College Q&A: UHV students active in community

Katy WaltherscheidtUHV Q&A

I am looking for volunteers for my nonprofit. Does the University of Houston-Victoria encourage students to volunteer?

With more students attending classes at the University of Houston-Victoria's main campus than ever before, the university is making it easier for students to be active in the community.

For years, UHV students have given back to the Victoria community. Various student organizations have provided community service projects and fundraisers, such as donating blood, participating in Relay for Life and helping build a Habitat for Humanity home.

As UHV continues to grow with more student activities and organizations, university leaders wanted to focus on students learning professional skills as well as the importance of social and civic responsibility.

The university's answer was to start new leadership and volunteer programs. Vera Akinkuotu, UHV coordinator of student development and parent programs, is spearheading these programs by working with students who want to gain professional and civic experience through volunteering.

"The new programs will teach students that being in college goes beyond their classwork and play," she said. "We want students to engage more with the community because this is their second home, and for some, it is their only home. It is important they have a hand in their community."

Akinkuotu will match individual students and student organizations with area nonprofits that fit their interests. This includes those who want to volunteer in a professional capacity to build their resume or who want help deciding on an organization to benefit from a fundraiser.

UHV is kicking off the volunteer program with a volunteer fair Thursday. Local nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, Victoria Business and Education Coalition and Golden Crescent Court Appointed Special Advocates will be on hand looking for students who want to become more active.

"There has been a lot of community interest in teaming up with UHV students," Akinkuotu said. "Many of the nonprofits are looking for mentors and tutors. I know our students will do a good job of stepping up and helping these organizations."

Nonprofits interested in becoming a service partner with UHV may contact Akinkuotu at akinkuotuv@uhv.edu or 361-485-4496.

Do you have a question about the University of Houston-Victoria? Contact Katy Walterscheidt, UHV communications specialist, at 361-570-4342 or at walterscheidtk@uhv.edu.