Tag: volunteering

Volunteer, service opportunities offer students a path into community

Students talk about the VITAL program during the Community Engagement Bazaar held in the Wellness Center during Welcome Week.
Welcome Week included the Community Engagement Bazaar on Thursday, introducing Lawrence students to all sorts of volunteer and service opportunities. It was held in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center gym.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Getting involved in the Appleton community can sometimes be imposing for students new to Lawrence. Volunteering just might be the path you’re looking for.

The school’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE) notes in its recently released annual report that 782 students contributed 6,659 hours of volunteer service during the 2018-19 academic year, and 75 percent of the graduating seniors said they had volunteered during their time at Lawrence.

The CCE, now working within the Center for Career Life and Community Engagement (CLC), is looking to keep that momentum going in the new academic year, making it as easy as possible for students to get involved and to follow their passions.

The center, located in the Seeley G. Mudd Library, was previously known as Volunteer and Community Service Center. It rebranded itself to better reflect the wide array of service opportunities available on and off campus.

“We wanted to be more true to our mission, which is not just volunteering,” said Kristi Hill, director of the CCE. “We’re really trying to educate Lawrentians on their civic responsibility as citizens of this world. And to not just serve, but to inform them on social justice issues that could be of importance to them. So, the name better reflects what we do.”

Being part of the retooled and reenergized CLC also provides new paths, as well as better efficiency in connecting service work with resume building.

“The benefits have been, we’re now with a department that is really focused on the experiential education or journey of Lawrence students,” said Hill. “Focused on volunteerism and internships and networking and creating your own community, those are kind of like-minded things our office shares with the CLC.”

Even with the rebranding, the CCE still serves as a resource on campus for students who would like to volunteer. CCE staffers help students with everything from getting connected with nonprofits they can volunteer with to hosting volunteer opportunities on campus. 

Last year, the CCE implemented a new program called Viking Ambassadors in Service and Engagement (VASE), a program focused on first-year students to help them make connections and learn about issues in the community. It drew 33 first-year students, spread across five VASE programs — greater access to the arts, supporting fair housing and hunger, advocating and care for elders, protecting and sustaining the environment and allied health care.

“Certificate programs are tailored to each service area,” said Papo Morales ’21 , equal access to education coordinator at the CCE. “Students, preferably first-years, are really involved and engage in this one specific service area. Last year, they did service trips, they did events, it was an amazing thing.”  

The CCE will continue the VASE program this year, with increased funding that will allow more opportunities. 

Alongside the VASE program, the CCE provides Lawrence students with lots of opportunities to serve.  

Lawrence students pick vegetables in the SLUG Garden during Welcome Week.
Lawrence students volunteer in the Sustainable LU Gardens during Welcome Week.

One program is Service Corps, run by students on the CCE staff.  Each Service Corps enclave is geared toward addressing social justice issues in the Fox Cities. The student in charge of the group partners with community agencies. There are seven Service Corps groups: Access to Education, Child Advocacy, Elder Advocacy, Environment and Sustainability, Arts Advocacy, Fair Housing and Hunger, and, starting this year, Animal Welfare.  

Tutoring in area schools has been a big draw for Lawrence students through the CCE’s Volunteers in Tutoring at Lawrence (VITAL) program. During the 2018-19 school year, the CCE was able to connect 41 Lawrence students with 83 Appleton school district students who requested tutoring. 

Nine programs were offered by the CCE to support environment and sustainability needs. Overall, 62 volunteers served 1,134 hours toward those causes.

There were 19 programs geared toward the support of elders at Brewster Village, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and the Thompson Community Center on Lourdes. This allowed 57 Lawrence volunteers to serve 333 hours to support elder rights and care. 

In addition to individual service opportunities available to students, the CCE offers assistance to Lawrence University Community Council (LUCC) student organizations that do volunteer work. Many of these organizations had CCE staff as advisors, and all of them had access to the resources the CCE provides, including the GivePulse software used by the CCE, financial support, and service 101 training.

“The CCE really, really, really tries to connect with our service organizations,” said Morales. “We support them in any way that we can. If students are interested in starting a service organization, we are more than happy to help them. Last year, some athletes had come in and said, ‘Hey, we want to start a service organization.’ They came in with just an idea and by the end of last year, they were fund-raising for stuff. So, if you’re passionate about starting a service organization, all you have to do is come in and we will help.”  

