SVOG grants allow students to give back

Cassidy Wilson

This summer, a number of Lawrentians will be spending their time off from school giving back to communities across the United States and the world with help from the Summer Experiential Learning Grants offered by Lawrence University.

There are three different kinds of Summer Experiential Learning Grants. Summer Volunteer Opportunity Grants are sponsored by the Volunteer and Community Service Center and support students who participate in service projects over the summer.

The Betty Heistad Barrett Fund for Excellence in Civil Service is sponsored by Career Services, and provides funding for students who participate in unpaid internships with nonprofit organizations.

Finally, the Office of Engaged Learning, funded by the Pieper Family Foundation, provides financial support to faculty-supported, academically-rich student projects that have potential to assist the local community.

This year, students applied for all three grants via one application. Applications were then reviewed by a committee consisting of Kristi Hill, director of volunteer and community service programs; Tricia Plutz, internship coordinator at the Career Center; Monica Rico, associate professor of history and Pieper family professor of servant leadership; and junior Marika Straw.

Rico said, “We were all very impressed with the quality of applications and the dedication that Lawrence students showed in their willingness to commit a summer towards helping community organizations locally, around the U.S. and overseas.”

There were nine recipients. Sophomores included Tammy Tran, Ashley Heun, Polly Dalton, Lauren Nokes and Jamie Cartwright. Juniors included Kaleigh Post, Cayla Rosch*e* and Kaye Herranen. Freshman Kerstin Brolsma also received a grant.

These students’ projects will take them to metropolitan centers of the United States like Chicago and New York City, fly them across the ocean to Rwanda or keep them right here in Appleton to give back to the local community.

Rosch*e*, a vocal performance and music education major with a minor in psychology, will remain in Appleton to continue her current work with the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Cities, where she teaches music lessons to underprivileged children.

She said, “This grant is important because I would not be able to afford to volunteer if the cost was not offset in some way. The work that [I] and others are doing is very important, but nothing is free and, being in college, we don’t have a lot of money. I think this encourages summer volunteering, which results in long term volunteering.”

Post and Cartwright will travel to Rwanda with the Sexual Health and Reproductive Education program, which is sponsored by the Health Development Initiative, a partner of GlobeMed. There, according to the Volunteer Center website, they will “educate Rwandan youth about safe sex and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS.”

Tran will travel back to her hometown, New York City, to work with the nonprofit organization Let’s Get Ready which, in Tran’s words, “aims to expand college access for motivated, low-income high school students by providing free SAT preparation and college admission counseling.”

She added, “I genuinely believe that growing up in an urban area is a dynamic way to cultivate the mind and mature into a vibrant and dynamic individual. LGR’s setup of having college students volunteer to coach aspiring high school students is a great way to make the possibility of higher education appear more attainable to the students LGR works with.”