holiday blues

Find ways to give back this holiday season

By Brittney Bomnin Garcia

Find ways to give back this holiday season

By Brittney Bomnin Garcia
Support our community on and off campus by participating in a number of local initiatives. Donate to a holiday gift drive, volunteer to help grow a garden, and provide monetary donations.

Participate in the Hurricanes holiday gift drive.
Now through Friday, Dec. 3.
Organized by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, the drive supports deserving children and senior citizens in the Miami community during the holidays by providing them with generous donations of gifts and toys. New and unused items can be dropped off at the Butler Center for Service and Leadership in the Shalala Student Center, Suite 204, and at the Whitten University Center Lower Lounge. Anyone interested in sponsoring a senior within the community for this holiday season may ask for a tag with specific items requested. If you have questions or would like to host a donation location within your office or department, contact the Butler Center at

Give to the United Way.
With the campaign officially underway, take a moment to make your gift via Workday. When giving, you may direct your gift to the United Way’s mission of education, financial resiliency, and health, or direct your gift to a local nonprofit organization, including the University of Miami. Learn more at

Express gratitude for a colleague. 
Appreciation fosters connection. Through the ThankU initiative, University members can express immediate appreciation to colleagues, classmates, or instructors by sending a note of gratitude using the Thank a ’Cane tool. Choose from preset card designs and write a custom message for the recipient. If the sender and recipient of the eCard choose to make it public, it is added to a university-wide repository of appreciation. Additionally, you can view a list of cards you have received and sent. Find more tools available through the Office of Institutional Culture.

Volunteer at the Miller School herb and food garden. 
Make time in your day to step into the sunshine and commune with nature. The Medical Campus is home to a thriving community herb and food garden. A culmination of years of effort and collaboration between various departments—including the Miller School’s Student Green Committee, Sylvester’s Cancer Support Services, the Department of Facilities and Operations, and the Office of Sustainability—the garden is currently managed by members of the Biomedical Graduate Student Government community service committee. As a sustainable food forest, the garden is made up of seasonal plants native to South Florida, including medicinal plants and herbs. Since its inception, the garden has played a key role in developing a sense of community and programming with physicians and staff members at the Medical Campus focused on education, including how to use food as medicine. University members interested in volunteering their time in support of the garden can email Monika Chojnacka at

Support the Coral Gables Campus garden club. 
Now through spring semester 2022.
A new, student-organized sustainability initiative allows customers at the Coral Gables Campus Store to round up their in-store retail purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the difference in support of the CommUnity Garden. Located near Hecht Residential College, the garden will need to be relocated as part of a campus planning project. Working in partnership with the team at Auxiliary Services and Follett, funds donated from the campus store round-up initiative will allow the garden club members to continue producing fruit, vegetables, and herbs throughout this transition and expand their production capacity. Herbs from the garden will be donated to the University of Miami Food Pantry, a student initiative that makes donated surplus food available for free to all students on campus. Learn more about these initiatives and visit the store to participate in the round-up program.

Did we miss an opportunity to give back or volunteer? Let us know by sending an email to