Morales even started a service organization of his own through his connection with the CCE. It’s called Brother to Brother, a men-of-color empowerment organization aimed at cultivating leadership and brotherhood and providing service and advocacy in the community.

“I really wanted to have service be a part of our messaging,” said Morales. “So, our pillars are brotherhood, leadership, and service.”  

Last year, Brother to Brother was able to serve a multitude of organizations, including Edison Elementary School. This gave the students in the organization the chance to explore parts of the Appleton community they were not familiar with. 

“Things they wouldn’t do before, like they wouldn’t know they loved working with kids,” said Morales. “And when we took them to this recess, they fell in love.”

When students volunteer, it not only positively impacts the students they’re serving, but it also greatly benefits the organizations.

“The teachers there have shared, there’s too much for them to do in the time they have provided,” said Hill. “So, when Lawrence students can spend time with individual students who need extra support, the teachers are relieved and able to focus on instruction and looking for funding and other things to grow the school. They openly talk about it, that Lawrence students allow them to do more. So that’s been a really cool thing to see at Edison Elementary School.”  

The CCE will continue to provide Lawrence students with resources as the school year ramps up.

“We really do encourage people to just walk in and say, ‘Hey, I want to volunteer,’” said Morales. “We have a revamped space, so we really encourage students to come in … someone is always on staff here to answer questions and to help you volunteer. But if you don’t have the time and your schedule is really busy, we encourage all student just to go to GivePulse. You can go on the Lawrence web site and type in GivePulse on the search bar. That is where we house all of our volunteer opportunities.”  

Awa Badiane ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

“Why Keep Dreaming? A Time for Action” Focus of Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

Logo of Dr. Martin Luther King Community CelebrationThe 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration will feature a day of service and learning for Lawrence University students, culminating in a powerful message of action through unity from Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. A leading expert on diversity and privilege, Moore is a dynamic speaker and educator who leads his audience in interactive, fun, challenging and informative presentations. The celebration will also include musical performances, readings from student essay contest winners, and the presentation of community awards.

The celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy will be held Monday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and will include a sign language interpreter.

In addition to Dr. Moore’s presentation, Fox Cities community members will be presented with the 25th annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator Award. This year’s recipients will be honored at a reception immediately following the program in Shattuck Hall 163 on the Lawrence campus.

The three local winners of the annual MLK student essay contest will also read their award-winning essays. This year’s winning student essayists are:

  • Feyikami Delano-Oriaran, 2nd grade, Classical School Appleton
  • Lilyanna Pieper, 6th grade, Huntley Elementary
  • Catlin Yang, 12th grade, Kimberly High School

In addition to the evening celebration, the Lawrence community will continue its tradition of engaging in a day of service through a variety of events:

  • The OxFam Hunger Banquet, sponsored by the LU Food Recovery Network, will kick off the day at 10:30 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center.  The LU Food Recovery Network will lead an interactive hands-on activity highlighting the issues and laws that keep people trapped in poverty.
  • At 1 p.m., students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to volunteer at community organizations throughout the Fox Cities including Feeding America, the Menasha and Fox Valley Boys and Girls Clubs, and Riverview Gardens. These student-led initiatives benefit the community and help Lawrentians solidify the value of service learning.
  • Informal teach-in sessions, where faculty provide expert insights into community issues that impact equality for will take place across campus between 1 and 4 p.m. Topics include “Hunger and Health in a Wealthy Nation” and “The Global Climate Justice Movement,” among others.

More information regarding the MLK, Jr. Day of Service can be found at http://www.lawrence.edu/students/volunteer/mlk.

A day “on”: Lawrentians honor MLK legacy through reflection, community service

While the annual holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a day off from work or school for many, more than 250 Lawrence University students, faculty, staff and local alumni will make it “a day on.”

A photo of Lawrence University student packing up a box to send to Feeding American in Eastern Wisconsin.As a prelude to the Jan. 16 annual Fox Cities community celebration of the life of the civil and human rights leader, which Lawrence will host in the Memorial Chapel beginning at 6:30 p.m., Lawrentians will spend part of the day engaged in community service.

Since 2008, Lawrence has honored King’s legacy by providing volunteers to area nonprofit organizations. This year Lawrence volunteers will spend part of the King holiday providing their time and talents to 11 local nonprofit organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, Riverview Gardens, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Homeless Connections and the Bethesda Thrift Shop on a variety of activities, including a new reading initiative for K-6 students at Appleton’s Edison Elementary School.

