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Lucy Olson

If you enjoy serving your community, then consider volunteering with Student United Way! Meet Lucy Olson, the Director of Serve Iowa at Student United Way!

Hometown: Knoxville, Iowa

Year in School: Third Year

Major: Neuroscience

What organizations are you involved with on campus? Could you offer a brief description of each of them?

I serve on the executive board of Student United Way, which is a volunteering- and service-based organization focused on promoting civic engagement in the student body of Iowa! Additionally, I am a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and the University of Iowa Biology Club!

How did you learn about these organizations, and what about them made you decide to join them?

I learned a lot about them from other people who were involved with the organizations! A great asset of being involved with activities at the University of Iowa is that you get to interact with so many people who are equally dedicated and involved, and you can learn so much from them! This doesn’t just mean fellow students, either; I heard about the Biology Club through a professor I had during my freshman year!

Can you talk a little about Student United Way? What is their call to action, and how can students join?

Our main goal is providing volunteer opportunities to all kinds of students, as well as offering the transportation to get to our partner service sites. We know that it can be hard to volunteer for students who do not have access to reliable transportation, and we hope to solve this issue! Our partners at Hope Lodge, Table to Table and CommUnity greatly appreciate all the help that our volunteers are able to provide. Students also learn directly how they impact our partners through both pre-service and post-service assessments, debriefs, and learning opportunities! It always feels good to learn directly how you have an impact!

For students looking to take their service work a step further, they can apply to be Student United Way Ambassadors, which lead the bi-weekly service events with our three community partners. The job of ambassadors is also to recruit new members, and we love seeing new volunteers at our events at any time throughout the year. Students with any amount of volunteering experience are always free to attend any of our service events!

What general advice would you have for students who are interested in volunteering, but unsure of where to start looking for opportunities?

When I came into college, I was in the same position! But volunteering opportunities are everywhere in Iowa City, and you probably know someone who has spent some time giving back to the community! Don’t be afraid to ask people where they may have volunteered in the past! Student United Way will also always be here for students to get involved in!

What has been your favorite part of being involved with Student United Way?

I love making relationships with our nonprofit community partners. I stay in contact with them often, and these kind of connections would not be possible if it weren’t for Student United Way!