Governor's Office on Volunteerism honors 51 UCSC students

The hard work of 51 UC Santa Cruz students who spent their spring break building a house, digging trenches, and repairing roofs in Mexico hasn't gone unnoticed.

GOSERV, Governor Schwarzenegger's Office on Service and Volunteerism, has highlighted the students on its web site with a "Spotlight," honoring the state's "everyday heroes who give selflessly so that others may benefit."

Letters from the Governor's Office commending the students will be presented by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Francisco Hernandez at the campus's College Nine and College Ten Volunteer Recognition Awards ceremony May 25 at the University Center.

"The work you did in that community will be remembered for a very long time," the letters say. "You are the epitome of today's volunteers; you sacrificed a hard-earned vacation from school and spent it improving the lives of people you had never met. The time and effort you dedicated to the families of Tecate is unparalleled and you are an inspiration to anyone who knows you."

"Commitment and involvement such as yours are a shining example of the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism's mission, which is to bring Californians together to meet community challenges through service and volunteerism," the letters continue.

Abbey Asher, service learning coordinator for College Nine and College Ten, accompanied the students on the Mexican trip. "Although I often tell students that being thanked and receiving praise isn't what it is all about when we serve others, it's quite a special thing to receive an unsolicited letter from the Governor's Office in recognition of their dedication and hard work."

Forgoing the traditional spring break, the students slept on the floor of a community center in Tecate, with no indoor plumbing until they installed it themselves. In addition to working alongside the townspeople, the student volunteers spent time with the local children on art projects and played Frisbee and soccer with them. The group worked through the nonprofit Corazón organization in Mexico.

"I am sure that I speak for the entire campus when I say that we are very proud of these students and all they accomplished. They represent the true Santa Cruz student; very smart and very committed to positive change," Vice Chancellor Hernandez said.