‘Anteaters In Action’

Community service is not a burden for those volunteering in the organization.

ASUCI’s newly established community service commission, Anteaters in Action (AIA), is a program that allows students on campus to give back to the community.

The commission came to be after the former Center for Service in Action closed due to budget cuts. This organization wanted there to be a permanent place for students to be aware of how to get involved.

Anteaters in Action is composed of seven different project committees. The projects focus on areas including animals, the environment and seniors. These project committees are in charge of organizing various community service events.

Commissioner Skyla Zhang’s goal for the commission is to provide a space for students who do not necessarily have a ride but want to be involved.

“AIA wants to be the one who provides those resources,” Zhang said.

Other goals that the commission wants to accomplish are to make people aware of global issues and encourage them to volunteer on an international level. AIA also wants 400 to 500 student volunteers.

The commission is unique from other community service organizations on campus because the service provided is different, as it gives a variety of volunteer opportunities that do not focus on one specific cause.

Attending the events is completely free, and students have the opportunity to volunteer even if they might not have the  money to pay.

For students who need rides, AIA has partnered with the Anteater Express to provide transportation.

Because it is not a club, students do not have to spend another hour at a weekly meeting. Zhang says that volunteers already put their time into coming to the events, and AIA does not want them to spend another hour hearing about upcoming events when they can simply look them up online.

AIA has five events for the fall quarter, with one quarter-long event. The events vary from walks for autism and diabetes, to helping at a local zoo and cleaning up a beach.

Their quarter-long event is to create a care package by collecting clothes, books and other items to give to homeless families. These boxes can be found in the ACC communities and the ASUCI office.

At the end of the quarter, if a volunteer attends 50 percent of the events, they will be invited to a banquet as a thank-you, and they can have a chance to meet other volunteers.

Zhang was inspired to get involved through a personal event. She was born with a heart problem, and when she was getting baptized she had a heart attack.

“I didn’t really know these people at the time, yet they were so worried about me and it made me realize how loving people could be,” she said.

She also became involved with an organization called Wolf Pack, which works with special education students. Zhang had the privilege of going to Kenya, where she was so touched by how the children there had so much joy and hope for the future, even if they were infected with AIDS.

Symone Magsombol personally got involved with AIA because she wanted to become more involved in the community. Her passion started in high school, and once she came to college that passion escalated. Through AIA, she wants to inspire others to be involved in the community.

Ashley Nguyen started volunteer work when she was a junior in high school. Nguyen says she personally witnessed the impact of volunteering and its rewarding experience.

To these three, community service and Anteaters in Action is important because it enriches their lives.

“It’s inspiring to see the effects our actions can produce,” Magsombol said.

“Community service is good to enrich your experience as it grows your awareness of the world,” Zhang said. “People don’t know how much others are suffering. Any act can make a difference.”

Zhang quoted Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker: “Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”