Small Gifts Add Up for Honors Student Volunteers

Katy Smith, Honors College photo

Thirty UA Honors students spent spring break working to improve public health in Denver, housing security in Los Angeles and food sovereignty in Whiteriver, Arizona. 

“We just really see that the world needs help and compassion, and volunteerism is where it’s at. And it’s a learning experience that’s different from reading a book or listening to a lecture,” says senior Colleen Green, who returned to Whiteriver as a site leader this year to mentor other students interested in working with the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

The Honors Alternative Spring Break program began in 2013 with seven students. Interest has grown steadily, but many students struggled to cover the costs of participation. Last year, organizers and students turned to crowdfunding to help fund meals, transportation and educational experiences.

Dozens of donors supported each trip through gifts starting at $10 and averaging about $60. Their donations meant that Green made her first trip to Whiteriver at a cost of $75 rather than $200. The campaigns on have made a big difference for Green, she says, as well as most of her fellow Honors students.

“A lot of us had challenges in that area. [Crowdfunding] was a major part of making the trips happen,” she says.