New student group GIVE UIowa offers volunteer opportunities at home, abroad

Nonprofit GIVE, which allows students the chance to volunteer locally or internationally, recently kicked off its UI chapter through a new student organization on campus, GIVE UIowa.

Mary+Cronin%2C+The+President+of+the+organization+Give+UIowa%2C+talks+about+the+opportunity+to+travel+to+other+countries+and+volunteer.+The+meeting+took+place+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+12%2C+2020+at+7pm.+

Mason Childs

Mary Cronin, The President of the organization Give UIowa, talks about the opportunity to travel to other countries and volunteer. The meeting took place Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 at 7pm.

Lauren White, News Reporter


New student organization GIVE UIowa has launched this semester with a goal of introducing volunteer opportunities to University of Iowa students.

GIVE UIowa’s primary aim is to raise awareness of GIVE — an overarching parent organization that will now have a UI chapter. GIVE UIowa hopes to give students an opportunity to participate in the group without having to go abroad, GIVE UIowa President Mary Cronin said.

GIVE provides for volunteer efforts in Tanzania, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Vietnam, and helps to fund schools and projects in these regions, Cronin said.

“We hope to gain membership and spread awareness,” Cronin said. “I know that young people like to learn about global issues, and we advocate for those on campus. I feel as though GIVE allows students to make an impact.”

GIVE UIowa is a remote location of the more well-known nonprofit, GIVE. GIVE UIowa supports and fundraises for two nonprofit organizations through GIVE: Students4Students and the GIVE Foundation. Both organizations assist GIVE’s local chapters when volunteers are unable to attend and provide educational services, GIVE UIowa Membership Relations Chair McKenzie Maffia said.

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“I personally enjoy volunteering because it makes me feel good to give back to the community,” Maffia said. “It makes me feel grateful for the life, friends, and family that I have been given, but also immerses me in different parts of the community, or in GIVE’s case, the world.”

The campus organization will not only foster volunteer efforts in the Iowa City community, but around the globe as well, she said.

Maffia said her most memorable volunteer experience with the organization was a GIVE trip to Thailand in 2018.

“Being an education major, I am not able to study abroad if I want to graduate in four years. GIVE was not only able to provide this for me but showed me a new passion that will be the focus of my future career as an educator supporting English language learners,” Maffia said. “I was not only able to teach these students on my trip but was able to be physically and mentally submerged in their lifestyle and culture, which was truly life changing.”

While international travel and volunteerism is a major aspect of GIVE, the group also works locally. GIVE’s most important trait, Cronin said, is its laidback nature about how often members are on the front lines of volunteering. It’s very inclusive and opens up opportunities that traveling abroad would not offer, Cronin said.

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GIVE UIowa Vice President Allie Chessick said the group hopes to begin volunteer projects in Iowa City shortly, and to soon host fundraising workshops and other events to kick off the organization.

“I recommend others should volunteer to experience the feeling of giving back in a sustainable way,” Chessick said. “GIVE is such an awesome organization to volunteer with because they understand sustainable development, while letting volunteers experience other cultures in the most welcoming way.”

The group is composed of members with previous experience on GIVE trips and members who are completely new to volunteering altogether, Cronin said.

“I’ve known people who GIVE was their first volunteering effort because it allows students to decide how much time and commitment, they are willing to give,” Cronin said. “It is important to give back and GIVE also allows students to travel the world.”

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