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Volume 2 Issue 4 - 3Q's



So You May Know
Wisdom & Insight
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Alumni Travel & VolunTourism

Our “3-Q’s” for this month were answered by Kris Jameyson, Associate Director, Cal Discoveries Travel Program. Here is what she had to say in answer to our questions:

1) What were some of the factors that prompted Cal Discoveries to incorporate voluntourism into its itineraries?

The VolunTourist Webcast On This Topic

Educational Travel & VolunTourism - October 16, 2007


Educational Travel has its roots in alumni travel programs throughout North America and around the world. In recent years, it has been viewed as an extension of Service Learning for college and university students - part of the "life-long" learning process for alumni. Can VolunTourism play a role in forging a stronger bond between these two very distinct groups conjoined under a common institutional roof? Guests will discuss this topic and more during our session.

[Listen To The Cast] (Click Here To Download)

Featured Guest:

Cal Discoveries evolved from the Bear Treks Travel program and came into being with our 2007 trip offerings. Our new program was designed so that all alumni and friends of the University of California who want to travel can find a trip that would interest them through the alumni association travel program. One of our new divisions was developed to allow travelers to do some volunteer work on a trip, as well as have a vacation. We call this division “Service Expeditions.” The idea to add such a division came from the knowledge that our public university has a great many people who feel called to give back and contribute where there is a need. Because we are a public university (the greatest one in the country!) we feel that public service directly ties into our mission, since the university is partially funded by the State of California. Therefore, we actually have an obligation – moral or otherwise – to offer this type of program to our constituents.

When tour operators began visiting us with their 2007 trip proposals, we asked them if they had ever offered this type of tour. One shared a very successful experience with his own private high school alumni helping out with tsunami relief in Southeast Asia. Another, Classic Escapes, the tour operator for the trip we eventually selected for our first offering, said they had been doing this for some time and we liked what they presented for Costa Rica.

2) What do you consider to be the most challenging issues involved in organizing a voluntourism itinerary for your members?

One of the greatest challenges is figuring out what the balance of volunteer time and “down” or “vacation” time should be. We also need to figure out who is actually the most interested in this type of trip for our marketing purposes. We have marketed our service trip in our annual brochure, our fall brochure, and via email. We have not yet sent a direct mail piece. We have had a fair amount of interest, but nobody has registered for the trip so far.


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3) What elements of voluntourism do you anticipate will support and facilitate linkages between your alumni association and its members?

We are optimistic that the service tours will introduce our travelers to programs and organizations that are giving others opportunities to have better lives. We hope to be able to connect people to organizations in their areas of interest in volunteering; whether it be with the environment, animals, health care, education, or children in need. We see our Service Expeditions division as a long term project that will take time to develop and perfect and intend for it to give alumni and friends of Cal an opportunity to make a difference through volunteering.

Kris Jameyson, Associate Director, Cal Discoveries Travel Program

Kris Jameyson has worked at the California Alumni Association (CAA) since 1998, first in the accounting office, and has been with the Cal Discoveries/Bear Treks travel program since 2001. Currently, her responsibilities include marketing and finances. She is excited to be part of a team including Director Jackie Olson, and Asst. Directors Charlotte Sproul and Christy Campbell who have spent the past year expanding one of the most successful alumni travel programs in the country.

Prior to working at CAA, Kris spent 10 years volunteering and as a staff member of the Washington, DC, based nonprofit organization RESULTS, a grassroots lobbying organization focused on the alleviation of hunger and poverty. Kris trained volunteers to meet with legislators and the media to promote effective poverty-alleviation strategies.

Kris has a BA in Economics from the University of New Mexico.

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