On Wednesday, students will have a chance to munch for a cause on Pedestrian Walkway. The UT United Way Club is selling $2 servings of Menchie's frozen yogurt near the university seal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"We get to keep half of the proceeds so we get to keep a dollar for every cup," Allie Arnette, co-president of the group, said. "We're just trying to raise a little money so we'll have it to put toward other things."A sophomore in nursing, Arnette started the UT chapter with fellow sophomore in nursing Jordan Casady in February 2012.
"I first got involved when I was in seventh grade because my mom started working for United Way," Arnette said. "Then when I got to high school I became a part of our club. Then I came to UT and there wasn't a United Way. So I went to the United Way of Greater Knoxville and talked to them about starting up a club."
Casady attended the same high school — Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn. — and worked with Arnette to grow the school chapter to nearly 100 students.
"We worked a lot with the community center with the kids and did Christmas parties with them and a water day in the summer," Casady said, adding that they also worked with mentally challenged adults. Upon reaching UT, the two decided to bring United Way to campus. The national non-profit organization forms a coalition of charities that pools efforts in both fundraising and community outreach. The UT chapter has carried out that mission through various service activities in the past 14 months, including bowling with the Cerebral Palsy Center, volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank, visits to the Emerald Youth Foundation and assistance with a 5K hosted by the Volunteer Ministry Center.
Arnette said the group is planning a battle of the bands for September, an event at the Relix Theatre that will offer the winning band a chance to open for a headlining act at the Bijou Theatre. She said the funds raised Wednesday will help book venues as well as go toward community agencies."We're just trying to serve as many people as we can in the community," Arnette said.
With approximately 30 active members, the UT chapter is a growing force on campus. Arnette said she hopes it continues to attract new volunteers."I want it to get bigger, a lot of people don't know what United Way is," she said. "I hope to make it bigger, where we can do more projects and actually raise more money that we can allocate to different agencies."A lot of the agencies don't have a lot of money at all and the people running them put a lot of money into them.
"For Casady, the organization gives volunteers as much as it gives those they serve."Not only do you give back to the community, but you also get a lot back while serving," she said. "It just makes you feel great and puts you in such a great mood."