Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Fair introduces UW-EC students to nonprofits where they can fulfill service-learning requirements

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    UW-Eau Claire junior Brianna Wyss pets Tia, a 7-month-old tortoiseshell cat held by Eau Claire County Humane Association volunteer Brooke Luedtke, during the Community Action Fair Monday in Davies Center. Dozens of local nonprofits and other organizations presented a variety of service opportunities to students during the four-hour event.

    Staff photos by Steve Kinderman
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    Ice Age Trail volunteers JoAnn Park and Richard Smith talk to UW-Eau Claire senior Emily Bacon during the Community Action Fair Monday in Davies Center. Local nonprofits and other organizations offered a variety of service opportunities to students.

    Staff photo by Steve Kinderman
    Buy This Image

Seeing two 7-month-old tortoiseshell cats, Tia and Tamara, peeking out of a carrier Monday in UW-Eau Claire’s Davies Center, Abbey Bosar and Sara Sendelbach stopped to talk to Brooke Luedtke about volunteering at the Eau Claire County Humane Association.

“There are lots of different ways to get involved,” Luedtke told Bosar and Sendelbach, freshmen from Green Bay, as she talked about the organization, different volunteer options and steps to become volunteers.

Looking for ways to complete UW-Eau Claire’s serving-learning requirement, students such as Bosar and Sendelbach attended the Community Action Fair Monday on campus.

“We wanted to see what opportunities are out there,” Sendelbach said after she and Bosar finished talking to Luedtke.

All candidates for a baccalaureate degree at UW-Eau Claire must complete 30 or more hours of accepted service-learning activity.

“This requirement is intended to provide students with an opportunity to serve their community, apply knowledge gained in the classroom, enhance their critical thinking skills and become informed, active and responsible citizens,” according to UW-Eau Claire’s Service-Learning Guidebook.

Representatives from dozens of Chippewa Valley nonprofits, like the Eau Claire County Humane Association, and other organizations gathered in Davies Center to talk with students about the many opportunities for them to serve the local community.

“I was thinking about the humane society before we came,” said Bosar, an animal lover.

Luedtke, herself a volunteer at the ECCHA, along with three of her children, took the day off from work so she could staff the booth at the fair and potentially recruit more volunteers for activities such as walking dogs, brushing cats or helping at events.

The service-learning requirement “connects students to the community,” she said. “I think that helps make Eau Claire feel a little more like home for them.”

Carol Cance and Opal Kunz, members of the Fall Creek Historical Society in charge of recording the society’s collections, turned to the university about five years ago, looking for help entering information into a computer.

“We’re in the high 6,000s (in cataloging items),” said Cance, noting one to three students have volunteered at the Historical Society for 10 to 11 semesters. “Students have been a tremendous help.”

The Historical Society had no UW-Eau Claire students last semester. Hoping to attract more student volunteers, Cance and Kunz attended the Community Action Fair.

“Our biggest challenge is we aren’t in Eau Claire, so students need some sort of transportation,” Cance said. (UW-Eau Claire and Fall Creek are more than 12 miles apart.)

Of the students who have volunteered in the past, their interest in local history has varied, Cance said.

“Some ask questions,” she said. “ ‘What is this? I’ve never seen anything like this.’ Then, we get a chance to educate.”

Contact: 715-830-5838, christena.obrien@ecpc.com, @CTOBrien on Twitter


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