FUSION provides new community involvement opportunities

UAA’s community service program “For Unity and Service in Our Neighborhoods,” better known as FUSION, has recently gone through some changes in order to provide more volunteer opportunities for students. The FUSION program aims to enhance the college experience and help improve the Anchorage community through volunteering.

Fusion volunteers donate their time to the Food Bank of Alaska. Photo courtesy of Whitney Penn

The program initially scheduled a volunteer week in fall semesters and two days in the spring. However, a recent partnership with Fairview Elementary created a need for volunteers on a continuous basis, inspiring FUSION to open up more opportunities throughout the school year.

At Fairview, volunteers assist teachers in their after-school program by aiding a classroom of around 12 students with homework, math or robotics.

Whitney Penn, new student transition advisor and orientation coordinator, says this opportunity comes with many benefits for volunteers.

“Quite a few students who are volunteering are education students,” Penn said. “It helps them get the experience and the exposure working in a classroom setting.”

For William Sizelove, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, volunteering at Fairview is a productive use of his free time and a break from the stresses of college.

“I like the time to stop thinking about my classes for a little while,” Sizelove said. “It’s gone really well so far… Math and coding is something I’m interested in helping [the students] learn.”

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The Fairview volunteer events also come with benefits to the elementary students that reach beyond help with homework.

“The earlier that you bring the idea of going to college to students… they start thinking of college as a good example and a cool thing to do,” Penn said. “The college student can share similar experience with them… and be a role model and show that they can push past any struggles.”

The after-school program takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday until Dec. 17 with the exception of Thanksgiving week. Session one, math, is from 4 – 4:45 p.m. and session two, robotics, will begin right after from 4:45 – 5:30 p.m.

To sign up for the Fairview Elementary volunteer event or any other FUSION opportunity, visit the FUSION page on the UAA’s website and fill out the volunteer registration form. Any student at UAA can volunteer for one or both sessions for selected dates or on a regular basis. No teaching experience is needed.