CIVIC ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The Office of Student Organizations and Activities offers a wide variety of ways to get involved and give back to the Lexington community, as well as globally. The service branch of SOA strives to strengthen civic engagement through development and student learning about university-community partnerships, through volunteering, research, and scholarships.
Civic Engagement opportunities include: Alternative Service Breaks, FUSION Day of Service, DanceBlue, Big Blue Pantry, Service-Learning Opportunities, and many more. SOA also offers students direct, hands on experience of leading of team of their peers and plan volunteer opportunities through the Center for Community Outreach (CCO), a student-driven organization that is intended to foster the development of leaders who make a difference in their community.
For more information, please visit the CCO website at http://www.ukcco.org/
Center for Community Outreach (CCO)
A student-driven organization that is intended to foster the development of leaders who make a difference in their communities. The mission of the CCO is to serve, connect, and unite the campus community with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service. Through a team of student volunteers and professional staff, programs are offered that afford UK students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to use their time and talents to help others. The CCO houses various issue-related service programs, including:
UK Alternative Service Breaks (ASB)
UK’s Alternative Service Breaks include 13 service immersion trips – both domestic and international – programmed primarily around Spring Break but also with opportunities throughout the year.
Beyond the Blue
Beyond the Blue programs educational events, advocacy, and volunteering efforts focused on issues like poverty that have an effect on our local and global communities.
Big Blue Pantry
The Big Blue Pantry is a student-run food pantry serving UK students who are experiencing food insecurity or hunger.
Community Action Team (CAT)
The Community Action Team (CAT) facilitates service opportunities on a regular basis for the everyday UK student, while focusing on the needs of local community partners and providing advocacy of Kentucky-specific issues.
FUSION (For Unity and Service In Our Neighborhoods)
Held at the beginning of each Fall semester, FUSION is the largest day of service in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with nearly 1,000 students participating annually.
Martin Luther King Jr. Wildcats for Service
MLK Wildcats for Service provides year-long programming focused on service and diversity and culminating in the National MLK Day of Service in January.
UK Mountain Cats
UK Mountain Cats connects UK students to Eastern KY through mentorship, volunteering, and education.
Wildcats For H.O.M.E.S
Wildcats For Homes provides education, advocacy and volunteering focused on Hunger & Homelessness, including participation in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
PAWS (Promoting Animal Welfare and Services)
PAWS provides programming and volunteering opp ortunities focused on animal welfare.
UK Service Corps
UK Service Corps connects UK students with sustained involvement opportunities that promote student learning and community development. UK student participants make a commitment to volunteer each week at the same volunteer site for an entire semester.
Young at Heart
Young at Heart connects the young, and the “young at heart” through programming and volunteering in local nursing homes, assisted living communities, and senior centers.
DanceBlue is a University of Kentucky student-run organization that fundraises year-round and culminates in a 24-hour no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon. All of the money raised through DanceBlue is donated to the Golden Matrix Fund, established to support the kids of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic both today and well into the future through an endowment. DanceBlue also helps to provide funds to support research at the UK Markey Cancer Center. The Golden Matrix Fund was created to benefit the DanceBlue KCH Hematology/Oncology Clinic patients and families. Childhood cancer not only affects the child physically, but it also creates many emotional and financial difficulties for the entire family. The goal of the Golden Matrix Fund is to provide care and support for the kids through giving them and their parent’s comfort.
Through 12 years of DanceBlue, more than $11 million has been raised to support this cause. In addition to small but important patient support programs such as the “Beads of Courage” program that each child receives after cancer treatments, this fund has been able to allow the hiring of vital staff in the clinic such as a Childlife Specialist who provides encouragement and distraction to help the child emotionally handle their diagnosis and the treatments. Additionally, a school intervention specialist has been brought on as an advocate for the patients within schools to ensure they do not fall behind in classes as a result of their treatment. Finally, the support of the Golden Matrix Fund has recently allowed for the construction of a new Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic that has expanded the capacity of the clinic as well as providing a more convenient and comfortable experience for the families.
More information about DanceBlue can be found on their homepage, here.