A.K.A., Leaders. These aren’t the type of volunteers that are featured in the titular film “Volunteers”—although, minus the brainwashing, Tom Tuttle comes close with his enthusiasm and dedication. University volunteers are a group of more than 3,000 alumni, parents, and friends who are exemplars and partners in advancing Rochester’s mission. Together, they constitute Volunteers in Partnership, and they demonstrate their leadership in three ways: participating, giving, and helping.

Bueller ’90? Being a volunteer starts with showing up. Attending University events and meetings and participating in projects are easy ways to stay connected to and informed about the University. Those who are willing to make a larger time commitment can join a leadership group, such as a board, council, or committee. While some are by nomination or invitation only, there are 90 different opportunities across the University and Medical Center.

Three’s Volunteering. [Sing] Come and give to our school…We’ve been stewarding you… For annual, major, and planned support…Three’s Volunteering. Giving in these ways—ideally all of them—also helps to make a volunteer. One of the most popular ways to give annually is through the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society. Examples of a major gift include an endowed scholarship, professorship, or research fund. Finally, volunteers might also make a legacy gift through a bequest or other gift planning.

UR is where UR. We’re channeling our inner Jon Kabat-Zinn a little bit here, but wherever they are, volunteers are bringing the University with them. Around the world, volunteers are the University’s ambassadors. They engage other alumni, parents, and friends within their own communities through salons and events that are focused on how we are The Wiz of universities. They help us attract superstar students and plan reunions. And they offer their counsel and professional expertise, which sometimes means guest lecturing.

Retreating forward. Like the saying about going backward in order to move forward, sometimes the future of a university needs to be discussed over the course of a three-day retreat at an island resort in the southeastern U.S. Any volunteer worth their charitable remainder annuity trust knows that. In March 2011, University volunteers met on Kiawah Island to make final preparations for the launch of The Meliora Challenge. Now they’re gathering on Amelia Island to discuss post-Campaign strategic priorities that will take the University to the next level.