Let's Talk UNLV

"On this episode of Let’s Talk UNLV hosts Keith and Tanya are joined by Service Learning and Leadership's Jenny Stiles and Erick Ochoa. Tune in to hear all about this year’s Service Day event, and to get involved with the community. Service day is taking place Friday, October 7th!” 

What is Let's Talk UNLV?

Rebels, tune in to 'Let's Talk UNLV' with Dr. Tanya Crabb and Dr. Sammie Scales. Your express pass to everything UNLV — campus highlights, programs, and the latest buzz. Join us weekly as we chat with student leaders, administrators, and faculty, diving into the core of what makes us Rebels.

The program brings guests from different areas of UNLV every week to discuss campus highlights, programs and services, research interests that are essential to being a Rebel. Let’s Talk UNLV places its emphasis on connecting with student leaders who represent the voice of students on our campus. Guests also include administrators, faculty and staff responsible for upholding the mission of the university, which is teaching, research and scholarship.

Short, sweet, and Rebel strong – subscribe now for the inside scoop!

Unknown Speaker 0:27
All right, welcome to another segment of less talk UNLV podcast, you would co host Keith and Dr. tenue crap. And I ran off my last co host Renee Watson. So we have a new co host. I'm gonna try to retain her a little longer. So Dr. Crabb, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you. Pleasure to be here. Well, you know, we always start off tradition just talking about, you know, what do we did over the weekend? How was your weekend? restful, it was really restful. I had a good opportunity to get some sleep. I went outside, I did some writing. I'll actually read a book a whole real book was titled, it was called reckless. Oh, and it's by Stacey Abrams.

Unknown Speaker 1:09
She writes under a pen name, I don't remember her pen name. So what was your key takeaway from the book? You know, I was a bit salty, because it's part of a series and I'm used to books like ending at the end. I was like, dang it. Now I gotta buy a book number two to finish the story. But it was a really captivating read. It's an extremely captivating, you know, I'm embarrassed to say I probably shouldn't say this. You know what, I don't think I've read a book since my dissertation. Listen, in academia, like, after you've done academia, you suddenly like books are like your kryptonite. I know. You know, so I've been more into podcasts and things like that and more articles, but, but I do I do have a few books that have been recommended to me to, to read on, I have to stop being lazy and, you know, hide behind the scars of dissertation to to not get into that. Healing takes time, though. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 2:05
See, we're gonna get along well, I need that. But it's great to hear you say you relaxed having a good weekend, I've mostly, you know, shuttled the boys around my two boys. And you know, we started our upper bound program. So the 13 year old he's, so we're up at six in the morning on Saturday, rushing to get to university, so he just gets some college readiness support and, and in a six year old,

Unknown Speaker 2:29
you know, he's just into everything outside. So his dad come and play ball, Do this, do this. So I envy the relaxing the relaxed weekend. I did not have that. So but you know, it's great. Did you talk about just relaxing, you know, as we welcome students back to campus. I'm excited this episode we're going to be talking about, you know, just UNLV Service Learning and Leadership and Service Day.

Unknown Speaker 2:52
And we are joined today by our co host, Jenny Stiles, who's with the rebel Media Group. And Eric Ochoa, who's our service program coordinator, Jenny, Ginni, and Eric, welcome to the show. Welcome. Thank you. Thanks for having us. And we always just sort of kick it off by just asking each of our guests to just tell us your origin story in terms of how you sort of came to UNLV and into the current role that you're in? Yeah, so I did my undergrad here at UNLV. And then after a few years of working, I was like, You know what, I don't have a savings or retirement fund. So I need to go do my master's. So I did my Master's on public admin. And in that time, I did a GA at the office of service learning and leadership for about two years. And then very recently, the former previous program coordinator for and who was my boss, supervisor, lover, she's great. Amber. Hi.

