.T.R.I.V.E.)

S.T.R.I.V.E. (Serving Together Reaching Integrity, Values, and Engagement) is a community-style living environment offered through Pearson Residential College, with a special Freshmen Fellows program open to all freshmen.

Andrew Wiemer, director of the Center, said “both S.T.R.I.V.E and First Year U are programs that work with the freshman and are great ways for new students to get involved in the campus community through both leadership and service.”

Participants in S.T.R.I.V.E are committed to civic engagement, volunteer service and leadership endeavors. Freshmen Fellows get to live in the freshmen towers, as to not miss out on any key experiences. Still, these students get the chance to participate in all service activities and house meetings with the upperclassmen, helping to enhance their first year experience. Each freshman is paired with an upperclassman mentor to help ease the transition to college, and have the chance to participate in activities to build community and enhance leadership. Applications are available through the Butler Center.

August 2, 2012


Jordan Schuman

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