Allison Liu’s involvement in volunteerism extends all the way back to elementary school, where she helped family and friends to raise money for organizations through events such as bake sales. During the holidays, she helped collect supplies and books to be sent to China, and traveled to nursing homes to perform for senior citizens.
As she grew up, her volunteer experiences grew to Relay for Life, Girls on the Run, reading to elementary students, and other events. Her arrival at LVC has fueled her passion even further.
In three years at The Valley, Liu has served with 12 programs. She has helped the American Foundation for Children with AIDS pack medical supplies to be shipped to Africa, participated in numerous Colleges Against Cancer events at LVC, and helped the Global Education Club with its International Food Festival. She has organized blood drives, made holiday cards, cleaned up trash, and assisted with LVC’s Dutchmen Pantry and Career Closet.
Liu, an actuarial science and computer and data science double major, loves placing herself in volunteer situations that are unlike anything she has done before.
“Volunteering is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about the wider community we all belong to. I believe it is easy for us to stay in our own bubbles. Though we may not realize it, avoiding seeing all types of people and experiencing different ways of life is extremely dangerous to our ability to empathize with other people and life forms. In our world, with the problems that we face, we need more empathy and understanding, which is something math and computers could never convey,” she said.
Asked about her favorite volunteerism experience to date, she recalled a story from her time studying abroad in Germany.
“In Würzburg, we had the opportunity to give up a day off from classes to volunteer at a community for refugees. We prepared afternoon coffee and tea with fruit and snacks and just spent time with them. Some of them did not speak German, but it was fun trying to learn about each other’s stories and making conversation, despite how many differences existed between ourselves. They inspired me with their strength and joy, even with all that they’ve experienced to get to where they are.”
Liu offered advice for students who want to volunteer, but may not know how to get started.
“Grab a friend if you’re nervous about being alone, but really, I think volunteering with a group of strangers is an even better experience because you learn so much more by talking to people who are different from you. Be kind, be humble, and just listen and appreciate. And though it’s cliché, don’t be afraid to ask for help because volunteers are really some of the kindest people you will ever meet.”
With a year remaining at LVC, Liu has already received the College’s Gold Service Award, presented to students who complete more than 100 hours of community service and at least one residential service project or complete more than 250 hours of service.
— Jacob Leamer for ENG 430 Feature Writing