When a USask Alumni event is happening around campus, you can pretty much count on seeing current student Reggie Nyamekye putting her hand up to volunteer in some capacity. She tells us why she’s so inclined to lend a helping hand.
G&W: What was your first USask Alumni event you volunteered for?
The Residence Move-In day stationed at the College Quarter residences, in the fall of 2018. The Alumni Relations Office had a table set up, giving directions, providing discounted coupons, free coffee, juice to residents and their family and friends who were helping them move in. New students and their parents also had the opportunity to enter their names for a draw to win prizes from the Alumni Relations Office. It was a super fun time engaging with everyone that stopped by the table.
G&W: What drew you to start volunteering in the first place?
All around me, volunteering was a norm. My family volunteered whenever they could and as often as they could, thus I became an avid volunteer at an early age. Quite significantly, in high school in Tema, Ghana, as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program, all students partook in Creativity, Action and Service (CAS). So, through that, I got several opportunities to volunteer in many local communities, whether it was helping build a playground for kids or fundraising through a fun-fair. So, I was constantly drawn to volunteer, wherever I found myself and this brought me so much joy to see people being impacted by my contributions.
G&W: What is it about volunteering that keeps bringing you back?
I think what brings me back is, I was raised to give back when I can because I am a beneficiary of the generosity of others, too. Above all, I keep volunteering because of the kind spirit, love and strength my late brother Pascal exemplified when it came to being there for others. Pascal had sickle cell anemia and even on days when he was having a crisis, he will set his pain aside if it meant that someone else would appreciate his contributions. His contributions, however little he thought they were, actually made a big difference. So, I keep going for Pascal because he taught me to be selfless, always show up to assist, contribute my efforts and be part of any circle, culture or community of giving, so long as I can.
G&W: Do you have a favourite event or favourite role you like to volunteer for? Why?
Being a member of Student Alumni Relations Team (START) is a favourite role of mine since it comes along with more volunteer opportunities. From One Day For Students, framing degrees at convocation ceremonies, delivering gifts to faculty deans, to the Easter Bunny Brunch event, to welcoming donors of the university legacy group and interacting with alumni at Alumni Weekend; there have been many moments that have left me still smiling long after the volunteer event was over.
G&W: Tell us about your relationships you've formed and the networking you have made through volunteering.
I have formed many great friendships and connected with people whose paths I may not have ever crossed had I not showed up at a volunteer event. Through a volunteer poetry performance at a cultural event, I was given the opportunity to help co-coordinate a successful Black History month event under the theme, the strength of a Black woman. From there, I have been invited to perform and tell stories to many communities here and been given so many opportunities that my academic path might not necessarily make happen. I have made lifelong friends, who continue to be supportive, inspirational and encouraging.
Visit alumni.usask.ca/volunteer to check out volunteer opportunities.