Sun Devils UNITE for a week of community service and FUNdraising

Students will participate in a week of service, education and fun from April 7-15

ASU students seeking opportunities to get involved in community service will have the opportunity to learn about hunger and homelessness during Sun Devils UNITE week.

Sun Devils UNITE week is a series of events and community service opportunities dedicated to raising money for the Valley of the Sun United Way, which assists people in low-income areas and works to diminish hunger and homelessness in the Valley. It will take place April 7 to 15.

“This is our fifth year partnering with ASU,” said Torrie Yerkovich, affinity manager of Valley of the Sun United Way. “Sun Devils UNITE is a week long event of philanthropy, education and service.”

Valley of the Sun United Way works to end poverty within Maricopa County, where Yerkovich said one-in-four children live in poverty — one of the worst rates in the country. The organization focuses heavily on the well-being on children living in poverty, with a big portion of fundraising going towards after-school programs.

“We look at those early developmental years of kids,“ Yerkovich said. “We ensure they’re succeeding before school, during their school years and during their post-secondary education.”

The week will kick-off with a large Devils in Disguise volunteer event on April 7, where students are encouraged to sign-up for community service opportunities around the Valley. These activities range from picking up trash in local neighborhoods to planting gardens.

“It’s the biggest singular volunteer event through ASU,” said senior engineering management major Daniel Travis, an executive board member of Sun Devils UNITE Week. Travis said past involvement in this event has ranged anywhere from 1,800 to 2,500 students each year.

“We want students to have good community outreach,” Travis said. 

The rest of the week will involve events created to raise money and awareness for Valley of the Sun United Way, such as a visit from Ken Nwadike Jr. of the Free Hugs Project on April 9, a denim drive hosted by the Student United Way at ASU on April 10 and a food accessibility forum on April 11.

Later in the week, the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe will be hosting the Sparky Service Challenge, which will be an "Amazing Race" inspired event where teams will complete a series of fitness challenges to raise money for Valley of the Sun United Way.

The week will end with Greek Sing, where members of Greek life battle it out through a song and dance competition to raise money. 

“All of these amazing clubs are coming together to make Sun Devils UNITE week happen,” said Maram Sweis, an exercise and wellness junior and president of the Student United Way Club at ASU. 

While Sun Devils UNITE week is a major opportunity for students to get involved, there are always volunteer opportunities available on campus that many may be unaware.

“There is a huge streamline of volunteer groups on campus,” Travis said. “There’s really no end to ways to get involved.”

Groups such as Student United Way, Changemaker Central, Feed My Starving Children at ASU, Circle K International, and many more all offer students opportunities to get involved and participate in community service. Sun Devil UNITE week will bring these organizations together to show all students how to get involved. 

Yann Raymond, a sustainability senior and director of Changemaker Central, said the true goal of Sun Devils UNITE week is to teach students how to improve and integrate themselves in the community through civic conversation and community service.

“We hope for students to gain a greater understanding of their community and find out how they can better be of service to it,” Raymond said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @meganbarbera_ on Twitter. 

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