"When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change."

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Do you want to be in solidarity with your world and carry out service after you graduate?
If you are even a slight bit interested, please visit the Post-Grad Service Fair, which will take place on Sept. 23 from 3-7 p.m. in the AMU 2nd Floor Lobby.
Come and mingle with the various service organizations that seek young, driven, and graduated students to help target issues in our current world. We hope to see y’all there!

Do you want to be in solidarity with your world and carry out service after you graduate?

If you are even a slight bit interested, please visit the Post-Grad Service Fair, which will take place on Sept. 23 from 3-7 p.m. in the AMU 2nd Floor Lobby.

Come and mingle with the various service organizations that seek young, driven, and graduated students to help target issues in our current world. We hope to see y’all there!

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Permanent Press? Spin Cycle? Community Service?

Today, the Program Assistants at the Center for Community Service are completing the most dreaded and daunting task of the year—washing approximately four loads of stinky work gloves from Urban Connection, in preparation for Make a Difference Day and various other service projects.  The job consists of wheeling two huge garbage bins full of gloves from the AMU down to the Rec Center on 16th (who are ever-so-kind to loan us their facilities), hauling them down the stairs, loading them into the industrial-sized washer, waiting 31 minutes for the cycle to be over, loading them into the industrial-sized dryer, waiting 30 more minutes for them to be dry, and wheeling them back to the AMU.  Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

As I sit here by myself in the basement of the Rec Center, watching the gloves tumble around in the soapy water, I’m thinking about how each glove has a unique story.  Each glove goes into the washing machine with different stains and tears.  They have been altered by each use, physically changed by the work they’ve done—and each one in a different way.  These gloves are a perfect analogy for the students who have used them; each individual is unique, the service they’ve done in the gloves is all different, and the way they have been changed by that service is different, too. All the tears, stains, and dirt represent work done in service to others, relationships created and grown, and individuals and communities impacted.  And by washing the gloves, we are preparing to continue doing those things—preparing each glove to be changed again.  As they come out of the dryer smelling fresh and looking cleaner, they are ready to work, to build relationships, and stronger communities—much like you all as you prepare for another semester of service to our community.  The washing cycle is coming to an end, so I’ll leave you with that. Happy serving, Marquette!

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Meet Jess: our new Program Assistant

Hi, I’m Jess!

Here’s a little blog about my first week on staff:

The Center for Community Service in the Home of the Golden Eagles holds, by far, THE NICEST STAFF I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS. I am not kidding when I say I am very lucky to be working with such passionate, motivating, and kind individuals. They have made my transition into this position run smoothly and all I can say is that this is going to be one heck of a year!

The first week on the job has me making lists after lists and outlines upon outlines that are supposed to prepare me for all that’s to come. I have many things to do and that is great. It would not be a job if I were doing otherwise. One thing that I am working on is reading the “Program Assistant Training Manual 2014-2015” that my supervisor gave me. There’s so much to this job and that’s what I love about my position. All that this job is about is what I want to do for the rest of my life: helping others. Indeed, Marquette University never fails in stressing the importance of being “women and men for and with others”, and that is a huge reason why I’m here. I am studying Psychology and Advertising, two creative and analytical fields that render me able to make a positive difference in this world. With material that I acquire from class, I hope to apply everything to this job.

I’m THAT new co-worker that gets overly excited about everything and that is OK. I am looking forward to working with all of you to get involved in community service!

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Service Story: Billy Spingola and Urban Connection

Urban Connection Blog Post

As you may know, Orientation week for first-year students here at Marquette is a pretty hectic week and it culminates on Saturday with excursions into the city of Milwaukee. Importantly, these excursions do not only include the visits to Kopp’s Custard or Miller Park or the Third Ward. They also include the visits to Repairers of the Breach, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, and IndependenceFirst and the hours that first-year students spend serving in and with our community through Urban Connection.

This year, Urban Connection sent out hundreds of students to participate in these service excursions. And although all of these students entered into a unique and powerful experience, one team of students participated in the morning of service activities with an additional lens guiding them – their faith lives. The Interfaith Urban Connection team brought first-year students of different faith backgrounds together, allowed them to participate in a morning of service work, and enabled them to dive into the connections of faith and service that exist. Billy Spingola, sophomore Biomedical Engineering student and one of the Urban Connection group leaders for the Interfaith Team, commented on his experiences in a recent interview with the Center for Community Service. Check it out!

CCS: Where did you volunteer? What made your Urban Connection experience really special?

BS: I was the Team Leader for the Interfaith Urban Connection team and we volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. This was the first year that Urban Connection every sent out a team that was specifically focused on uniting multiple faith perspectives on the importance of service work. That morning, we spent a lot of time moving furniture, sorting donations, and organizing the store. On the surface, I guess you can say that it was a pretty sweaty day. But, that got me thinking and helped me realize that the importance of service work goes far beyond the actions of the day.

CCS: What do you mean by that?

BS: Well, everyone was really open about sharing things – their faith experiences, their perspectives on service work. It was so exciting to see everyone helping and being super friendly. They were always asking each other and our site coordinators how we could do more. They challenged each other to give greater service not only to what we were doing, but to each other. And, the same was true when we were reflecting and that’s what service is all about, don’t you think? It’s about the opportunity we have to be present with and for each other.

