Volunteer of the Month:

 Austin Gyori

Austin Gyori is our March 2015 UP Volunteer of the Month!  Austin officially started volunteering with the UP Program last semester.  He knew many of the UP students from spending time with his fiance, who is a paid support and suite mate.  Austin has jumped in and helped with many different activities, including early morning breakfasts, RUF, and homework.  He has also volunteered his time on many weekends to cover for other UP suite mates who were out of town.  We appreciate his reliability and great rapport with all the UP students, which has led to Austin stepping up to be a suite mate for Fall 2015!

Ali and Ali

Ali Bovender is our April 2015 UP Volunteer of the Month!  Ali began volunteering this semester while enrolled in the SPED 240 class.  It is easy to notice that her involvement with the UP Program has gone beyond simply a class requirement.  She has become great friends with many of the UP students, particularly Ali Hale.  Both "Ali's" love to spend much of their free time together, doing fun activities such as painting, cooking meals, and having movie nights.  Ali B has expressed that her friendship with Ali Hale has proven that "you do make life long friends in college."  She is another example of the inclusive community of WCU students who have embraced what the UP Program is truly about!

Austin and Ali​ are both shining examples of the qualities of a role model and leader we highly value in our volunteers.  We truly appreciate your continued dedication to the UP program and could not do it all without you!

 Cody Mead

Cody Mead


Educational Support

Center for Service Learning

WCU UP Program through Blackboard



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Cullowhee, NC 28723
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UP Volunteer Biographies

The UP Program has approximately 200 volunteers (unpaid natural supports) each semester. A good volunteer is one who:

  • Shows professionalism
  • Knows how to be flexible
  • Is dependable and responsible
  • Is patient and understanding
  • Wants to be involved in trainings and campus activities
  • Is not too protective and allows students to learn some things on their own when possible
  • Sets high expectations for students
  • Knows how to have fun while being a good role model
  • Knows how to talk through issues with studentss in a calm and adult manner
  • Takes leadership roles and exhibits good problem-solving skills
  • Reports information to UP Program personnel
  • Works as a team member with other students and UP Program personnel

We like to show appreciation to our dedicated volunteers through our "Volunteer of the Month" feature. These individuals go above and beyond to help provide a positive college experience to our UP students.

Meet Some of Our Current Volunteers



Molly Lancaster Molly Lancaster

Molly Lancaster is a junior from Greensboro, North Carolina, majoring in Recreational Therapy. She has been working with the UP program for a year now and is currently a paid support. Molly said, " I gain so much joy working with the UP Progam. Its something I look forward to doing everyday. The UP students help me build a better understanding of community more than I would have understood in any other club or organization. ". Molly plans to continue working with the UP Program until she graduates in the spring of 2016.

Abby Killian (Left)

Abby Killian

Abby Killian is a Junior this year at Western Carolina from Hickory, NC. She is majoring in Communication Science and Disorders and minoring in Business Administration. She has been working with the UP Program for one year and is currently a paid support. Abby said, "At first I was working with the UP program because it was mandatory for my class. However, I quickly fell in love with the UP students and the program! I thought I was going to be the one teaching the UP students but in reality they were the ones teaching me new things every day!" Not only has she gained many rewarding memories and experiences but also new and amazing friendships!


Meghan Colescott


Meghan Colescott
Meghan Colescott is a junior from Boca Raton, Florida. Since middle school she has been organizing holiday parties, sports and game days, as well as a reading buddy system for students with disabilities. Meghan is a Nursing major planning on graduating in Spring 2015. She became a part of the UP program family as a freshman, and hopes to remain a volunteer for as long as she is at Western. She fell in love with the students immediately, and can't wait to do the same with the new students arriving this Fall.



 Morgan Hartley

Morgan Hartley

Morgan is a Junior from Lenoir, NC. Her major is Recreational Therapy and this is her first year with the UP program. After transferring in from a community college, she wanted to become involved with the WCU community. After finding out about the UP program, she started volunteering right away! She has learned so much from the program and the UP students, her only regret is that she could have begun volunteering sooner. She feels blessed to have a hand in supporting the lives of the students and creating relationships with them. The UP program has truly made a huge impact on her and her outlook on life. She looks forward to seeing the program and the UP students grow and prosper in the years to come.



Brynne MurphyBrynne Murphy

Brynne Murphy has been volunteering with the UP Program since spring of 2013. She is currently working on her degree in Communication and Sciences Disorders with a minor in Nutrition and Dietetics. Since first hearing about the program and talking to a few people involved, she knew this was something she would want to dedicate herself to for the rest of her time at WCU. In her eyes, here is no other experience on campus that is quite as rewarding as seeing the UP students succeed and do great things. Brynne is a senior and plans to graduate in spring 2014.



Hilary WhiteHilary White

Hilary has been volunteering with the UP Program through required coursework and as volunteer work since Fall 2010.  She is currently working on a degree in Parks and Recreation Management with a Minor in Special Education. She plans to graduate in fall 2014.  She says, "The first time I participated with the UP Program it was because it was required for class, and I loved it.  I continued to help out the UP Program by volunteering and also for class work.  I enjoy helping out with homework, eating with UP students, being in classes with students, going to the gym with UP students, and also spending leisure time with UP students.  It's such an amazing program and I feel like every school should have it."



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