Unknown Speaker 3:43
She moved Chicago. And they were like, well, we need somebody to cover and they got me. All right, Jenny. Yes. Um, while I am rebel media group in the rebel Media Group, I'm a team lead there. And I team lead the social media for let's talk UNLV. Obviously, my favorite client. I also work with Eric at UNLV volunteers. I am a program assistant there and I'm currently getting my degree in Journalism and Media Studies. I graduated in December. But I started as a council member at UNLV volunteers, which is pretty much you know, the majority of how everyone starts there, and I really loved what they do there a lot of service and social justice, which is something I've been into most of my life and then I became a program assistant for Amber and then after Amber left, do you know I became the program assistant for Eric, who I worked with as a GA, and you know, I've just been sticking around there until they kick me out.

Unknown Speaker 4:46
And lead up to me, trust me.

Unknown Speaker 4:49
It's funny that you know, you say sticky, because I use that word a lot to describe myself.

Unknown Speaker 4:56
You know, we started as a student at UNLV and you before you know, you've been here

Unknown Speaker 5:00
20 years as a professional staff member, and and I always say, sticky, it's hard to get rid of me once you get me on campus. So you I find that there are so many employees at UNLV who sort of share that same stickiness. I love it. I love that we're homegrown.

Unknown Speaker 5:17
Must be a great place to work. Yeah. I love it. I love it here on campus. Yeah, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 5:23
Oh, well.

Unknown Speaker 5:25
Question for you. So what are your roles entail at student learning and leadership. So my role as the program coordinator for service programs, before this year, we kind of had a bit of an unreal reorg recently, I was also overseeing civic engagement. So not only would I do service learning programs put on by, you know, it's student led to just kind of like mentoring students to put on these various service programs across the, across the valley with various community partners, but also doing like civic engagement events here on campus to kind of promote, you know, especially, like midterms coming up all that stuff.

Unknown Speaker 5:59
So that was that's kind of like my focus. And now with your reorg, I'm just strictly doing just service programs across with the multitude of community partners we got across the valley. Wow.

Unknown Speaker 6:11
Um, I as a program assistant, pretty much me and Eric work pretty much hand in hand.

Unknown Speaker 6:18
I am, I create most of our marketing, because of you know, social media and everything. So I do a lot of our social media, I've reorganized our social media. I also helped create events, I do catering, which is my favorite job.

Unknown Speaker 6:35
Eric knows this.

Unknown Speaker 6:37
I, you know, organize events, I reserve rooms, I come up with some of our programs. I do a lot of outreach, which is kind of a background I have before I came to UNLV I did a lot of nonprofit outreach.

Unknown Speaker 6:51
Yeah, and I help with programming. I'm actually helping to do some programming for October for disability pride. And I'm just kind of all over wherever Eric needs me. I'm there. And I just make sure you know, I'm over there, making sure everything clicks and moves. And you know, I like to say I'm a creative problem solver.

Unknown Speaker 7:13
You know, I'm at the risk of our audience not knowing what the devil I'm talking about. But you know, on Living Single.

Unknown Speaker 7:21
I was like, Are you Loki? Jamaican, because you got a bunch of jobs. Do you have?

Unknown Speaker 7:25
Yeah, yes, I do. I'm telling you. Yeah. She's, she's like my backbone. Any problem comes up. I'm like, Jenny. Yeah, I got that. Yeah, I get that message and discord a lot like Jenny, do you mind? I'm like, Yeah, sure. What do you need, you know?

Unknown Speaker 7:40
Wonderful in living color skin. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 7:43

Unknown Speaker 7:46
Mr. minich, I got three jobs. Eric, just the last week was like so um, can you come in on Friday? Because we don't have enough people for this event? I'm like, Yeah, sure.

Unknown Speaker 7:58
I might be coming in, in cosplay, because I'm going to Comic Con afterwards. But I'll be there. I'll show up. Okay. You've touched my soul. We'll talk about that later. Yes. Yeah. So you can definitely Yeah, please do come in cosplay?

