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UTEP surpasses the one million mark for community service hours this year

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UTEP students completed 1,115,524 hours of volunteer experiences and service learning.

Last year, the Center of Civic Engagement from UTEP reached the million mark for community service.

The 1,115,542 hours completed by UTEP students was calculated based on volunteer experiences and service learning.

Casandra Reyes is a graduate assistant at the CCE who spoke about what community service at UTEP entails.

“We believe that there should be a balance between the organizations and UTEP,” said Reyes. “We really hope students at UTEP are learning stuff at their volunteer experiences and that they can bring back to their classes or to their work on campus what they have learned.”

The way CCE connects students with agencies is through their new website CUE, which stands for Community University Engagement. By using this website, students can find the needs agencies are concerned about, keep track of their volunteer hours, RSVP events, and also allows students to fundraise and build a volunteer resume.

“We have about 200 nonprofits that are constantly posting needs, volunteer opportunities, community-based internships and students can respond to those needs,” said Reyes. “It sort of works like a Jobmine account, and in some cases it is even easier for students to navigate the CUE.”

CCE encourages community engagement no matter the location. CUE opportunities within the reach of any UTEP student and, according to Reyes, even if a Juárez agency is not on the CUE, if a student is volunteering over there they can always upload their hours and keep track of them.

“These hours are actually verified by the community agencies themselves or by our office,” said Reyes. “When you are doing an interview or applying for a scholarship and you have your volunteer resume, it’s not that you created that info, you actually have the backup of the university to show that you completed that service.”

The constantly updated website  is also used to facilitate service learning, which occurs when a class has a service component. CCE is in charge of understanding the course objectives and creating specific service opportunities for the class, allowing students to learn academic content while serving the community.

Gabriel Garcia, a junior majoring in graphic design, responded to Creative Kids’ needs by navigating the CUE, where he found that the organization needed volunteers for teaching and gallery maintenance.

“This organization is about art education, so I invited friends who I knew they were art educators. We started volunteering only Saturdays and Fridays,” Garcia said. “We taught the kids and we got to build relationships with other instructors there.”

Reyes explained that the CCE encourages students to communicate their capabilities, skills and knowledge to the agency; to own their leadership. Garcia is now offering his skills with graphic design classes at Creative Kids.

“I communicated to them my major and interests and offered my help for the graphic design courses. I was able to help them and also lead my own graphic design class whenever the instructor wasn’t available,” said Garcia. “We focused on more graphic design classes with the Classic Film Festival. Kids had to design poster for the movies shown at the festival and they got to show their posters inside the Plaza Theatre.”

Elva Navarro, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, is a part of a committee that works with and advocates for farm and domestic workers. She has become one of the principal interns, and the organization is waiting for her to come back.

“Having interaction with other people besides my career really helped me. The CCE gave me communication skills and they allowed me to work with other people as well,” said Navarro. “These skills were very important to develop for me and because of the field I am at. You can always be a nerd, but there is no point if you don’t know how to communicate your knowledge.”

To learn more, visit the CUE website at

Grecia Sanchez may be reached at [email protected].

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UTEP surpasses the one million mark for community service hours this year