Slugs celebrate National Volunteer Week

Volunteers sustain the UC Santa Cruz core values of public service, social justice, and civic engagement

Chiara Cabiglio (Merrill '11, community studies) volunteering at the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz

With National Volunteer Week April 12–18, Banana Slugs have been celebrating and sustaining the core UC Santa Cruz values of public service, social justice, and civic engagement with a series of UC Santa Cruz Alumni Volunteer Service Days across the state.

Volunteers have come together to do various service projects with an emphasis on fun, community spirit, and positive impact.

In doing so, these community members embody the spirit of National Volunteer Week, which is dedicated to inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to help their communities. This year's theme is "Celebrating Service."

In San Francisco, volunteers have teamed up with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, packaging food supplies to feed hundreds of families. In the East Bay, volunteers worked with the Golden Gate Audubon Society to weed invasive plants and sow native plants that provide habitat to birds and other wildlife. In Santa Cruz, volunteers helped at the Friends of the Public Libraries Fall Book Sale.

Most recently, to honor the life, impact, and legacy of Cesar Chavez, alumni got together on March 28 at the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz to prep beds for planting, build compost piles, and extract weeds from the garden. (Here are some photos from this day of volunteer work and celebration.) 

It felt great to volunteer that day at the Homeless Garden Project, said Chiara Cabiglio (Merrill '11, community studies). "When people get together and give their time to worthy causes, they are part of a global movement to create positive change," she said.

"It is a moral obligation," continued Cabiglio, who spent her time at the garden clearing out weeds so trainees could put in seedlings. "There is a saying I've heard: 'The rent I pay for living on this Earth is volunteering and activism.’"

The volunteers also heard presentations by Ines Marines and Susan Drake, who both worked with Chavez.

Marines told the story of his life as a farm worker and how he found inspiration in Chavez's teachings of nonviolent resistance and civil rights.

Drake spoke of Chavez's personal attributes, noting that he would have been weeding with everyone that day.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Samantha Li at or (831) 459-4631.