Sierra Allen is a business major here at the University of Utah but she is involved in so much more. Not only does Sierra work on campus as the union services desk manager, she also holds executive positions in multiple organizations. She is the vice president of finance for the Pi Beta Phi fraternity for women, co-president of Global Brigades, and director of community service with the Union Programming Council. Let’s get to know Sierra a little bit better!
Name: Sierra Allen
Major: Business (undecided)
Hometown: Panguitch, Utah
Her Campus (HC): Let’s start with Global Brigades. What exactly is it?
Sierra Allen (SA): Global Brigades is a student-led, nonprofit health and sustainable development organization. There are different brigade programs such as, medical, dental, environmental and public health. At the University of Utah we have microfinance and business brigades. Our mission is to empower volunteers and under-resourced communities to resolve global health and economic disparities and inspire all involved to collaboratively work towards an equal world. We travel to under resourced communities and work with their members in order to improve their quality of life.
HC: Why did you decide to get involved with global brigades?
SA: I originally got involved with global brigades because a few of my friends were doing it and they got me interested. During our first service trip to Honduras I realized I absolutely loved it and wanted to go again. I also realized that I wanted to get more involved within the organization, which led me to apply for co-president.
HC: What did you do on your last service trip (brigade)?
SA: Last Spring Break myself and 20 other University of Utah students traveled to Honduras for 10 days. We spent time meeting with families assessing their need, assets and financial goals in order to help them develop a better financial situation. We encouraged them to open an account in the local bank and to start saving whenever they could. We also worked with three small enterprises to help them develop a better business strategy to help increase their profits. Some of our money went to help the village buy a community motorcycle, which the bank could rent out, so that they were able to transport their goods to other communities. My personal favorite part was the children’s workshop. We went to the school and taught them about saving money and asked each kid what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most of the kids wanted to be soccer players and we encouraged them to work hard to achieve their goals. Our goal on this trip was to help empower the community to become sustainable on their own. I truly believe we were able to achieve that goal. It was such a humbling experience that I will never forget and I can’t wait to go on our next trip to Panama this spring!
HC: How do you raise money for the trip and to donate resources?
SA: It’s a pretty cool process actually. Each person is in charge of speaking with a certain amount of businesses and encouraging them to donate money so that we can raise enough money for the trip. We also donate some of our own money. For example, when we donated the motor scooter to the community each member paid a fee in order to buy the scooter. We hold our own fundraisers at football games and on and off campus.
HC: What is your role in Global Brigades?
SA: I am the co president, which means that I am in charge of recruitment, fundraising, and planning the brigade. Next spring when we go on our next brigade, myself and our other co president will lead 20 plus students to Panama and help businesses and communities learn how to be sustainable on their own.
HC: What is Global Brigades; and how can people sign up!
SA: It’s easy to sign up! We look for business majors but others are always welcome. We have information sessions that we host and there is also more information on the Facebook page.
HC: Now let’s talk about your role on the Union Programming Council. What does being the director of community service involve?
SA: Being the director of community service means that I plan all of our community service events on and off campus. Our first event was welcome week, where we had different organizatio
ns and clubs table on campus to let students know about everything they can do around campus.
HC: What is the next event you have planned?
SA: Our next event will be the family fright fest, which is meant to target students who are married and have children. There will be fun family games and hopefully connect the community. My main goal for these events is to help connect the community with the campus, so there will be a lot of events throughout the year that aim to do this.
HC: You are so involved on campus, how do you manage school, work, and all of the other organizations you are apart of?
SA: It is definitely a lot to handle, but luckily I am able to manage my time wisely. I truly believe that if you are passionate about something, you can make time for it. I’m extremely passionate about everything I do so it makes it fun and manageable.
HC: What advice do you have, particularly for incoming freshman, about how to get involved on campus?
SA: My number one piece of advice would be to just do it. One of my favorite quotes that applies here is “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I almost didn’t apply for most of the positions I have now because I was scared that I wouldn’t get the job, but doing it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Being so involved has honestly changed my entire college experience and no matter what you do, you should be involved with something because it makes college so much better.