Prior to the volunteer activities, Lawrence will conduct a Read & Reflect event the morning of Jan. 16 in the Warch Campus Center. The action-based discussion will focus on Marc Lamont Hill’s book “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.” It will include the sharing of personal experiences of feeling like a “nobody” and action individuals and the campus as a whole can take to better support society’s  most vulnerable members.

A photo of Lawrence University students volunteer on MLK's Day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts will deliver the keynote address — “On the Fierce Urgency of Now” — at the Fox Cities’ 26th Martin Luther King community celebration.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Mentoring Maven: Former Lawrence professor named recipient of community volunteer award

Mary-Poulson_newsblog
Mary Poulson

A born mentor, making a difference in people’s lives has been part of Mary Poulson’s modus operandi for most of her 85 years of life.

The long-time Lawrence University faculty member and barrier-breaking coach will be recognized Tuesday, April 19 as the 2016 recipient of the Paul and Elaine Groth Mentoring Award. The award is sponsored by the Mielke Family Foundation.

Poulson will be one of eight community award winners honored for their outstanding efforts at the annual “Celebrating Our Volunteers” dinner at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. The event, sponsored by The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Inc. and Post-Crescent Media, has saluted deserving area individuals for their volunteerism since 1998.

The Paul and Elaine Groth Mentoring Award recognizes an individual or group that has served as a mentor in the community over time and has, by example, made meaningful contributions to the quality of life in the Fox Cities.

Poulson was among 21 Milwaukee-Downer College faculty members who joined the Lawrence community in 1964 following the consolidation of the two institutions. During her 29-year career at Lawrence, she mentored thousands of students as a professor of physical education and coach of three sports, helping them discover themselves and find their niche in life.

When she first moved to Appleton, Poulson planned to stay just a year while exploring other options.

“Within weeks of settling in I realized what a special place Appleton was,” said Poulson. “During my 52 years here, friends, teachers and colleagues have provided me with many opportunities to share the fullness of life with others.”

A nationally ranked fencer in her own right, Mary Poulson coached Lawrence's men's and women's fencing team and helped it gain varsity status during her tenure.
A nationally ranked fencer in her own right, Mary Poulson coached Lawrence’s men’s and women’s fencing team for more than 20 years and helped it gain varsity status during her tenure.

At Lawrence, Poulson became the first woman coach of any sport in the Midwest Conference. A consummate multitasker, she coached women’s tennis —  Lawrence’s first varsity sport for women — men’s tennis and was the driving force behind the move from club status to varsity status of the men’s and women’s fencing teams, which she coached until her retirement in 1993.

In retirement, Poulson’s, and her late husband, John’s, own personal curiosities led to the creation of the Noonhour Philosophers, a free community speaker’s program held weekly at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Appleton. For more than 20 years, Poulson has organized and coordinated the program, arranging presenters spanning the spectrum to share their experiences and explore interesting and topical issues.

Patricia Boldt, a 1948 Lawrence graduate who nominated Poulson for the mentoring award, described the Noonhour Philosophers as “a welcoming institution that has made the Fox Cities a more interesting place to live.”

“She is a genius in finding both obscure and obvious presenters,” wrote Boldt.

In addition to running the Noonhour Philosophers program, Poulson has been active in the area’s annual Crop Walk for Hunger and with Leaven, a community based non-profit organization that works with volunteers to assist people in crisis who have basic needs that cannot be met elsewhere.

“All of these opportunities have helped me realize how blessed I’ve been and how generously Appleton residents share their blessings in all areas of life,” said Poulson. “I’m a behind-the-scenes sort of person, so it’s quite humbling to be recognized with the Paul and Elaine Groth Mentoring Award. I am extremely grateful to the Mielke Family Foundation and all those who make these awards possible.”

Poulson is the third Lawrentian to be honored with one of the community volunteer awards. Lynn Hagee, director of special projects at Lawrence, and Rick Bjella, former choral director at Lawrence and artistic director of the White Heron Chorale (now newVoices), received the Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2014 and 2006, respectively.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrentians Honor Dr. King’s Call to Service With Community Engagement

MLKDay-2015_newsblog
Junior Isabell Dammann, Portland, Ore., joined other members of Greenfire in creating hats from old sweaters to donate to local shelters as part of a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On the day set aside to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lawrence University students put the civil rights leader’s call to service into action. With no classes scheduled for the day, more than 250 Lawrence students provided their time and talents to 16 Fox Cities organizations throughout the community.

