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Photo courtesy The Mustard Seed U of C

Clubs Corner: The Mustard Seed Chapter at UCalgary provides accessible volunteering opportunities for students on campus

By Kimberly Taylor, January 13 2024—

The Mustard Seed is a Christian non-profit organization operating in six cities in Alberta and British Columbia. It was founded in Calgary and students carry on its work both on campus and at the Calgary location through the University of Calgary Chapter. The club works with the Mustard Seed to fundraise and volunteer.

In an interview with vice-president Cassidy Kreutzer and co-presidents Alyssa Tu and Cecilia Chen discussed the goals of the club which include volunteering at the shelter, fundraising, raising awareness and connecting students with each other and with a cause.

“General volunteers mostly go to the shelter and they help volunteer at the shelter itself, but they also help us with donations and fundraising. So we hope that they have joy, they know they’re helping a good cause and that that cause is helping people in their community. As we are all university students we’re not working full time so we’re not the most financially stable so if they can help out people that are even worse off than them,” said Kreutzer.

Students can engage with the club in a variety of ways from buying items from their bake sale fundraisers, volunteering at the shelter, following the club’s Instagram, attending events or donating items. 

Tu highlighted that the club is a low-pressure way for students to engage with an issue that can be sensitive.

“It’s an easier and accessible way for people to get involved, especially the shelters are kind of far from students, so by having it on campus it’s a lot easier because you don’t have to go to the shelter if you can. It’s amazing. If you can’t, there’s another alternative you can [volunteer] on campus so it’s easier to be involved,” said Tu.

One of the main goals of the club is to raise awareness of poverty and homelessness in Calgary among students.

“We do always work towards raising awareness for poverty and homelessness right in our city as well. So that is one of our biggest goals to educate our fellow university students and just really raise awareness on campus in our community,” said Chen.

Chen spoke about how participating in volunteering through the club has changed her perspectives on homelessness.

“It really just opened my eyes to how many people even around us in our community are dealing with poverty and homelessness and there are things we can do in our own communities to help these people,” said Chen.

Kreutzer added that in addition to this experience, she has also learned a lot about leadership and grown her leadership skills.

“It has also within the club as being in a leadership role I have learned many vital ways to be a leader. I’m not always perfect so there’s always great learning opportunities and I find that it has really helped me in student summer jobs and things like that. It’s more than just a volunteering club; there is a whole leadership group behind it that teaches you so much.”

In her concluding remarks, Kreutzer said that students are welcome to try out the club and see if it is a good fit for them.

“Try it out, see if you like it, if you don’t, you don’t, but I think that everyone should at least give it a try, especially since it’s so accessible since it’s on campus. You never know you might fall in love like the three of us have, and we do have a good team as well. We’d love to see everyone join.”

To learn more about the Mustard Seed Chapter at the University of Calgary visit their Instagram.

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