Community Volunteer Group


This special interest group is relatively new, launched in January of 2022 for College members and their partners who are interested in contributing to their local, national or international communities through meaningful volunteer activities.  The group meets approximately every six weeks to learn about volunteer experiences from each other and to hear from academic leaders and heads of non-profit organizations seeking volunteers.  Some of the volunteer activities that members have engaged in include tutoring in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), joining Boards of non-profits, helping with refugee resettlement in Canada.  Our objective is to help members match their talents and interests to the many volunteer needs of non-profit and other organizations.  We hope to eventually create a platform that will facilitate matches between non-profits organizations seeking volunteers and prospective emeriti professors.  This SIG is grounded in the fundamental principle that we all have the capacity to contribute in meaningful ways to improving the lives of others in these challenging times.


Our members are an impressive and talented group of emeriti staff and faculty who span most units at UBC  from Medicine, Science and Engineering to Arts, Education and Business to service units such as the Library and Bookstore. Some members are new to community volunteering and are looking for opportunities; others have been volunteering for years but are looking for new ways to contribute their talents. New members are welcome, and should contact Nancy Gallini (

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The group currently meets approximately every six weeks.  Meetings are typically devoted to a particularly area of volunteerism.  For example, last year we heard from Martha Piper who provided an excellent overview on volunteerism from her extensive experience, Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira women’s shelter, and Holly Jones, director of volunteers at MOSAIC, an organization working with immigrants and refugees.  This year we plan to hear from Scholars at Risk, Academics without Borders, Megaphone in the DTES, PEN, Hum 101 and more.  We welcome recommendations of speakers from different organizations, especially if you have a connection to that organization.

In addition to the information-gathering meetings, the Community Volunteer Group will steward long-term projects. One such project, spearheaded by Niamh Kelly, will bring school children coming from homes where neither parent received third level education out to UBC for a day where they will meet with retired professors with interests similar to them while exploring the UBC campus.


You can find all upcoming meetings by clicking on the link and search for the category "community volunteer group".


The group was formed at the end of 2021 and had a sucessful launch meeting in January with special guest Dr. Martha Piper, former UBC President and member of the Emeritus College. Martha has been extraordinarily active in the volunteer circuit since her presidency, having served on numerous non-profit, corporate and educational Boards. She co-founded the Vancouver Council for CARE Canada that promotes women’s voices and leadership, especially in developing countries. She has served on the boards of the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, Stem Cell Research Foundation, Crofton House School and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, to name a few. In each case, she selected her volunteer activities based on her personal interests and how closely they aligned with the objectives of the respective organizations.