University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student-workers, senior staff and administration team members and special guests hit the streets of Oshkosh to volunteer in their community during Citizenship Day 2013 Aug. 21.
“I feel like as a campus it’s really important for us to realize who–and what organizations–are around us,” said Ashley Noack, a community development specialist at UW Oshkosh who helped organize this year’s effort.
More than 100 volunteers headed to 16 different locations around Oshkosh to lend a helping hand as part of Citizenship Day. Some of the organizations included the Oshkosh Boys and Girls Club, Morgan House, Oshkosh Police Department, Oshkosh Seniors Center, the Christine Ann Center, the Oshkosh Public Library, Mercy Medical Center, the Oshkosh Humane Society, a Habitat for Humanity build site and more.
“Getting to know Oshkosh better is a really cool part of the day,” said Jacque Jankiewicz, a senior studying education and third-year community adviser. Jankiewicz volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club. “When you just give back on campus, you miss out on a lot Oshkosh has to offer. So, this really connects you to our community.”
Emily Weyker, who also spent time at the Boys and Girls Club during Citizenship Day, agreed.
“Getting out into the community and being a part of it is important,” she said. Weyker is a junior studying education; she embraced the time she got to spend with young children calling it “good practice.”
Across town at Oshkosh’s Morgan House, home of the Winnebago County Historical Society, volunteers helped with an inventory process of artifacts. Across the street, a dozen others volunteered with the Oshkosh police.
“I think this is a fantastic thing,” said Greg Condon, a junior studying biology and a community adviser at Donner Hall. “We don’t just help today, but we raise a lot of awareness in the community.”
Throughout the academic year at UW Oshkosh, Residence Life employees are required to volunteer within the community as part of the Community Agency Partnership Program, Noack said. Each residence hall is paired with a community agency to create an ongoing community connection while providing needed resources. Noack said Citizenship Day at the start of the academic year gives students good exposure to organizations and opportunities that exist in and around Oshkosh.
“It’s important to grow personally and to know who is surrounding you and who may need help,” Noack said.
This is the 18th year UW Oshkosh has participated in Citizenship Day, a day community organizations really rely on.
“This directly affects the community in that we’re gaining the support of students and the UW Oshkosh community,” said Christy Becker, the volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, who had more than two dozen students throughout the day working on building a home on Jefferson Ave.
“Habitat gives people an opportunity to have their own home and the volunteers really helped in making that possible today,” said Jennifer Robertson, marketing and outreach coordinator with Habitat for Humanity.