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Champions of Change: Celebrating UC San Diego’s Volunteer Community

A group of campus community members, whom are holding trash bags and trash picker tools, volunteering in a clean-up service project.
A group of campus community members volunteering in a clean-up service project.

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With an impact that extends beyond university walls, UC San Diego’s vibrant network of volunteers dedicates their time and talents to uplifting and supporting the Triton community. From lending a helping hand at campus events to mentoring students as they navigate their college experience, these Tritons play an integral role in shaping UC San Diego's service-oriented culture. 

To celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 21-27), UC San Diego Today is illuminating the stories of three passionate volunteers. They each embody the spirit of service, inspiring the campus community with their unwavering commitment to making a difference on local, regional and global scales. Additionally, each individual is sharing their personal advice to inspire others to join in driving positive change.

Frank Bellavia against a blue and teal background

Frank Bellavia ’16 

San Diego native Frank Bellavia has a deep-rooted commitment to serving others, spanning from his service as a U.S. Marine to his current volunteer role as co-chair of UC San Diego’s Veteran Alumni Council. After completing two tours in Iraq, Bellavia attended community college before transferring to UC San Diego. While he began his academic journey as an electrical engineering undergraduate, his love of business ultimately steered him toward earning a degree in economics. The son of a business owner, this academic focus came naturally to the student veteran who enjoyed spending his free time helping fellow Marines navigate their own finances.

As an alumnus, Bellavia recently took the initiative to establish the Veteran Alumni Council which is hosted online via Tritons Connect. As part of his volunteer efforts for the newly formed group, Bellavia helps veterans transition from college and into the civilian world—something he shares can be a huge culture shock. His passion lies in helping veterans gain and sustain meaningful employment in their chosen career path, where he works to review resumes, connect student veterans to resources as well as ¬coordinating social gatherings to celebrate the veteran community. He believes these efforts will help foster a greater sense of camaraderie among student veterans and assist them as they build a robust network for post-graduation endeavors.

His advice for those looking to volunteer: “Be passionate about what you want to volunteer for. Also, support your local community and your local economy—visit the stores around you, see how people live, why they work, where they are from and get involved to help support them.”

Anahitta Khosraviani against a pink and blue background

Anahitta Khosraviani '09, MAS '16 

From the moment Anahitta Khosraviani set foot on UC San Diego for her campus tour, she felt an immediate sense of belonging—she was home. With a lifelong passion for science, Khosraviani was thrilled to be admitted to UC San Diego, recognizing its prestigious status for engineering. After earning an undergraduate degree in bioengineering, she remained at the university to receive a Master of Engineering with a specialization in medical devices. As the proud daughter of immigrants, her decision to earn an advanced degree was also inspired by growing up watching her own father attend graduate school.

Khosraviani, who holds volunteering close to heart as her favorite hobby, has a long history of dedicating her time to helping others. She was involved in the university’s Engineering World Health service group as an undergraduate and later volunteered with Engineers Without Borders. For the past five years, she has devoted her passion for giving back to volunteering as a scholarship reader for UC San Diego. The alumna finds joy in being a “cheerleader” for deserving students, recognizing that while she may not know the recipients' identities, she is fulfilled knowing her efforts help students achieve their academic and professional dreams. 

Her advice for those looking to volunteer: “If there's ever something that piques your interest, just volunteer to do it. See how that one time you volunteer feels—sometimes it can make you feel like you are part of a community and part of something bigger than yourself. I would also encourage folks to visit UC San Diego's Get Involved website. This site has great volunteer opportunities for existing students, as well as alumni.”

Tyler Lenart against a yellow and blue background

Tyler Lenart

In his first year as a business economics undergraduate, Tyler Lenart has dived headfirst into becoming an active member of the UC San Diego volunteer community. Hailing from the coastal city of Huntington Beach, Lenart's interest in continuing his academic journey in California led him to UC San Diego. Before moving to campus, he was introduced to the university’s Student Foundation, a student-run philanthropic organization made up of students who strive to give back to their university community. 

Meeting the Student Foundation members was a pivotal moment for Lenart, sparking his interest in joining as a way to form new connections, make a difference on campus and explore potential career paths. As part of this organization, he has participated in local beach clean-ups, coordinated student care package giveaways as well as hosted professional development events. In addition to recently taking on the role of Vice President of Scholarships within the Student Foundation, Lenart is also a member of the campus’s Circle K service organization. His university volunteer efforts mirror the community spirit he fostered during high school, where he participated in the Key Club and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. Looking back on his first year on campus, Lenart emphasizes that he has never felt lonely, thanks to the supportive network of friends he has built and the newfound sense of purpose he discovered through volunteering.

His advice for those looking to volunteer: “The best thing to do is just join any of the clubs that you see going down Library Walk. In addition to a lot of these clubs offering a service element, they are also very social, and you'll be able to make a lot of connections and meet more friends.” 

Volunteerism is the legacy of UC San Diego’s tradition of service, instilled in all Tritons from the moment they arrive on campus. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit the UC San Diego Alumni website.

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