The Palm Beach alumni chapters of the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida — two schools that are traditionally rivals — put their competitive spirits aside Tuesday night, combining a team of 50 volunteers at the Big Heart Brigade at Palm Beach Gardens’ Fire Station 63. Together, along with countless additional community volunteers, the schools helped assemble 75,000 meals for people in need across South Florida.
UCF and USF face off Thanksgiving evening at 7:30 in Bright House Networks Stadium. The game will air live on ESPN.
The Honorable Olga M. Calvet, ’71 | Senior Vice President/CFO, Palmas Services LLC
The UCF Alumni Association honored Olga Calvet with its 2015 Service to UCF Award at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.
After college, Olga joined the international accounting firm of Seidman and Seidman CPAs at their Orlando office. She continued her career at Laventhol and Horwath CPAs, eventually establishing her own CPA firm in 1979.
After selling her accounting practice in 1986, she began her current position as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Palmas Services LLC, a participant at Walt Disney World, and operator of restaurant and lounge locations at EPCOT and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Olga is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She’s also an active member of the UCF Alumni Association, served as chair of the UCF Foundation and is a charter member of the UCF Board of Trustees, as well as its immediate past chair.
She’s married to Cesar Calvet, with whom she has two daughters, Cristina, ’01, ’03, principal of CCH Marketing & Events Inc., and Alexandra, ’09, owner of Calvet Couture Bridal.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Olga has a long-standing record of community service within Central Florida and beyond. In fact, she received the UCF Alumni Association’s Outstanding Community Service Award in 2001.
As a successful businesswoman and community leader, she is a shining example of a true UCF Knight.
Since 2007, students, alumni, faculty and staff have served more than 22,000 hours at UCF’s annual day of service, Knights Give Back, making a lasting impact on the Central Florida community that will continue to grow, and saving Orlando nearly $600,000.
As part of Knights Give Back this year, many of our regional alumni chapters and clubs participated in service projects across the nation:
The Chicago UCF Alumni Chapter prepared and served dinner to local families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. PHOTOS
The Dallas/Ft. Worth UCF Alumni Club held a clothing and food drive benefiting The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center during its UCF at Tulane Watch Party. PHOTOS
The Denver UCF Alumni Chapter held a canned food drive to benefit the Denver Rescue Mission.
The Jacksonville UCF Alumni Club collected school supplies and non-perishable food items for the John E. Ford K-8 School and Ft. Caroline Elementary during its UCF at Tulane Watch Party. PHOTOS
The Ocala UCF Alumni Club held a children’s book drive, which benefited Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection, during its UCF at Tulane Watch Party.
The Palm Beach UCF Alumni Chapter collected items supporting the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League during its UCF at Tulane Watch Party. PHOTOS
On Oct. 25, the Space Coast UCF Alumni Chapter will be cheering on runners, manning water stations and helping to collect new/used running shoes to donate to local nonprofits at the Cocoa Beach Half Marathon.
On Nov. 21, the Southeast Florida UCF Alumni Chapter will be sorting through food before it gets donated to local food pantries through Feeding South Florida.
The Tallahassee UCF Alumni Club collected non-perishable food items to benefit the Big Bend Homeless Coalition. PHOTO
The Volusia/Flagler UCF Alumni Club partnered with UCF Daytona to paint the PACE Center for Girls, which provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.
The Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter sorted through food, donated by local farmers’ markets, for the Arlington Food Assistance Center, and helped organize bundles for local families. PHOTOS
In addition, the UCF College of Sciences Alumni Chapter helped the efforts of Pegasus Professor Linda Walters, Ph.D., to restore degraded shorelines and oyster reefs at the Indian River Lagoon. PHOTOS/VIDEO
The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter also helped out at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, a nonprofit animal shelter that takes in owner-relinquished pets. Through Pet Alliance, each animal is ensured to have a good quality of life and is provided with enrichment activities, socialization and exercise. PHOTO
Plus, UCF Alumni Relations hosted a clean up at Orlando’s historic Greenwood Cemetery, where volunteers cleaned headstones, grave markers and memorials, removing debris, as well as doing some painting and landscaping.
Volunteers now have a new way to make an even greater impact, with a grants program called “Dollars for Doers,” in which some employers will honor your work as a volunteer by “matching” your efforts with a charitable donation of their own, often to the organization of your choice! LEARN MORE
Blanketing the city with compassion and comfort, the White Linen Project at UCF is leaving its mark around Central Florida in the form of sheets.
Students at UCF formed the White Linen Project, a volunteer initiative that provides linen to homeless families, to leave an imprint on their community.
Shakera Quince, a junior management major, was influenced to begin the nonprofit organization when she began volunteering for the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters in Central Florida. After volunteering twice a week and witnessing several families that slept in the cold, Quince said she felt a deep connection with the children and families she served. She decided to challenge herself on what she could do to further provide resources to the families at the mission.
“I was able to find out that one of the major needs was linen, specifically white linen at the time,” she explains. “So, I stayed up late at night for a couple of weeks trying to figure out what can I do. Lo and behold, the White Linen Project was born.”
Quince paired with four other students who shared her passion for wanting to change some of the circumstances of the homeless, including her former roommate, Katrina Poggio, a senior journalism major.
Poggio said she is currently working on a photo project for the White Linen Project’s website to bring awareness to the homeless community.
“I got involved because Shakera and I have a mutual interest in making a difference,” she says. “My favorite part about the volunteer initiative is that I have an opportunity to give a voice to those who go unheard.”
After developing the program for almost a year, Quince and her team introduced the White Linen Project on campus in April. By partnering with several community-wide volunteer initiatives, such as Volunteer UCF, Straight Street Orlando and the Mustard Seed of Central Florida, the White Linen Project has beckoned attention for the immense demand for linen donations.
In order to provide students with opportunities to donate, members of the White Linen Project tabled outside the Student Union every Monday in April, allowing students to either drop off linen directly to them or at other designated areas around campus.
For the summer, Quince and the rest of the team have obtained two options for students to continue to donate to the White Linen Project: the UCF cubicle located on the second floor of the Student Union and the Knights Pantry.
After their first month on campus, Quince, Poggio and their team collected more than 150 pieces of linen.
Poggio and Quince are looking to expand the team with more volunteers so the organization can eventually grow into a registered student organization.
“We have so many ideas as we grow, and one of them is maybe even handing linens out downtown to people who sleep on the ground outside. Coming with a box of pizza and some linen and just saying, ‘Hey, have a nice night,'” Quince said.
In the future, Quince is hopeful that her initiative will expand beyond the UCF proximity.
“Hopefully one day we can go outside of Orlando,” she says. “One day, maybe we will collect enough linen to send over to other countries.”