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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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UB CORE provides volunteer opportunities for employees


UB faculty and staff motivated to engage in community and volunteer projects now have a university-backed program to utilize such opportunities: the Community Outreach for Employees (CORE) program.

UB CORE, moderated through the Human Resources Department, was first developed in April 2008 to achieve the central goals of both the department of Human Resources and the university as a whole.

"We [Human Resources] wanted to make sure that we were providing meaningful opportunities for our faculty and staff to serve the community," said Jennifer Bowen, assistant vice president of Human Resources. "But we also wanted our program to be aligned with the university's mission and our larger public service efforts, which are built around four major areas: Economic Development, Pre-K-16 Education, UB Neighbor, and Health and Wellness."

At its conception, many of the projects UB CORE members engaged in were restricted to the campus. They took part in events such as the Day of Caring, the Ride for Roswell, UB Paints and the Linda Yalem Run.

However, in January UB CORE partnered with nine non-profit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Read to Succeed, Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper and Camp Good Days and Special Times, allowing the UB CORE program to extend its impact beyond the limits of the campus.

According to the Director of Wellness and Work/Life Balance Katherine Frier, these new partnerships will broaden the work of UB CORE, making it much more multi-dimensional.

"Essentially, we wanted to make sure in our new program that we were reaching organizations that appeal to the interests of our employees. And the interests are diverse," Frier said. "So we made sure that we had different organizations for different causes."

Human Resources collaborated with Community Relations to ensure that all nine organizations had volunteer opportunities that matched the general interest of the employees, according to Frier.

Both Bowen and Frier believe that it's important for a program like UB CORE to be active in the Buffalo community.

"As the second largest employer in the area, especially in these difficult times, the employees of the university should play a larger role in providing community service to those in need," Bowen said.

According to Frier, many of the non-profit organizations are thrilled to be partnering with UB CORE.

"They're hoping to use some of our expertise as a resource," Frier said. "We've got a lot of valuable faculty and staff that can provide service."

In using their volunteer efforts to better the Buffalo community, the members of UB CORE are working towards the mission of the UB 2020 plan.

"UB 2020 is built on excellence and UB's commitment to building a great place to work is aimed at creating a work culture of excellence," Bowen said. "UB CORE is aimed at enriching the lives of our faculty and staff and giving our employees more opportunities to serve others. UB CORE also fits perfectly with UB's mission of public service and reaching others."

Currently, UB CORE members are participating in ongoing opportunities with Habitat for Humanity and Buffalo Re-USE. Upcoming group opportunities include the Spring Shoreline Sweep with Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper on April 18, and staffing the kitchen of Friends of the Night People on April 30.

According to Bowen, many UB employees desire to be active in the Buffalo Community. This newly expanded UB CORE program opens up the door for them to do just that.

"We have also found that although people want to volunteer, in some cases, they did not know how and where they could do so," Bowen said. "By providing specific information about specific opportunities, we are fulfilling that need."




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