Volunteer with the University of Waterloo's United Way Campaign
A message from the University of Waterloo United Way Campaign.
Looking for an opportunity to make a difference in your community, enhance your skills, or have something to boast about on your performance evaluation? And maybe have a bit of fun while helping to make your community a stronger, more resilient, and happier place? There’s no better way to do this than through volunteering for the United Way Campaign – a cause that reaches those who need it most and fosters autonomy and dignity.
For those who don’t know, our university hosts a fund-raising campaign every October for the United Way Waterloo Region Communities. The money raised is distributed to various charities across the KW area – such as the Literacy Group, Sexual Assault Support Centre, KW Access-Ability, Kitchener-Waterloo Counselling Services, and dozens more.
Two ways to volunteer
Planning and administering the campaign is the effort of several dedicated Core Committee members who work throughout the year to ensure our workplace campaign connects with our strong campus community to raise donations.
Planning and administering fun department and campus events that raise awareness and money for the United Way is done by Ambassador Volunteers, who work in the month of October during peak campaign time.
We’re looking for creative, resourceful, and enthusiastic people, just like you, to help us make this year’s campaign a massive success. Volunteer to be a Core Committee Member (form) or an Ambassador Volunteer (form). The time you dedicate to the cause is up to you – and it looks great on a resume.
Learn how you can make a difference in your community while building upon key skills in areas like leadership, communications, event planning, and administration. Volunteer today.
Cash may not be the most effective way to motivate employees, says study
Tangible rewards motivate employees when they’re easy to use, pleasurable, unexpected, and distinct from salary, a new study found.
A recent survey of firms in the United States revealed that 84 per cent spent more than $90 billion annually on tangible employee rewards, such as gift cards, recreation trips and merchandise in hopes of increasing productivity.
“We found that there is, at best, mixed evidence regarding the motivational efficacy of tangible rewards versus cash rewards,” said Adam Presslee, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance. “It is somewhat puzzling why so many companies go to the trouble of tangible rewards when cash rewards also lead to motivational differences.”
Presslee and his co-author, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Willie Choi, used four experiments to investigate the factors driving the preference between cash and tangible rewards. The attributes examined include ease of use of the reward (fungibility), hedonic nature of the reward (want vs. need), the novelty of the reward, and how the reward is presented.
“Rewards are constellations of attributes, and firms should focus more on the motivational effects of the attributes associated with a reward rather than the reward type itself,” Presslee said. “Results confirmed that each of these attributes – individually and in combination – increases employee effort and performance.”
The researchers recommend managers interested in motivating employees using tangible rewards would be best served to offer tangible rewards that incorporate these four attributes.
“If for whatever reason tangible rewards are the only tool available, our results show compelling evidence that employees are motivated by rewards that are perceived as distinct from salary,” Presslee said. “Therefore, firms looking to get the most out of their reward programs should emphasize the distinctiveness of those rewards, and the attributes above are four ways firms can do that.”
The study, authored by Presslee and Choi, was recently published in the journal Accounting, Organizations, and Society.
A passion to help others
This article was originally published on the Faculty of Science website.
An end of year project sparked Science and Business 2B student Darren Harry Baine's passion to help youth in his home country of Uganda. His drive to create change and be part of the solution led him to create a non-profit foundation and an youth-focused YouTube series before joining Waterloo.
The Homeland Project
During his final year of high school, Baine and his classmates were challenged to develop a self-initiative project to help those less fortunate. He chose Medina Pre-Nursery School in Bombo, located in south-central Uganda. His grandmother had volunteered with the school for refugee Nubian children and suggested they could use his help.
Baine visited the kindergarten class in August 2019. He ran a situational analysis to analyze the school's internal and external environment to better understand the needs and abilities of the school. He identified two issues that made it hard for the school to sustainably run their operations - limited resources and access to skilled labour.
Students didn't have the essential resources they needed for learning, which included textbooks, pens, pencils, paper and chalk. Teachers didn't have the training to teach effectively with little to no resources.
Baine gathered fellow well-wishers and partnered with different organizations to gather supplies and essential resources for the school to run sustainably. The scholastic resources enable sustainable and effective learning for the students. They also provided a teacher training session for the school staff to teach them how to effectively manage and use limited resources for the long-term.
"From this experience, I realized the huge impact the smallest act can have," said Baine. "It sparked a passion to help youth development."
This initiative called the Homeland Project led to the development of Ever Elm Foundation, an organization designed to facilitate the growth of youth communities across Uganda. The term Ever Elm was coined in 2021 to symbolize the sustainable and equitable growth of the youth society that Baine envisioned.
Ever Elm continues to support Medina Pre-Nursery School and is actively trying to help implement strategies on how the school can sustainably run while simultaneously creating a warm learning environment.
The Remand Joy Project is the second initiative from the Ever Elm Foundation, where they partnered with the Naguru Remand Home. There are approximately one hundred children in the juvenile centre, from 11 to 18 years old. Baine did a situational analysis and worked with local organizations to make a large donation of necessities including: food, sanitary pads, cleaning agents and dishware to the home on his first visit.
He also met with the Probation and Welfare Officer. She told him the children needed to develop market-ready skills to be able to pursue a vocation after their time at the home. It was difficult to find a skill that all the children could participate in and that was financially viable for Baine's charity. Ever Elm came up with the brilliant solution of running a skill program on hair braiding and nails.
"You know this is a skill they can learn and grow over time," says Baine. "They can do more complex things, but it's something that everybody can do."
Hair care and the beauty industries are one of the most lucrative informal, popular and fastest-growing industries in Uganda. The versatility of hair in Uganda provides massive opportunities for this industry. The cost of setting up is relatively low, and services can even be provided at home.
Ever Elm hired a skilled hairstylist to train the children for four months from this past January to May. The children were very interested in learning how to braid hair, do nails and how to dress hair.
"This will help them develop a skill that gives them confidence and the potential to earn money, changing the citizens of Uganda for the better," said Baine.
Currently, Baine is working with other partners and organizations to determine how to continue so the children can increase their skill and scope.
Ever Elm hopes to spread its influence to other Remand Homes across Uganda - namely Fort Portal, Gulu, Mbale and the Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre.
The Young Eye
Youth in Uganda are the youngest population in the world, with 77 per cent of its population being under 25 years of age. There are currently more than 7.3 million youth between the ages of 15 to 24 years old living in Uganda.
Baine's second non-profit foundation is called the The Young Eye. It's an YouTube video series that interviews experienced individuals in multiple industries about their stories and the advice they have for the youth. It highlights and celebrates young Ugandans actively involved in forging paths to their careers.
The first season has a total of 13 episodes, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes. Each episode features a different career and follows the career trajectory of an Ugandan youth. Some of the careers highlighted include: poet, musician, entrepreneur, model, doctor, athlete, actress and farmer. Baine is currently working on a second season that will see more audience engagement and showcase other careers.
The goal of the series is to positively impact the lives and change mindsets of their peers through discussions with policy makers, leaders and individuals from a variety of sectors. The Younge Eye is a social entrepreneurial venture, aimed at providing Ever Elm Foundation with a sustainable source of finance.
Baine was also profiled on Uganda's Top 40 under 40, which was published this past May.
Advice from Baine,“I believe at the core of a system are the people running it, and to ensure its effectiveness, we should learn the essence of leadership and the technical skills of business, supported by a focused mindset, vision of the goals you want to achieve and clarity on how to achieve them.”