Mortar Board honorees support community literacy

Anne Aaker

Certain privileges apply once one achieves the status of being a college senior. One such privilege includes the opportunity to be a part of the campus chapter of Mortar Board. Mortar Board is a national senior honor society that focuses on both academic and community endeavors.
The organization’s permanent national project since 2002 is the Reading is Learning campaign, a program aimed at enhancing the literacy and English skills of children and adults. This year, Lawrence’s Iota chapter has begun a mentoring program at Richmond Elementary, a local school, in order to help with reading proficiency among area children.
Rob Strelow, a supersenior, is contributing to the group for a second year in a row. “By helping out in the schools, we’re hoping to be a positive influence on the kids there,” Strelow said.
Mortar Board also raises funds for new or already established programs that focus on language and reading. Last weekend’s concert in Lucinda’s was a benefit to raise money for music literacy programs and the Fox Valley Literacy Coalition. These programs, for both adults and children, offer tutoring in order to increase language and literacy skills.
In addition to off-campus volunteering, the group also sponsors a number of campus events, such as the First Chance/Last Chance Lecture Series, which features new or departing Lawrence faculty. The group also organizes the annual Freshman Studies party and cosponsors the Senior Class Etiquette Dinner.
Any students who will be seniors next year and are interested in fostering literacy, helping local students, and contributing to the social community at Lawrence should consider lending their skills and intelligence and apply to Mortar Board. It is not only a great opportunity to volunteer within the community, but a way to widen your social circle.
As Strelow pointed out, “Mortar Board doesn’t only do things concerning literacy – it’s also a great way to meet people and become involved with a more diverse group than you might usually hang out with.” From athletes to international students to artists, Mortar Board is for any and every kind of person willing to volunteer and open his or her mind.
For students interested in volunteering at the Fox Valley Literacy Coalition, contact David Vaclavik at (920) 991-9840.