Students at the University of Arizona are here for many reasons – academics, personal exploration and a newfound sense of freedom.
University students, along with faculty and staff, also spend time holding charitable drives to benefit the Tucson community and those less fortunate.
The UA Museum of Art is holding a food drive, "Food 4 Art," which will be open Dec. 15-16, Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 28-30.
In its second year, the drive aims to collect food items for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona while simultaneously developing an appreciation for art on display at the museum.
"The food bank is in desperate need this holiday season, and any contributions would be greatly appreciated," said Diane Hartman, director of marketing and resource initiatives for the museum.
Visitors can donate at least two cans of food in exchange for a free general admission.
Hartman said the event contributes to the community spirit that continually strengthens around this time of year because people are able to help their community in a realistic manner.
"We hope to share in the spirit of the season and assist a worthy organization," Hartman added.
Others on campus who have held or are holding drives include the UA's Black Retail Action Group, or BRAG, and Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity.
BRAG held a toy drive benefiting Casa de los Niños, which offers shelter care for children and works to prevent child abuse. Also, Delta Lambda Phi coordinated "Project Delphi: Feeding Youth and Warming Community" to collect non-perishable food items and winter clothing for the Eon Youth Program.
Eon, which is part of Wingspan, southern Arizona's LGBTQA community resource center, offers a safe space and resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth and young adults.
Michael M. Webb, the Delta Lambda Phi Omega chapter president, pointed to studies finding that a disproportionate percentage of LGBT youth are homeless.
"A little known fact is that approximately 40 percent of homeless youth in America identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ community," said Webb, an undergraduate student in the College of Letters, Arts, and Science.
It is the first year for the event, but the Omega chapter – which is open to LGBT students as well as allies – president said setting an ambitious goal of collecting 1,000 items inspired more people to donate.
"After all of the donations were added up, our brotherhood proudly announced that we exceeded our goal and raised a total of 1,012 items," said Webb, noting that more than 400 items of clothing and canned food items were donated respectively, along with hygienic supplies.
Webb credited the dedication of the members of his fraternity, along with support of other campus groups, for the success of the donation drive.
"Around the end of October, our brotherhood received and unanimously approved the proposal from the Rho Pledge Class philanthropy," Webb said.
"This blasted our brotherhood into immediate action, and we knew that if we were to be successful, we would need to reach out to as many campus organizations as possible," he added, noting that 44 organizations supported the effort. "Once we knew that we had profound support for our idea, we mobilized rapidly."