Volunteer activities ranged from making housewarming gifts for residents of newly built Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity houses to staging a winter carnival for residents of Brewster Village to helping organize donations at Harbor House, the local domestic abuse shelter.

Other organizations that benefited from the community engagement efforts of Lawrence students included the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, Riverview Gardens, Bethesda Thrift Store, Fox Valley Warming Shelter, Homeless Connections, COTS, St. Joseph Food Program, St. Elizabeth Hospital and SLUG, among others.

Additionally, another 50 student leaders provided their talents to the community through music performances, swing dancing, physical activity and art instruction.

The day began with a student/staff/faculty discussion of education equality in public schools centered around the documentary film “Waiting for Superman.”

MLK-Day_newsblog2
Otter Pinske (center), a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minn., was among several students who shared stories of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with area youth at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Cities.

“While it’s a privilege to serve with hardworking non-profit leaders, students were encouraged to think about the necessary services these organizations provide and to dream of a day where everyone has the resources necessary to meet their universal human rights,” said Kristi Hill, Lawrence’s director of volunteer and community service programs.

See other stories about Lawrence’s engagement in the community on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday from Fox 11, NBC-26 and WFRV-TV.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Community Service Lands Lawrence University on President’s National Honor Roll

For the eighth consecutive year, Lawrence University has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

President's-Honor-Roll_newsblog14
Helping build hoop houses at Riverview Gardens was among the student volunteer service hours that helped Lawrence earn its eighth straight spot on the President’s Higher Education National Community Service Honor Roll.

Lawrence is one of only two Wisconsin institutions to be cited every year by the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) since it launched the honor roll program in 2006 in response to the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Nine hundred Lawrence students contributed 17,777 hours to community volunteer and service-learning programs in collaboration with a wide variety of valued partnerships throughout the Fox Cities during this year’s reporting period, including 138 students who devoted 20 hours or more per term.

The President’s Honor Roll program recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities on a broad range of issues. Honorees are chosen on the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

“Community service provides ways to better understand ourselves,” said President Mark Burstein, “and involvement in the wider community enhances our learning environment. I am proud of the work and dedication our students display and pleased they have once again been nationally recognized for their efforts. At Lawrence, service continues to be not only altruism, but also part of the transformative educational experience that we strive to provide for our students.”

Among the initiatives for which Lawrence was cited:

• Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention Training. The training program benefited not only the campus, but the greater community. Lawrence collectively trained one master trainer, 51 instructors and 510 gatekeepers. Instructors and gatekeepers reported intervening within days of learning QPR skills to connect distressed community members to immediate crisis intervention services.

Self-Agency in Youth (SAY) Program. Using a two-pronged approach of support groups and a tutoring/mentoring initiative, the SAY Program helps teens gain ownership over their post-high school futures. Beautiful You African American Girls’ Group and Hmong Youth Pride and Empowerment (HYPE) are two branches of SAY and one of several collaborations between Lawrence and the Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley. With backgrounds and challenges similar to those faced by the teenagers, the Lawrence student volunteers turned their own experiences as a refugee or a first generation college student into a source of knowledge to help high school students in need of mentoring, reassurance and support.

President's-Honor-Roll-Newsblog_2
Student volunteers helped sort clothes at Appleton’s Bethesda Thrift Shop at Lawrence’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Nearly 500 students participated in activities under the theme of  “learn, serve and celebrate.” Activities included a “Read and Reflect: A Lunch Discussion” event on the book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting in the Cafeteria,” six student-led on-campus volunteer opportunities and the presentation of a specially developed curriculum on tolerance to more than 650 area youth at seven after-school sites of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley. Members of the Lawrence community ended the day by joining Fox Cities leaders to listen to Rev. Wanda Washington speak on “How to Build a Just World” at the annual MLK celebration hosted by Lawrence.

“It is a source of pride for everyone at Lawrence who values the college’s contributions to the vitality of the greater Appleton and global communities, that we have been recognized, once again, by the Corporation for National and Community Service for our achievements in community service,” said Mark Jenike, Pieper Family Professor of Servant Leadership and director of the college’s Office for Engaged Learning. “At Lawrence, community engagement, enabled by strong partnerships, is one of the most important ways in which we pursue our mission of preparing students for lives of achievement, responsible and meaningful citizenship, lifelong learning and personal fulfillment.”

The CNCS compiles the President’s Community Service Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.