VOICES celebrates 20 years of service, leadership, education, teamwork

VOICES 20th anniversary

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(Nov. 5, 2013) -- The Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education and Services (VOICES) and the UTSA Inclusion and Community Engagement Center will host a banquet from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the University Center Denman Room (2.01.28) on the Main Campus to commemorate the group's 20th anniversary.

The banquet will be a reunion for past VOICES officers, members and advisers. The organization also will recognize the growth in membership, programs and projects through 20 years at UTSA. Representatives from community agencies that work closely with VOICES also will attend.

In March 1993, Rena Sardo-Buley, then UTSA assistant director of student activities, selected four student leaders to attend the Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL) Conference at the University of Illinois. Students Tom Brown, Manny Longoria, Rosa Mina and Carl Muniz brought back ideas and plans to promote community involvement and leadership among UTSA students, faculty and staff.

With the time and effort from the four founding members, Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education and Service (VOICES) was formed at the fall 1993 Volunteer Opportunities Fair. VOICES was founded on the principles of service, leadership, education and teamwork, which continue to guide the organization.

From those four founding members, VOICES has grown to more than 200 members and annually inducts more than 50 new members who strive to make positive changes within the community and to educate other students.

Since its founding, many VOICES programs and projects have grown and developed. As UTSA strives toward Tier One status, VOICES serves as a catalyst for students to become global citizens through the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, which challenges students to participate in the community through education, reflection and direct service on weeklong service trips over spring break.

This year, VOICES will travel to St. Louis, Mo., to focus on poverty and hunger and Biloxi, Miss., to work with a disaster relief team. VOICES hopes to sponsor an international trip for students in the future.

As part of their 20th anniversary celebration, VOICES will sponsor a canned food drive for the San Antonio Food Bank. Please join us in celebrating 20 years of service and leave your canned food donations at the VOICES office in H-E-B University Center Room 1.216.

"VOICES has given me the opportunity to network, develop leadership skills and serve my community in a fun and exciting environment," said Nico Cousby, VOICES president. "We must look deeper into service and focus more on the problems and what we as a group can do to solve them."

"VOICES is more than a student organization," said Rita Adeyinka, VOICES member and winner of the 2013 UTSA Volunteer of the Year Award. "It is a life experience that changed me from a concerned bystander to an active citizen. I cannot imagine my life without volunteering."

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For more information about the banquet, email Cristina Dominguez.

VOICES meets at 5 p.m. each Wednesday in the University Center Retama Auditorium (2.02.02). For more information, visit the VOICES office in H-E-B University Center Room 1.216 or visit the VOICES website.