Globe University-Madison West staff and faculty were immersed in volunteer work during their annual Community Service Day. Our campus participated in not one, not two, but three volunteer projects that helped our local community!
Globe’s community service day is one day each year where faculty and staff experience the power of volunteering as a team, a chance to reconnect with our community, and a reminder of how serving local nonprofits can help a long way.
Let’s Build This!
Habitat for Humanity is such an amazing organization which serves more than four million people worldwide. Their focus is to help build or repair houses so families of all types can have a home. Their volunteer opportunities are so rewarding and their advocacy is profound, so it was no surprise that our campus sent a group to work on a house.
Madison West staff, Jennifer Brown, Amanda Hatzinger, myself (Jennifer Hilgendorf), Amy O’Shea, Vic Wipperfurth along with Madison East staff, Bill Vache and Krista Zimonick met up in Sun Prairie for a full build day. Not knowing what to expect, part of the group was met with a fun challenge: installing trusses which completed the roof of a one story home. “It was nice to get outside and help build a house, but I was not expecting to stand up 15 feet up in the air,” said Vic. “After a while I got used to the height.”
While part of the group had fun working on the roof, the other volunteers helped with insulating the outside frame of the house. This involved measuring and cutting Styrofoam and nailing it to the frame of the house. For me, it was fun to put our minds to work when it came to cutting the board to fit a few odd places.
During our time volunteering, we worked with the future owner of the house, Todd. Todd was great at communicating his story and explaining how families receive the homes. “I found it very meaningful to have the opportunity to get to know the homeowner and have him explain the volunteer process and requirements for owners,” said Amy O’Shea. “It was very satisfying to be able to see, at the end of the day, the difference we made on the house!”
Contrary to the popular myth, families are not given the home for free. They pay a down payment and have a monthly mortgage just like everyone else. They also have to put in between 325-375 hours of building themselves. Lastly, they take classes on maintaining their home, yard, budgeting and more!
Business of Building Community
The next project was another partnership with Habitat for Humanity to allow high school students from Middleton and Belleville to participate in a service learning project called “Business of Building Community”. In this project, students were tasked with working in small groups to build bookshelves for prospective Habitat for Humanity homeowners. The bookshelf build itself was coordinated by Globe’s Project Management class taught by Chad Obright, a project manager at Gorman & Company.
In addition to the building project, students were taught about the hard work and education that goes into successful home management. Bethany Klein, development director of Habitat for Humanity, shared information on the perseverance it takes for families to earn their homes through the program. Christine Patton and Kevin Porter, representatives of Associated Bank, talked to the students on setting up the fundamental financial tools necessary for home ownership. Lastly, Robert Runchey, a home inspector and the owner of American Home Consultants and Insulation of Madison, brought in equipment to demonstrate some of the issues that go on within the walls and attic space of a home.
Overall, it was a great learning experience. “We heard from the students’ teachers that it was an innovative and hands-on learning experience,” said Erica Healey, Madison East business program chair. “I would love to host more events that bring the community and the university together to promote education in the business sector.”
“’Business of Building Community’ was an amazing experience for Globe University staff and students as well as our high school guests,” said Jamie Buenzli, campus director. “I am very pleased that we were able to collaborate with local businesses and high schools to benefit such a worthy cause as Habitat for Humanity. It was service learning at its finest.”
The Backpack Project
There is a population of Middleton and Cross Plains students who are experiencing a challenging time in their life—attending school while homeless. Many of these students experience a long commute to school, either by bus or taxi. To motivate these students to stay focused and occupied during their commute, the homeless program at Middleton-Cross Plains school district provides these students (ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade) with various educational items.
The project was spearheaded by Melissa Simon, director of career services, who had connected with local businesses to obtain donations prior to Community Service Day. With countless playbooks, pens, pencils, flashcards, markers, highlighters and lunch bags obtained and purchased, additional volunteer staff assembled ten bags worth of school supplies as a donation to Middleton-Cross Plains school district’s homeless program.
“After learning from the Middleton Cross Plains School District about the need for educational materials for students in the homeless program, I knew this would be a great project for the faculty and staff at Globe,” Melissa said. “We share a mutual passion for education and helping give everyone the opportunity to reach their goals, so it was a great partnership for our community day. After delivering the packs, we were informed there were already children identified that had a need for them. Our school district was more than appreciative, and we stressed that this project filled a need within their program which was rewarding to learn.”
“Buying the school supplies for the ten backpacks was a fun but challenging experience,” said Natalie Busse, career service coordinator. “Since it was not school season, we were not sure if we could get everything on the list. Luckily, we were able to buy almost everything on the list. It was a great feeling knowing that these backpacks full of brand new supplies would help children and teenagers who cannot afford school supplies to be successful in class.”
Want to see more photos from our Community Service Day? Check out our Facebook page.