Volunteering since 2017
Eric Chiu discovered volunteering at WPC as a freshman at Pitt in 2017 and found it’s a great way to explore Pittsburgh and make friends.
It’s great to work with other people who are passionate about their community, and you build a strong bond with them through the hands-on work of volunteer events.
What are your volunteer activities at WPC?
I’ve been involved with WPC’s fall tree plantings as well as some of the community garden events. For tree plantings, I’ve volunteered with the Pittsburgh Redbud Project for the last few years, as well as any other community tree plantings I can make it out to.
How did you become involved with WPC?
I volunteered with WPC through Pitt Make a Difference Day (PMADD) during my freshman year of undergraduate at Pitt – the fall of 2017. It was a day of service where thousands of Pitt students are spread across Pittsburgh doing various service opportunities with local organizations. I participated in a tree planting on the lawn in front of Heinz Field. That project was a great memory and I enjoy going back to the North Shore knowing that I played a small role in the planting of some of those trees.
From there, I knew WPC was an organization I wanted to continue volunteering with. I enjoy hands-on work and planting trees was a new and exciting experience for me. I continued working with WPC to bring Pitt students to their volunteer events throughout my undergraduate.
How long have you been a volunteer with us and what motivates you to stay involved at WPC?
When I started volunteering in 2017, I was amazed by the things WPC is doing for community beautification and the environment. Being from Chicago, I have found WPC volunteer events to be unique opportunities to explore the city of Pittsburgh through service. I enjoy making it out to WPC events each year to meet new people, learn about any new projects going on and see existing projects continue to grow.
Tell us about your favorite volunteer experience at WPC?
My favorite volunteer experience with WPC continues to be the first tree planting I ever did at the lawn in front of Heinz Field. It was such a unique experience to plant at that location. From then on, I’d always be excited to be there and see how the trees were doing.
Also, the Redbud Project overall has been a privilege to be part of. Our service has real impacts on our communities and environments, and the Redbud Project is evidence of that. Small acts of service over time will build up and have lasting effects for generations to come.
What has surprised you most about working with WPC?
WPC is truly involved in such a wide variety of community and environmental conservation projects. This widespread involvement exemplifies their passion for the preservation of our region. Everyone I’ve met from WPC has been very caring and passionate about what they do. They’re so knowledgeable about the work they do and are always open to answer questions. WPC is a great organization, and their team is always a joy to volunteer with!
What do you do when you’re not volunteering?
For work, I just completed an AmeriCorps year of service working on COVID-19 public health education in Western Pennsylvania. I will soon begin working at Pitt as a research assistant on either a project about adolescent community health or advanced stage liver diseases. I have goals of going to medical school to study to become a physician.
Some of my hobbies include scuba diving, hiking, swimming and cooking. I also have a one-and-a-half-year-old dog whom I enjoy walking twice a day. I like to stay active with other things like indoor cycling, home-improvement projects and, of course, WPC volunteer opportunities as well as other community service events.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
Most of my extended family lives in Taiwan, so I don’t get to see them often. We typically go back every other year but haven’t since the pandemic started. Taiwan is where I do most of my scuba diving, on a small island off the east coast called Green Island. The island is small enough that you can bike around it in about an hour. It’s surrounded by coral reefs and excellent diving locations!