Interview with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
- Why is volunteering important to you?
Service is important to me because it is part of the UC San Diego and University of California mission, and it has been a way of life for my family. My mother was an enthusiastic volunteer; she was a Girl Scout leader and she volunteered at my sister’s swim competitions. As a young girl, I watched her repeatedly give her time and energy to help others, and it truly inspired me.
- What was your first volunteering experience?
I remember being a crossing guard at my elementary school, although I didn’t really realize I was volunteering. In high school, I spent a lot of time working on the “get out and vote” campaign. I’ve also volunteered at a homeless shelter; I talked with recovering alcoholics and tried to help them battle their addiction. Over the years, I’ve also had the pleasure of using my scientific background and expertise to help people and benefit society.
- How does volunteering make you feel?
I enjoy volunteering because it makes me feel even more connected to people and the community. I’ve often served as a volunteer mentor and it is so rewarding to see the impact you can have in someone’s life and career. It feels good to know that you have made a difference and that someone’s life is a little better because of you.
- What does the Volunteer50 initiative mean to you?
The Volunteer50 initiative is our chance as a UC San Diego family to give back to our community—a community that has supported us for 50 years. It’s also an opportunity for our supporters to exercise good citizenship and work together toward the common goal of helping and improving our community. Through this initiative, I hope San Diegans will realize how much we care about our region and understand the impact our students, staff, faculty and alumni make, day in and day out.
- Why are volunteers important to the campus and the community?
We have many volunteers on our campus—from our numerous university board members to our campus tour guides. We couldn’t operate without our volunteers and we are fortunate to have so many wonderful people who care about our students and our campus.
I recently read about a report from the Corporation for National and Community Service. It said that more than 63 million Americans volunteered through a formal organization last year, giving more than 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service. That’s worth about $169 billion. That just goes to show that volunteers are critical to the social and economic well-being of our campus and community.
- What advice do you have for our Volunteer50 participants?
Have fun. Enjoy the opportunity to help and meet new people. And try to make it a learning opportunity. Volunteering can help you grow as a person.
- What can people learn from volunteering?
Volunteering allows you to explore your interests or try new things. You can build your skills and experience, and expand your horizons. There are many opportunities to learn from the people around you—other volunteers and the people you are helping. It’s a win-win.