Unified We Serve talks team building and community service

Jonathan R. Diaz

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Gayaneh Baghdasarian (Left), 20, linguistics and criminology major, and Garineh Baghdasarian (Right), 19, art major speak to Talar Alexanian (Center), 20, Unified We Serve member and A.S. vice president about joining the organization. The Baghdasarian’s agree that they are joining Unified We Serve to network while helping CSUN and surrounding communities. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

Nearly 100 students packed the Grand Salon of the University Student Union Wednesday evening to hear about campus organization Unified We Serve. This club is part of the volunteer program offered through the Matador Involvement Center.

There were no chairs available for students to sit at the clubs first meeting. Instead they were encouraged to sit on the carpeted floor and to get to know new people. Justin Weiss, volunteer program and services activities coordinator, began the meeting by introducing the leaders of the club and by showing a brief slideshow about events from last year’s community service events.

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The Unified We Serve (UWS) event engaged attendees in an icebreaker called “Knot” where people locked hands and used their teamwork skills to untie themselves. The event was held on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the Grand Salon, USU, to welcome new members and applicants. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

“We don’t like talking to you about service,” he said. “We like doing service.” With that, he encouraged the students to stand up and participate in various team building exercises involving students names, dance moves and teamwork. One exercise involved students using whatever office supplies were given to them to build a fort that could stand on its own. Some students received everything they need, while others didn’t.

Weiss used this to illustrate the idea that students should help the less fortunate, regardless of how much or how little they have. He highlighted the various events club members participated in, like the AIDS Walk and the Thanksgiving clothing and food drive.

A new event this year will focus on the theme of the environment.

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Jennifer Zepeta, 22, psychology major, fills out an application to join Unified We Serve. Zepeta, a new transfer student, said that she thinks it will be a great way to meet new people. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

“We’re going to plant community gardens in underprivileged communities in the San Fernando Valley, so that families can have fresh food,” Weiss said, which drew applause from the crowd.

Travis White, programs coordinator for Unified We Serve, said the club helped him make friends and meet new people. “I hope [we] can come together as one big family,” he said.

Students leaving the meeting echoed White’s feelings.

“I love doing community service,” said Brittney Harvey, freshman deaf studies major. “This year they are focusing on the environment and I love that.”

Associated Students Vice President Talar Alexian was also present and said she will continue to support Unified We Serve in spite of her increased responsibilities.

“It was bittersweet leaving my position at Unified We Serve at the end of last year, but I will continue to be involved as a member,” she said.

Events coordinator Penelope Lopez was amazed at the turnout. “This is my first meeting, but this is a great turnout, it’s great to see everybody working together,” she said.

Unified We Serve meets every other Wednesday usually in the Grand Salon. Their next event is a Zumbathon on Oct. 2 in the Matadome. Tickets are available for $10 at the Ticket Office and all proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. More information is available on their website or by liking their page on Facebook.