Summer is a great time for volunteering!

NAU employees dig a fire line in the forest.

Summer is a great time to use up some of those community engagement hours! Hear from three NAU employees who have done community service thus far this year, then head on over to the Community for Service and Volunteerism, find a project in which you’re interested, rassle up a few coworkers and put those hours to good use! 

Carly Banks, assistant director of visual communications, was excited to explore different volunteer opportunities. She helped assemble food boxes at the Flagstaff Family Food Center, deep cleaned kennels at High Country Humane and participated in a couple of community cleanups. But she wanted to do something more. Banks writes: 

That’s when I found the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF)—a nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Arizona by promoting and facilitating effective philanthropy. For the last three years, I have used my community engagement hours to serve on the Social Services Committee of Flagstaff, reviewing grant applications of local nonprofits and deciding how ACF’s funds can be distributed to help these organizations continue their important work. It’s A LOT of reading—this year, we had 29 applications! But learning about all the amazing projects being done in this community—providing the homeless a place to shower and get clean in a giant mobile bus, offering support groups for young children whose parents are going through divorce, getting new uniforms for Special Olympic athletes and helping cancer patients feel whole with free high-quality wigs—is truly inspiring. Getting to play a small part in the success of these projects is fulfilling in ways I never expected, and I’m grateful that my community engagement hours have given me this opportunity that I would have otherwise never been able to explore.  

Debbie Wildermuth, senior business analyst, regularly does community service with her team. Over spring break, they went to the Flagstaff Family Food Center and shared an assembly line with the NAU Communications team. Wildermuth writes:  

The Academic Affairs Business Analyst (AABA) team is using the community engagement hours to help build camaraderie while serving our community. Several times in the past year and a half, the AABA team has served at the Flagstaff Family Food Center in different capacities, anything from prepping and serving dinner to making 500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to assembling 400 produce boxes. That’s a lot of broccoli and grapefruit! The activities are always engaging with lots of laughter plus the team leaves feeling fulfilled that we’ve made a difference in our community. Thank you for providing the paid time off so we can give back to our community.  

Sarah Negovan, manager in Admissions Processing and incoming president of the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), has helped coordinate and has shown up for a variety of service projects. She writes:  

NAU’s annual 16 hours of community engagement are truly a two-sided gift for our staff and the communities we encompass. I’m proud to say SAC hosts an internal Service and Volunteer Engagement subcommittee; the committee does a wonderful job networking with existing volunteer opportunities, creating new ones, and raising awareness of all via SAC’s newsletters. One of my favorite projects I participated in this year was digging a fireline up on Observatory Mesa to protect homes and the forest from creeping ground fires. The event showed me that many hands make light work and that, all together, we can do amazing work for our communities. I’m also looking forward to our organized summer opportunities: making sandwiches with the Flagstaff Family Food Center, teaming up with High Country Humane Society, and pulling invasive plants at Frances Short Pond. It’s my goal this year to see our community engagement hours—and the impact we can have—soar. 

Look for volunteer opportunities at the Center for Service and Volunteerism’s website.

NAU Communications