In order to encourage discussions of purpose, community and identity amongst sophomore students, Associate Dean of Students and Dean of the Sophomore Class Rose Wasielewski partnered with the Office of Student Activities and the Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE) to create Sophomore Day of Service.
Thursday, Oct. 4, marked the day, and two different service opportunities were provided for students.
With help from the CCE, Wasielewski was able to plan a service opportunity on-campus as well as off-campus for students to participate in during their midterm reading period. Wasielewski hoped sophomores would utilize a day off from classes to give back to the Appleton community.
The off-campus option, originally the only option, was led by sophomore Morgan Fisher, one of the office managers in the CCE.
This option included volunteering at Riverview Gardens, a local non-profit organization, to prepare the land for winter. Tasks included weed pulling and working on hoop houses.
Prior to leaving campus on a bus, students attended an ethical service training in order to learn about privilege and how to serve alongside community members in an ethical way. This opportunity was open to approximately 40 participants, but fewer than 10 participated.
The on-campus option was created by junior Papo Morales, the Equal Access to Education Program Coordinator in the CCE.
Morales hosted a viewing of “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary that criticizes the American public education system by following several students as they attempt to be accepted into competitive charter schools.
Although this event was specifically geared towards sophomores, it was open to all students in order to provide a deeper understanding of the Equal Access to Education Service Area.
Similar to Riverview Gardens, attendance for this event was much lower than expected. According to Wasielewski, the poor attendance could be due to students using their time off from classes to go home, sleep or simply not make plans.
Despite the low turnout, Wasielewski is still eager to incorporate service into sophomores’ lives and intends to poll around campus for when this event might be better planned.
Wasielewski is focused on the sophomore class because she is currently serving as the Dean of the Sophomore Class, a role created just this year. The sophomore class is currently the only class to be designated a specific dean. Wasielewski’s role was created in order to combat what has been referred to as the “Sophomore Slump.”
This “slump” occurs across universities, possibly for several reasons. Wasielewski proposed reasons such as the need to choose a major during sophomore year, a push to create one’s own community as opposed to being provided one for first-year students, shifting identities and even a seeming lack of support after the care and guidance of the first-year experience.
Wasielewski strives to support students in order to encourage them not just to remain at Lawrence but to thrive.
She is working towards this goal specifically with the pillars of community, identity and purpose — topics that she has found evidence both statistically and anecdotally to be extremely relevant to the sophomore year experience.
The Explore Sophomore program includes activities and reflections about these topics through a curriculum of weekly meetings, but Wasielewski seeks to promote these pillars to all students.
She believes that “service can be a great way for [students] to figure out their purpose, who they are, who they want to be.” For this reason, Wasielewski created Sophomore Day of Service.
Additional resources specifically geared for sophomore students are available on the Sophomore Resource Page where Wasielewski plans to post reminders and upcoming programs. She is available via email and in her office on the second floor of Raymond House.