A Hand Up at UVU Is the Student Club That Gives Back

Even amidst a diverse club list, A Hand Up at UVU is unique in its purpose — a student response to homelessness and basic needs insecurity.


UVU serves as the home base to just under 90 student-run clubs. They range from cultural and competitive clubs to special-interest and major-specific clubs. Even amidst the diverse club list, A Hand Up at UVU is unique in its purpose. A Hand Up was created as a student response to homelessness and basic needs insecurity. Not only does it serve students and community members, but also it raises awareness to help combat the negative stigma surrounding these two issues.

It’s no coincidence that the two specific focuses of this club — food and housing insecurities — are two of the top basic needs challenges that UVU students face. According to a student opinion survey, 51% of students reported facing food insecurity during the semester, and 11.1% of students say they are at immediate risk of losing their housing.

“A Hand Up allows students to build our community together by engaging in impactful service projects,” said Madeline Brenchley, club president of A Hand Up. “Especially after a year of socially distanced classes and lives, it feels good to do concrete work that makes our campus a more inclusive and supportive place for students. That kind of engaged service has helped us find a sense of community that has been absent for a lot of us right now.”  

Club members work hard, volunteering their time and abilities to support those facing housing and food insecurities. In the past academic year, the club ran two major service projects (one each semester).

During winter 2020, A Hand Up hosted a winter donation drive for clothing, tarps, and shoes on behalf of the homeless. The club prioritized UVU students experiencing homelessness when distributing donated goods. Then, during winter break, club members delivered the remaining winter supplies, along with food and water, directly to homeless camps in Salt Lake City. The drive resulted in the following:

  • 500–600 clothing items collected, washed, and donated
  • 200 sandwiches distributed
  • 50 ramen noodle cups distributed
  • 175 people served

The spring 2021 service project was a donation drive for the top requested items at the UVU Food Pantryin the Center for Social Impact. This drive led to 250 donations that directly benefited UVU students with food insecurity.

Club members also participated in and connected students with weekly volunteer opportunities with community partners. All service projects focused on assisting homeless, unsheltered, and basic needs insecure individuals. Over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, A Hand Up’s 45 active club members completed about 1,750 service hours.

“Succeeding as a student is hard enough as it is,” Brenchley said. “Succeeding as a student when you are hungry, worried about paying rent, or without a permanent place of residence is even more difficult. This is why I feel that all Wolverines should be aware of and be working to support their fellow classmates who have fallen into difficult financial circumstances.”

A Hand Up at UVU is an official university student-run club that serves as a student response focused on addressing homelessness and basic needs insecurity through service, advocacy, and awareness campaigns. To learn more or become a club member, visit A Hand Up at UVU’s webpage, email them directly at [email protected], or follow their Instagram account at @ahandup_uvu.