Unknown Speaker 8:11
Well, let's talk a little bit about service day. I know, Eric, you mentioned that we have we partnered with a number of community based organizations. Could you maybe talk a little bit about the types of community based organizations that are involved in service day? And then also talk about how to how do you reach out or identify potential partners to come in and support the event? Yeah, so we work with a variety of partners that provide variety of services. One of our big partners is, for example, the Las Vegas rescue mission, we do a key signature event called dash where we go and hand out sandwiches to our house, this community here in Vegas. From that, too, we also do work with Boys and Girls Club. It really ranges based on like some five impact areas that we have on, you know, volunteers, which are like environmental, youth and education, food and housing insecurity, and health and wellness. So it really ranges from the range of like providing like Immunize Nevada, who does like vaccine kits or, or providing like, you know, health services for to low, low income communities, to like your regular run of the mill stuff that you think about when you think of service, right, like, like serving food to the homeless folks, or like animal shelters, that kind of stuff. How we identify partners for

Unknown Speaker 9:28
for like, service day, usually we have, we've had we've had these relationships with these community partners for such a long time now, that oftentimes they already know, well, well aware of time, you know, we have service day twice as twice as academic year, and they're like, oh, yeah, don't worry, we got you. So it's, it's really easy to do the outreach to them, especially because, you know, oftentimes, folks are devoid of, you know, labor and these are nonprofits who need as much help as they can. And

Unknown Speaker 9:55
just building relationships with them also through like our writing or other programming as well.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
So, you know, this, this, this idea of service, I love the idea of service. But, um, why is it important to get involved? Like, what is community involvement about and how has your involvement served your community, and I think I will feel this one too, Jen,

Unknown Speaker 10:18
thank you, um, I, myself have always been a part of service, it's something that's just, you know, a bare necessity to my growing up with my family. But I feel especially in Las Vegas. And if you are from Las Vegas, and you consider yourself a Las Vegas local, you know, that this is, you know, a community that helps each other, there's, you know, for those that remember, you know, October 1, everyone was, you know, both hands in helping each other bird there.

Unknown Speaker 10:51
And, you know, besides the Sin City, and all of that, like, there's a real small community in a small town community here, where we care about each other. And we're always reaching to help and asking if you're okay, and things like that. And I think, to teach students, and anyone about service is so important, not just because you never know when you're going to be the person that needs help. But I also think service teaches you a lot about yourself and it in, you know, not so like, in not so like sympathetic terms, it also helps you gain skills. And you know, you need to be able to, you know, transition from one skill to the other quickly, and nonprofit is very much about being a jack of all trades and being able to like, well, this needs to be done. And that needs to be done, it really teaches you to just, you know, not think of yourself, but also to look at the broader scheme of things and think about how other people live and how, you know, that affects everything. Because just because you're okay, doesn't mean everybody else is okay, and we can so easily make things better for somebody else. And I think that's an important thing that we all know and learn.

Unknown Speaker 12:02
Wonderful. Would you like to add? Yeah, I think what I would add to that is that like, service is important too, because it exposes us to. And that's kind of what we're trying to do, right, expose folks to some material inequalities that exist. So like homeless folks, you know, they don't have access to oftentimes and have access to shelter, homeless, shelter, a roof over their heads, or food. So I think why service is important is just not only for the exposure of that, so that people were like, hey, you know, there's folks who have explore experiencing this, what can I do to improve the situation, right, not

Unknown Speaker 12:37
not be there to just be Oh, like, serving their needs, in a short for the short term, short term, also trying to help to address it on the long term. But I think to touch on Jenny's point about community, I think Vegas is such a very small knit town. I think you're like one degree of Kevin Bacon away from knowing somebody at all. Definitely. But

Unknown Speaker 13:00
I think that's, you know, it creates this tight knit community. And I think going out and serving your community helps you feel as a larger part of you know, of this town that we have. It's so unique and different. And people sometimes I like what is living in Vegas sometimes. And not to add a shameless plug, but it's also the for your mental health, it really contributes towards your purpose is very important to mental health. Yes. And that ability to have empathy and to build empathy is exceptionally good for your mental health. So even just the looking outward versus looking inward, and it helps you to have gratitude. You know, as you notice, the ways in which people's lives are different from yours, you know, the admit, we lose sight of the advantages and privileges that we have, because we were we live in them. So

Unknown Speaker 13:48
could you talk a little bit about

Unknown Speaker 13:52
the origin of service day how it sort of came about? Yeah. So you know, volunteers before that was known as rebel service Council. Just a bit of a backstory, I might I started my undergrad in 2011.

