Tag Archives: volunteer

MPAC in the Community

One of the things I love to do is to volunteer. For me, there is nothing like giving back and helping make a better tomorrow, one little act at a time. Perhaps this may sound too ideal, esoteric, or even ethereal. However, I speak from experience because if not for people who have helped me along the way and paid it forward in their time, I would not be where I am today. So when I joined MPA Counciland learned that community service is one of its pillars, I could not have been happier to be part of such an organization.


In the past few weeks, MPAC has had two community service projects. The first one was with Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), where we moved, organized, and sorted 6,500 pounds of food in about three hours. To put it in context, this is equal to 5,625 meals that the agency provides in Central Texas. CAFB works with several local agencies that help distribute the food to combat hunger in the region. I can’t believe how much food we sorted in the time we were there.  We worked in an assembly line and had an efficient process of packaging foods. When the agency coordinators announced the impact of our work, there was a sense of pride in the group, because we knew we made a difference.


The second project we had was a visit to the Austin Animal Center (AAC). This was a fun job. How could it not be? We walked dogs every 15 to 20 minutes. From the small young dogs to the big and rowdy ones, we had a chance to take the dogs out for exercise and show them some affection. It was a good way for us to also get a work out and reduce stress levels in the process.

Austin Animal Center

I will not forget the last dog I walked, which was a German shepherd. She was big, strong, and energetic. At some point, it was hard to tell whether I was walking her or she was walking me. I had to tie the leash around my waist a few times for added support. Needless to say it was a funny sight. By the time we left AAC, we had mud everywhere from walking and playing with the dogs. It was a good experience and one that really put smiles on our faces.

One thing I really appreciate from these events is that it shows how MPAC is committed to social engagement. It is not just an organization that promotes accounting and the career opportunities therein. It is much more than that. When it started to rain during the past AAC event, the volunteer coordinators gave us the option to leave early. A fellow student turned to me though and said, “I’d like to help some more if I can.”

That’s the spirit of service and I could not even be more proud to have folks share the same passion when it comes to giving back. I’m definitely looking forward to the future projects we’ll have.

Getting Involved: How Much Is Too Much?

One of the biggest struggles I’ve faced during my time at the University of Texas is figuring out how to get more involved on campus. There are tons of opportunities to get involved in student organizations, volunteer work, internships, and even academic research, but my problem has always been finding a balance between doing well in my classes, getting involved in extracurricular activities, and having enough free time to relax once in a while.

My inherent inability to find that balance is pretty obvious when you consider that I added an entire extra major just because I like to read and write and wanted to take some non-business classes. Doing Plan II was a lot of extra effort for something that I didn’t initially think would have a huge impact on my career, but it ended up helping me a lot with the research and writing aspects of tax.

Beyond academics, I’ve had to learn to say no to a lot of great opportunities, such as being a TA, helping on research projects, and getting involved in too many of the student organizations on campus. One thing that has helped me decide whether I should get involved in a new activity is figuring out how much time it would take, and then going through a typical week (or thinking through it, if I don’t have time) and seeing if I can spare that much time, but obviously that’s not foolproof. Another great way to reach that balance when I’m short on time and energy is to participate in one-day events like Project Reachout or Project 2012, where you can spend a day volunteering without a semester-long time commitment.

So far, I’ve come pretty close to finding a good balance, but I’m always looking for new time management tips!

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” -MLK

My donated TOMS!

Last week, a group of MPA students, myself included, who are recruiting with one of the Big 4, had the opportunity to participate in an activity co-sponsored by TOMS shoes. For those of you who may not know the story behind TOMS, essentially they donate one pair of shoes to someone in need everytime a pair is purchased.

At the recruiting event, the donations were two-fold. First, because of the buy one-give one strategy at TOMS, one pair of shoes was donated to someone in need for every student attending the event. Second, we also donated our decorated TOMS to a local Austin charity.

The community service aspect of public accounting certainly increases my desire to work in the industry. All of the Big 4 have multiple ways of helping to serve and improve the community. Midcaps and regional firms definitely participate in community service as well- I am just focusing on the Big 4 for the sake of this blog.

Here are some of my favorite community service efforts by the Big 4:

Deloitte’s big community service event is called IMPACT day. On IMPACT day, Deloitte professionals across the country all set aside their work and work for a nonprofit in their community. Just to put this in perspective, there are OVER 50,000 Deloitte employees nationwide and almost all of them will participate in this special day- that’s a lot of community service!

A great community service effort was done by KPMG last September, on the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. KPMG called this campaign, “Service in Remembrance.” For this campaign, KPMG professionals teamed up with the rest of the nation and over 200 nonprofits in honor the victims and the heroes of September 11th. Continue reading “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” -MLK

Why I Live Strong

My friend Allie and I running the LiveSTRONG Marathon in Austin last year to spread awareness

At the very beginning of 2012, I joined Team LiveSTRONG. As a member of Team LiveSTRONG, I help raise awareness and raise funds to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Although I have never personally had to battle cancer, my life as still been affected by this disease.

To summarize my history with cancer, both my beloved Grandpa Jimbo and one of by best friends in elementary school, Bailey, ran out of time in their battles with cancer. After losing them, I guess I thought that cancer was done with me. That I could no longer be affected….but of course that could never happen.

In September, my dad found out his best friend from college, Mike, was diagnosed with cancer and had a very slim chance of survival. I felt so helpless seeing the hurt my father felt while dealing with this news. My parents and I visited Mike and his family over winter break, and I suddenly became furious at the toll that battling cancer took on such an incredibly funny, bright and kind man. It was then I realized cancer would never stop affecting my life, or millions of others’ lives, until it was cured.

Now, obviously because I am a student in the MPA program, I am in no way qualified to cure cancer. But, I could take action. I decided to join Team LiveSTRONG so I could no longer feel helpless in the fight against cancer, and so I could spread hope to people like Mike and his support group.

I personally got involved in the war on cancer because I became fed up with being helpless. I know almost everyone has an issue close to their heart that they can’t stand for and we all need a way to find a sense of agency and hope.

So… What do you do about it? GET INVOLVED! Continue reading Why I Live Strong

Hear that?

That’s opportunity knocking at your door, right here in Austin!

This blog is the next in the series of blogs discussing the components that make Austin such a great city to go to school in. Austin is a city just brimming with opportunity. Whether it is internships or job opportunities, volunteering opportunities, or really any opportunity, Austin can provide it for you.

Internships/ Jobs

The lovely UT campus is located deep in the heart of Austin. A few blocks away from McCombs is the Texas Capitol, home of the Texas Senate and House of Representative. I had the opportunity to intern at the Capitol last spring to explore my interest in law and politics. After a semester as a legislative aide, I figured out that politics wasn’t my forte, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to immediately find out it wasn’t a field I wanted to continue.

A few blocks from the Texas Capitol is downtown Austin, where opportunities for jobs and internships in almost every industry possible are readily available. As you read earlier, a fellow blogger Xinmiao interned at American Short Fiction and is currently interning at Greenlights for Nonprofit Success. The opportunities are seemingly limitless. Continue reading Hear that?