LU Honored for Volunteerism

By Jenny Ziegler, for The Lawrentian

On Nov. 15, three Lawrence students will be honored at the annual National Philanthropy Day celebration sponsored by the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The entire student body of Lawrence University was nominated for the River Class Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award because of their service to three of Lawrence’s Volunteer and Community Service Center programs. Junior Mary Schulz will represent the Lawrence Assistance Reaching Youth Buddy program, junior Ariel Blackshear-Tvrdy will represent the VITAL tutoring program and senior Phil Bushbacher will represent Relay for Life.

Both the LARY Buddy program and VITAL are coordinated through the VCSC, which offers administrative support for student-directed service projects. It also provides a free tutoring service available for K-12 students.

Lawrence funds and operates the VCSC, which also raises funds to support community-based research by students and faculty.  In keeping with the tradition of its founding as a student-led initiative, the VCSC is currently run by 16 student staff members with the support of two professional staff members. Lawrence devotes approximately three percent of its annual operating budget to public service, which supports service in curricular, extra-curricular, and scholarly settings.

The Lawrence approach encourages service participation through coordination and support, while maximizing the options for independent, student-driven service projects and experiences. For example, student volunteers initiated bringing a Relay for Life event to campus in May 2012 and raised over $15,000 for the American Cancer Society.

More than 50 nonprofits and schools throughout the Fox Cities, Northeast Wisconsin, and the greater global community receive over 27,000 hours of help each year through student volunteering, service learning, and community-based research.

Lawrence staff helps place students in roles where their service can  make a meaningful contribution to the organization’s mission.

The Fox Cities community conducts a study every five years to research vital areas of need.  Many of Lawrence’s service initiatives are targeted toward addressing these recognized needs and Lawrence maintains close relationships with community partners in order to ensure that our service is aligned with their concerns.

Lawrence University prepares students for responsible and meaningful citizenship as a core part of the educational mission.  President Jill Beck further emphasized this value in her first public address at Lawrence.  “It is not enough for a university and its students to pursue knowledge,” she said.  “The goal of a great university should be to graduate altruistic citizens, young adults with generous hearts to complement their developed minds.”