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Photos by William Hsu

Tritons Give Back During Seventh Annual Family Weekend

Genevieve Fleming Hollinger has been volunteering ever since she was 12 years old. The Washington, D.C. native and freshman at Warren College started giving back to her community by making care packages for the homeless.

“She did it completely of her own volition,” said Colleen Fleming, Genevieve’s mother. Service is important to both Genevieve and Colleen. In 1990, Colleen volunteered in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Chad, located in Central Africa. Genevieve hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps by joining the Peace Corps after graduating from UC San Diego.

Both women gave back to the San Diego community on Sunday, Oct. 26 by participating in a community service activity at Baker Elementary School in National City. The activity was one of some 20 events planned as part of the campus’s seventh annual Family Weekend, Oct. 24 to 26. Approximately 2,000 students, parents, family members and friends participated in the annual event, which included a zipline experience with Outback Adventures, trip to the zoo, educational workshops and comedy festival. Sunday’s service project rounded out the fun-filled weekend and was a favorite event for many of the participating families.

This is the third year that Family Weekend has included a community service component. In 2012, more than 180 students, parents and staff gathered at UC San Diego’s Price Center to pack more than 18,000 meals to feed hungry families around the world. Last year, families participated in a sustainability project by planting trees on the UC San Diego campus.

Family Weekend 2014

In August, UC San Diego was ranked as the No. 1 school in the nation by Washington Monthly for the fifth consecutive year for contributing to the public good. In the annual rankings, UC San Diego has earned high marks for dedication to service and encouraging students to give back to their country.

Steven Dea and his parents, Robert and Dolores, participated in the Family Weekend community service event for the third consecutive year.

“This is my favorite part of Family Weekend,” Dolores said. “It is really, really fun and we enjoy having a way to give back.”

UC San Diego’s director of Parent and Family Programs Karina Viaud, said “The Dea family, Hollinger-Fleming family as well as other families who participated in the community service projects exemplify UC San Diego’s commitment to make a change in the surrounding community. This was a great opportunity for UC San Diego to assist communities, particularly elementary schools in need.”

Family Weekend 2014

On Sunday, Family Weekend volunteers visited Baker and Balboa elementary schools, both located in National City, where they helped beautify each school by repainting lunch tables, potting new plants, creating welcoming and positive artwork as well as cleaning up the school grounds. At Baker, where the school mascot is a bobcat, volunteers painted 300 paws in the school’s walkways to help guide children to their classrooms and reinforce the school’s “PAWS” mantra, which stands for “Positive Actions and Words of Success.”

“All the work the families did today will make a huge impact,” said Kathleen Gallagher, principal of Baker Elementary. “The UC San Diego volunteers are helping make all the work our students are doing go further…Everyone who came here today, came here with a purpose. They worked really hard. My community really appreciates this help.”

Gallagher added that the volunteers completed projects that she has wanted to get done for some time, but didn’t have the time and resources to complete.

The Dea family and other volunteers helped make a “Dream, Believe, Achieve” welcome sign at the school’s entrance, while others cleaned up the school’s yard where a garden will be planted. The garden will be utilized as a reading area for students to use during recess.

Family Weekend 2014

“We really want to have a college-going culture where students love to learn,” Gallagher said. “It’s important even in elementary school.”

For Genevieve and her mother, the service activity at Baker was their favorite part of family weekend.

“This is the entire reason we signed up to participate in the weekend,” Genevieve said. “It was good to do good together and volunteer.”

UC San Diego’s reputation as a service-oriented school is one of the main reasons she chose to enroll here, she said.

“I am really proud of UCSD’s dedication to service and UC San Diego’s ranking by Washington Monthly as the No. 1 college in the nation for contributing to the public good,” she said. “This commitment to giving back has been apparent to me since my first day of school. I’m so proud UC San Diego is my university.”