Inspired to Serve: Why I Chose to Volunteer at U of T Scarborough

Dorinda So, Bruce Geddes and Althea Fernandes from the UTSC Alumni Association pose against a wooden wall

An interview with former U of T Scarborough Alumni Association President Dorinda So on her experience of giving back to her alma mater.

Dorinda So speaks into a mic on a podium
Dorinda So addresses the guests at the 2022 UTSCAA Afternoon Tea
  • What inspired you to volunteer at U of T Scarborough? 
    I was inspired by those who came before me and introduced me to the university experience. As an immigrant woman, I understand that having role models with university degrees is a privilege not everyone has. I had such a great time at U of T Scarborough that I wanted to give back. My perspective on using my time revolves around service, and volunteering is my way of giving back.
  • Why is volunteering crucial today? 
    Beyond online activism, physically showing up and actively contributing makes a significant impact.  
    We need to be hands-on.
  • How has volunteering shaped you? 
    I’ve gained more than I’ve given. Hearing the diverse stories at U of T Scarborough has been transformative. I’ve learned from students and alumni alike. It’s about community, and I’ve seen life unfold through it. My interactions, like getting advice from past alumni presidents, highlight the importance of collective effort in volunteering. I have really grown as a person through all of these experiences and from all the years that I’ve been able to serve at U of T Scarborough.
  • What’s the most valuable lesson from volunteering? 
    Working with a diverse range of individuals from U of T Scarborough has taught me inclusivity and collaboration. It has given me priceless lived experience, embodying the inclusive excellence we champion. It’s been incredibly helpful to gain experience from decades of alumni knowledge.

I’ve gained more than I’ve given. Hearing the diverse stories at U of T Scarborough has been transformative. 

  • How do you balance life and volunteering?
    Volunteering integrates both my personal and professional life. Volunteering at U of T Scarborough, for instance, offers avenues for learning through academic events, forging friendships, and establishing professional connections, be it potential business partners, mentors, or job opportunities. This holistic integration means I can allocate time to it naturally. I’ve realized that regardless of the time you can commit, be it an hour a month or more, there are meaningful opportunities to both give back and gain immensely. As my availability has evolved, so have the opportunities I’ve been able to embrace.
  • Any myths about volunteering you’d like to dispel? 
    One myth is that volunteering requires a lot of time. What I especially appreciate about the Development and Alumni Relations Office is their ability to find a role tailored to your availability. Regardless of the time you have, there’s a volunteering opportunity that can fit your schedule.
  • Any advice for newcomers to volunteering? 
    Start small. Whether you can donate money or an hour of your time, every bit matters.  
    U of T Scarborough will find a meaningful way for you to connect with alumni and friends.