Unknown Speaker 14:05
And when I was an undergrad, I actually went to one of our cert and it was known as RSC back then real service Council. And they started putting on they moved to they became util volunteers in 2013. And services, the first service day was around 2014. That's when they when is popped up when it really popped off. It was same thing as fall and spring one and I believe that you could do it like outside in the courtyard very like impromptu and sort of a, you know, winging it, mentality with it. And it was great. I think that hard work that they used to previously do really paid off because it's become a bigger and bigger thing now, each year. And then Jen, I had a question for you. Relatedly. So, for our listeners who are excited about participating in service days, sort of what can they expect when you show up sort of what what can they expect to the types of projects or how they will spend their day? Okay, so you're gonna show up nice

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Send early,

Unknown Speaker 15:03
you're going to come, we're going to have a little bite for you to eat, then we're going to get you together with your group, there'll be usually anywhere from like, I believe we have five people to 30 people going to these different sites. So you'll meet with your group, we'll teach you a little bit about service and social justice, we'll tell you about, you know, the organization you'll be working with. And then we're going to head over, you're going to head over with your group to your site. And then you will, about you'll work about three hours of service would you do get service hours for this, which is always nice, because we have those classes or those organizations or that we do need to do service hours. And then you get to, we have the UNLV community garden, which I personally love, I think it's a great one.

Unknown Speaker 15:55
Especially now that the weather's cooler, we have

Unknown Speaker 16:02
I'm gonna blink, we have project 150 We have

Unknown Speaker 16:07
we do have Lake Mead, for more outdoorsy things, we have a bunch of different places. And anything really goes we have immunised Nevada, we have Nevada Donor Network, which is one of one of my personal favorites. And you go and you learn about these organizations, you learn about

Unknown Speaker 16:28
the communities they serve and how they're serving and creating social justice, then you come back, you get a meal, which I know everyone likes some free food, especially after they've been working hard for three hours, um, get to talk to other people who love what you're doing what you're doing, and get to, you know, just mingle with other people. And that's your day, and it's a really fun time. I love it. I love the people that come these are people who love service and love helping people and love their community and love Vegas. And I just I think it's a great time. I think it's a wonderful thing that we do. It's one of my favorite things that we do. And for our listeners, could you just restate the date and time for the event? It will be October 7 from 8am 8am to about 130. About 130? Yeah, it will be at the Glasgow foundation howling? Yes, we have a new load locations. Yes, we have a new location this year. And then how do they get from that location to their various assigned sites, their transportation provided, or they may have their own transportation. So they will have to provide students come in and we typically just advise them to carpool to the sites and they will have to you know, take their old transportation over there. There are some sites where we've we have like a low enough number. And typically for the further away once we do have a van that provides transit over there. But for the most part, we it's mostly just carpooling. And just being mindful also of like, don't take too many cars. Because sometimes, you know, these are small community partners, they don't have a lot of parking space available.

Unknown Speaker 18:07
Those sound like wonderful opportunities. You know, the thing that I that struck me when you said, service is social justice. You know, what a wonderful concept that in addition to improving the community, you can improve the world. Yeah. So this is something that goes beyond just serving your local neighborhood. This is improving someone's life, which improves the community, which in essence, improves the world. So you never know who you're impacting in that moment of service. And that's what I always like to think about, you never know who's going to remember you, you never know who's going to like really take something from that time you spent serving. So

Unknown Speaker 18:43
that's wonderful. So what's at the risk of putting you on the spot, but

Unknown Speaker 18:50
which organizations have you really enjoyed?

