Introducing Elaine Cheng, our Service Coordinator for this year!
Elaine is a 4th year, Public Health major and Education and Psychology double minor from Sixth college. Elaine is a music enthusiast through and through. She spends much of her free time listening to music and finding new music, listening to a wide variety of music from many cultures, from American and Korean pop/R&B to Taiwanese pop to Disney. She loves to carpool karaoke. So if you ever have her in your car, be sure to plug in that aux! She is also a huge Disney/Pixar fan. Her childhood dream has been to work for Disney and she hopes one day she can do just that by perhaps working as a Disney cast member in their retail stores. Above all, Elaine enjoys all the good food of any cuisine; however, Korean Soondubu (tofu soup) is her ultimate comfort food. In Elaine, we have another dog lover, and for her, the fluffier the better! She especially loves Chow-chows, Samoyeds, and Pomeranians, which all hold a special place in her heart.
Elaine has gone through much growth and development within the last three years of college as she was recovering from an ankle injury. This took a lot of time, patience, mental/emotional pressures, and self-discovery/self-growth to overcome, but they ultimately made her the strong person she is today (keep fighting Elaine!).
My incredible journey as a Tzu Ching began during Winter quarter of my 2nd year at UCSD when Kathy Lam, our lovely president, brought me to UCSD Tzu Ching’s first Winter GBM. Kathy and I had been suitemates during our first year and were also both in a K-pop dance group. I remember asking her about getting involved with Tzu Chi because at the time, I had just recovered from an ankle injury that left me disabled for the whole year. So I was anxious to meet new people and explore all the opportunities UCSD had to offer.
When I went to the first Winter GBM with Kathy, the officers and many members immediately greeted me with warm smiles and hugs (which I did not expect at all!). What drew me in the most was Tzu Chi’s missions and goals. Previous organizations I had come across recruited members with a free t-shirt and then made them pay a membership fee or wanted their members volunteer in order to accumulate points for their resume…all aspects that did not align with my interests. Thus, after learning about Tzu Chi, I was hooked.
I love the variety of events and opportunities to work with many different types of people. I love that we gain wisdom, life experiences, and leadership in addition to serving the community. I love the strong network of SG/SB, fellow Tzu Ching, and volunteers across the nation and the world! I love the amazing home-cooked vegetarian food we often get to eat. Most of all, I love that we volunteer with compassion, gratitude, respect, and love.
My favorite event is Everybody Reads. This event naturally speaks to me as I have always had a passion for working with children. Since one of my possible future career paths is to be a teacher, this event helps me gain teaching experience while making a difference in the students’ lives. Best of all, I have learned to use skillful means, the method of teaching according to occasion and capabilities. In other words, volunteering for Everybody Reads has taught me useful ways to approach different students at different grade levels. I can also apply this skill when I am meeting new people or recruiting new members. Now as the service coordinator for UCSD Tzu Ching, I can incorporate more of my experiences and ideas to create curriculum and activities for the students and volunteers!
My position on the 2017-18 officer cabinet is service coordinator. Just as it sounds, I work behind-the-scenes to coordinate all the core service events for our chapter. These events include Everybody Reads, Convalescent Home, Happy Campus, and Medical Outreach. For each of these, I ensure that gratitude, respect, and love are included in the activities we do. For instance, for Convalescent Home, I must ensure we have musical performances and interactives activities for our volunteers to share with the seniors that we visit, so we can bring positive life experiences to the event. Apart from our core events, I can also coordinate other volunteering opportunities such as orange picking or gardening at Roger’s Community Garden at UCSD. More importantly, I arrange transportation for our volunteers to attend these events and make the magic happen!
I decided to become an officer because after one year of volunteering and attending officer meetings as a member and intern, I felt I could take on more responsibility for my organization. I wanted to contribute more ideas and put them into action.
My goals this year are to recruit and retain more members for our chapter so we can continue the great legacy of Tzu Chi at UCSD for years to come! I aim to incorporate ideas and skills I learned from the TCCA summer leadership camp to improve our chapter. I want to experiment with more fun activities and ideas to make our core events more engaging. At a personal level, I aim to step out of my comfort zone and create more connections with people before my college career comes to an end.
“It is more of a blessing to serve others than to be served.”