By Armin Vahidnia, Class of 2012 and ASDA Northern California Community Outreach Coordinator
I’m privileged to serve as this year’s ASDA Northern California Community Outreach Coordinator. This position allows me to be an ambassador between the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and our neighbor dental school, the UCSF School of Dentistry. I’m constantly working to create community service opportunities which will allow us to collaborate and serve the city of San Francisco. My goal is to organize one event per quarter to encourage students from both schools to serve the community and build relationships with future colleagues from across town.
Our most recent event was a park beautification effort in Golden Gate Park. Students from both Pacific and UCSF woke up early on Saturday, August 21 to join together and help clean up the park. The area that we worked on was in the western side of Golden Gate Park, next to the Angler’s Lodge and the Bison Paddock (yes, there were live bison roaming in a meadow across the street from us). The Angler’s Lodge is a popular place for fisherman to practice their casting, and while we were there we saw several children learning how to cast a line. Between the parking lot and the ponds is a wooded hill with native plants including beautiful rhododendrons and flowers of all sorts. They were being overrun and choked out by weeds that we removed and piled up to be hauled away. When we were finished the landscape looked significantly better. The park ranger we worked with told us that we were able to complete more work in three hours than would typically happen in three weeks!
While we did a lot of work, the time went by quickly because the entire time we were getting to know each other and hearing about all the nuances of a different dental school experience. Despite going through different dental programs we share commons goals, including community service as a priority. We finished off the day at a nearby picnic area with ice cream and root beer floats. I’m looking forward to getting to know the UCSF students even better while exploring and giving back to San Francisco. Stay tuned for updates from future events!