University of Arkansas - A Pivot to Virtual Service and the Role of GivePulse in Accessible Service (GivePulse Showcase & Impact Awards)


COVID-19 prevented many agencies in Northwest Arkansas from operating normally for over a year. The pandemic created barriers that prevented volunteers from connecting with agencies and causes that they are passionate about. Pivoting to virtual service where possible was essential when engaging students, especially incoming freshman. Our institution was able to work with the community and provide virtual service opportunities through letter-writing campaigns, information sessions, and donation drives for agencies such as the Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Food Pantry. Our campus's reliance on GivePulse and existing infrastructure made this transition less jarring. As we move back towards "real life", we enter an interesting space of "rebuilding". The lessons we learned from facilitating service and engagement during a pandemic will allow us to not only reach our incoming freshman, but to reshape our ideas of accessibility in service.