Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE) is an international program that plans trips abroad to assist countries and communities in need. With such a large-scale goal, NAU’s chapter of the club operates on a smaller one.
GIVE NAU started five years ago when a student who went on a trip through the program asked professor Benning Tieke to be the club adviser.
“I started with a former student of mine, Patrica Tabamo,” Tieke said, “[GIVE] is not an official NAU-recognized study abroad opportunity, it is an NAU club. Some of the students go on excursions with the overall GIVE organization.”
Sophomore and club President Joshua O’Connor has been on trips with GIVE. O'connor said he accompanied the organization to Tanzania, a country in East Africa, but also works with the club to give back to the local community.
“The student group is kind of based around this idea of, 'Think globally, act locally,'" O’Connor said. “We volunteer every year for a food shelter during Thanksgiving. Last year we got around 30 turkeys for families that couldn’t afford them, so I was pretty impressed with that.”
Sophomore Mallory Olson joined the GIVE club during her freshman year when she found the club through the Student Involvement Fair on campus.
“We’ve done quite a bit of volunteering with the food drive and turkey drives," Olson said. "We’re also volunteering at the Star Party in Buffalo Park. We’ve also done a lot of trash cleanup around campus and trails.”
GIVE club members also plan to expand their activities. Currently, they host two social events and two volunteer events per month. As president, O’Connor is making an effort in increasing the type of activities the club engages in.
“A lot of our members are freshmen, so we want to show them around the area. Our focus will be more stuff like community gardens and composting," O’Connor said. "We’re looking into doing trail restoration — even taking off spray paint and graffiti from places where it shouldn’t be.”
Part of what GIVE promotes when assisting communities is sustainability. Whether it be long-term or the simple act of being sustainably conscious throughout life, Tieke said that it matters for the future.
“I generally favor a global south perspective, which is to ensure there are enough resources for basic human dignity and quality of life for all people on the planet … ensuring that each incoming generation has the same quality of life," Tieke said. "Not just in terms of sustainable resources, but conscientious use of resources.”
Olson said sustainability means creating a better future. Her focus is more on the longevity of smaller actions, which make a big difference in the long run.
Even for those who do not directly volunteer with the club, there are still ways to help make a difference. Tieke also does volunteer work with his wife in multiple locations, both locally and in Morocco.
“My wife is from Morocco. We do quite a bit in terms of trying to help the local indigenous populations in the countryside where her family is from," Tieke said. "I have [also] worked with the literacy volunteers here at Coconino County — at the local food bank and family shelter.”
Regardless of whether someone is in a club or regardless of where they live, there are plenty of ways to help the community in big and small ways. GIVE NAU is just one outlet to do so.