Unknown Speaker 18:55
In terms of your own personal service? Or which ones do you feel like you want to put a special plug in for because there are near and dear to your particular heart. Like I said, Nevada Donor Network, I am a transplant recipient twice over and they do amazing, wonderful work. And also, people may not know it, but Nevada is very, it's one of the top states that donates organs. So it's an important thing to know and inform yourself about. And I also really love spread the word because they do something what a lot of people would consider so simple. But as we were talking about reading and academia, they take donated books, and they take them into communities that may not have as many resources and they clean these books up and they hand them out to the schools who need them. And I think resource to book like that ability to get a book in your hands, especially for children. And there have been many studies that show that, you know, children that have an ability to you know, get to books have a high

Unknown Speaker 20:00
higher chance of reaching higher education and really being able to do for themselves and get themselves the places that they want to be. So I think that is just so incredibly important.

Unknown Speaker 20:13
For all levels, I love it, it's all levels of care. So me near and dear to your heart, as the program coordinator, I will say that I love all my community partner.

Unknown Speaker 20:25
But I have a lot of fun this to the rescue mission, because I've previously have, in my own time,

Unknown Speaker 20:31
I have a lot of passion for like housing justice, and also food, food, food justice as well. Because you know, you you secure those basic needs of the individual, and you help folks succeed, right, and, and those are things that we could definitely be doing a lot more work towards. But just as a, as a Vegas native, my, well, I was born in California, but I've been here for most of my life.

Unknown Speaker 20:53
But we went to the Neon Museum last year. And it's, first of all, it's a really cool Museum, I really strongly advise everybody to go visit it, especially at night. And second of all,

Unknown Speaker 21:06
you see the history of Vegas, right through these like neon signs. And I think Vegas is such a young town as well, it's just really nice to see that. And it helps me feel like, you know, a sense of like, this is my community right here. And this is the history of my community throughout the years, century now. So what's some of the feedback that you hear from the organizations who sort of have these UNLV students come in and support their work in their communities and to their clients? And then secondarily, like, what are some of the feedback you hear from the students here who actually sort of go out and have those experiences? Yeah, the community partners love it. I think they, they obviously that, you know, they could use all the free help they could get, right. But I think for the most part, they really like it. And they like having the students they're getting some exposure to the work that they do, what it is that they that they need, and like, and then students themselves come back and they're like, Wow, this is, this was really impactful. I learned a lot, especially for Well, I think a lot of students, I've noticed that our our out of state student population has been growing substantially lately. I think students who are out of state are like, wow, this is incredible, like I've I helped to, I can connect to Las Vegas a bit more and learn more about, you know, my surrounding community and just being outside of, you know, the campus, right. I think for the most part has always been very, very positive. Community Partners, love, love the students, the students come in here with a passion and a dedication, and the students are typically always loving to learn. And they and they do it was such a great spirit to

Unknown Speaker 22:44
for me, because I do the outreach. And I'm the one who calls the nonprofits to the point where now they're like, Oh, hey, Jen, how are you doing?

Unknown Speaker 22:53
That's how long I've been doing this now.

Unknown Speaker 22:56
They're always like, Oh, is it time for service day? Oh, we love having your students over. Oh, we just love it. Oh, can they come also to this event, this event in this event? Like they literally start giving me dates? And they're like, can they also volunteer for this and this and this. And so, you know, as someone who's worked at nonprofits for quite a while now, there's no such thing as saying no to volunteers, when you can get like some volunteers for you, but our community partners always love seeing is always enjoy getting the amount of times I've seen it like growing like, yeah, you brought 15 Can you bring 30 This time, we're like, we will see what we can do. But also the students always come up to me going, it was so great, I met this friend here, like, Oh, we're so cool. And oh, I didn't know this was happening in our community. And I didn't know that this was a problem or that, like, and then I hear people saying that our students coming to me and being like, Oh, I'm going to actually volunteer there throughout the year now. And I think that's the best thing we can ask for is that they allow service be a part of their normal everyday life. And they can be a part of that community. And it's something that even though they may be at UNLV, for a short while, like, they're, like, you know, doubling down to use a Vegas term, doubling down on our community long term, which is honestly the most important thing. So, you know, UNLV can be is such a part of our community and the fact that we're building that long term relationship deeper into our community, I think is just like so cool to watch and see these people like volunteer because I have I I'll go to these places and I'll see people that like volunteered there will be with us before I'm like what you're still doing this is so cool. So yeah, it's, it's beneficial for everyone, but everyone has a good time. And everyone you know, looks forward to it, which honestly just lights my heart on fire that people look forward to our event. I love it. You know, the thing that you said that struck me was this idea of connection. And how you know that this is an opportunity to not only connect them to each other but to connect them to Las Vegas as a whole. So you're you're building some

Unknown Speaker 25:00
thing, you know, because we are a community school, we are a transplant school. And I've heard students say that sometimes it's hard to get plugged in. Yeah, so this accomplishes so many things, it gets them connected to you, it gets them connected to each other, it gets them connected to Vegas. And it also gives them an opportunity to really understand the culture and to serve. I once heard on surfaces, the rent you pay for life on this planet, something like that. Love it.

Unknown Speaker 25:26
Well, we'll get you out of here on on one final question each. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 25:31
Is there anything that you would like to share with our listeners or question that you wish we had asked that you would want to address?

Unknown Speaker 25:39
I just want to, I think when we're doing service, right, I think it's important to distinguish it from volunteering. And that's kind of what we really do here. Because typically, volunteering is done with a very, like savior complex. So when you're coming to our events, please come with the mentality to learn and to, you know, put yourself out there for your fellow human being. Besides that, too, I just would like to promote our service day, which is on our site leader application is coming up soon, it'll be bit.ly/sll. Actually, a bit.ly/capital U, capital N, capital L, capital V, capital S service, and then capital D Day, and then capital S site, I have to be very exact, because otherwise it doesn't work. All right, um, to go off what Dr. Kraft said, I'm actually joining UNLV volunteers is the thing that connected me, here I was I took a five and a half year break. And I joined just because I needed a job, I needed some money. And I joined and I have I love that office, I'm going to be so sad when I leave the office when I graduate. And it connected me to UNLV. I wasn't connected to UNLV, because it wasn't the school I really wanted to go to. But it connected me and now I'm like, I'm going to cry. I know it. I'm going to cry on my last day. And so that's what service can do for you, it can really connect you and gain you a whole lot of people in your life that you didn't think would be there. I'll be crying with you too, Jenny.

Unknown Speaker 27:06
Thanks so much.

Unknown Speaker 27:09
Dr. Crab, you were I mean, it's a powerful session. I mean, we know we're all about service. And so what are some of your key takeaways from today's session, my heart is smiling. I am so delighted that this program exists. I'm so delighted that the opportunities exist. I am thrilled beyond measure that you are allowing students to not just live in the community, but be part of the community. So thank you so much. No, thank you. Thank you both. Yes, thank you for having us. Yeah, and I will say, you know, it's, you know, I, I believe in service through and through. And, you know, some of the organization that you mentioned, we have worked with personally, you know, I, I would give my shout out to Project 150. You know, over the summer, we work with a lot of at risk high school students, college readiness. And one of the things that they were able to do through partnership is they donated a professional tire to 37 of our high school graduates so that they would have professional tires, they went on to college be to go have interviews, and they helped us with getting ties and for the boys. I mean, it was just a great experience working with them. And we're looking forward to continue relationship. And then the other part, I think that the work that you're doing also ties very well with our top tier 2.0 work when we especially when we talk about the core themes around community partnerships, and then also unit, as you mentioned about just that social justice component, and equity inclusion components that sometimes can get sort of de emphasized in sort of this service work. So the importance of it, so thank you too, for joining the show, and I know that our listeners Yeah. So we hope you have a great turnout. And certainly if our schedules permit I know I will try to participate in and get him here. Get my boys get my boys do some service. Yeah, come join and get some free shirt.

Unknown Speaker 28:59
Yeah, right.

Unknown Speaker 29:09
For more, let's talk UNLV Be sure to follow us on social media where you can get the latest updates on the show plus great behind the scenes content. We're on Facebook and let's talk about all the podcasts, Twitter, let's talk UNLV and Instagram and let's talk UNLV

Transcribed by https://otter.ai