CCS: What was your reflection on Urban Connection like?

BS: It was incredible to say the least. Everyone was willing to share. Yeah, we started with the assigned prompts, but halfway through the circle, we didn’t need to prompts anymore. Everyone just started talking and listening and sharing how they had seen God in the work from that morning and in their other service work experiences. It was powerful to be a part of something that invited students into a deeper connection with themselves, their communities, and their faiths.

CCS: What are some lessons you’d like to share with other Marquette students interested in community service?

BS: Well, I guess there are a few things. First, I would tell students interested in community service this to think about this thought – there is always something to be done and when we join together and make a group to serve together, we can make something happen. We can’t ever stop believing that we have what it takes to give back to our communities. I would also try to remind them of the fact that the helping and the serving is mutual. When we stay involved and keep serving, we can learn a lot about ourselves. And, often times, we learn things about ourselves that we might not otherwise learn. So, get involved and stay involved, Marquette. There’s always something we can do together.

Thanks, Billy, for sharing your service story with us. We look forward to sharing many more service stories with the Marquette and Milwaukee community over the next year!  

Filed under service youaremarquette marquette urbanconnection milwaukee MKE thanksmke

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Starting another semester of service

Welcome back, Marquette! I can’t tell you how excited we are to be back in the Center for Community Service. We are ready and willing to help connect you to any service opportunity or organization with which you would like to work, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Now, if any of you are like me, I can only imagine that the beginning of your semester has hit you full speed ahead. There are new classes to consider, new professors to engage, new friends to meet, and countless new experiences to explore. It’s important as all of these opportunities come rushing toward us that we recognize our own passions, desires, motivations, and limitations. That’s the only way we’re going to accomplish what we are truly meant to do, right? We have to have a goal and a purpose in order to reach the desired end and perhaps, this is the semester that becoming involved in community service and volunteer work can be that passion, that purpose, that motivation.

Whether you have already explored the Milwaukee community with the lens of community service or you are eager to adopt that vision as part of your Marquette experience, I encourage your to consider deepening your commitment to our city and our community this semester. There are opportunities available for every desired level of commitment and you can always change your mind as you test the various options.

As you discern your involvement in volunteer work this semester, keep these five things in mind – the “Five Keys to Unlocking a Successful Year of Community Service.”

  1. Service is more than just physical work.  Service necessitates a ministry of presence.
  2. Service is not something you can accomplish on your own; it’s not something you do by yourself. Service is about building community, among those who volunteer and among those you meet.
  3. Service must start with an attitude of openness – only then can you accept the reality that service can invite you into a greater awareness of yourself and those around you.
  4. A spectrum of service really does exist. Give what you can, when you can, and however you can. Commit to giving an effort first and foremost.
  5. Service can (and will) change you – as long as you allow it to do so. 

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Hello incoming freshmen!

I know what it’s like to be in your shoes. I remember that crazy imbalance between excitement and anxiety about starting college. It really is an exciting time in your life, embrace it and enjoy it. College goes by way too fast. But, there’s an even more important piece of Marquette wisdom that I want to share with you and that’s this: take advantage of every Marquette involvement opportunity that comes your way, starting now.

I mean it – Marquette and Milwaukee have so much to offer and recognizing that and partaking in those opportunities starts now.

One of these unique opportunities – Urban Connection – happens on the Saturday morning of Orientation week and in case you don’t know anything about it, let me share a little bit about the incredible experiences you’ll have if you choose to participate.

Urban Connection is one of my favorite Marquette events of all time because it is the first chance that you as incoming students really get the change to engage some core Marquette ideals, like what it means to be a student at a university built on a pillar of service and what it can mean to “be the difference.” And, that’s a pretty amazing thing. Urban Connection is one of those experiences that can shape your entire Marquette experience and, as you’ll come to realize when you get to campus, defining who you will be at Marquette is as important as signing up for classes and doing your homework.

During Urban Connection (Saturday, August 23 from 9 AM – 2 PM), you will volunteer in the city of Milwaukee in various ways with a team of your fellow incoming students and an Orientation Staff member (like me). And, while there will be Marquette Orientation magic happening throughout that week, I have no doubt that Urban Connection is the perfect way to get a grip on what service really is and why it’s such a fundamental part of a Marquette education. Whether you are assisting with a local neighborhood clean-up or organizing clothes donations at a shelter for the homeless, you as an Urban Connection volunteer have an incredible opportunity to build community, to engage in conversation, and to build a better relationship between Marquette and Milwaukee. And, as an added bonus, you’ll be meeting A TON of other incoming students interested in making a difference and getting connected to the Center for Community Service (a great resource if you want to get involved in service at Marquette).

Trust me. After serving with the Marquette and Milwaukee community all morning and reflecting on your experiences, you’ll head back to your dorm or out to Central Mall with a new group of friends, a wealth of memorable experiences, and perhaps even a new perspective on service.   And, in case you still need some convincing, here’s a true statement. I have registered (and participated in) Urban Connection every year for four years. And, I wouldn’t have signed up if I had any doubts about how awesome it would be.

So, if you are interested in getting involved in service at Marquette, if you enjoy volunteer work, or if you want to meet some other new, engaging incoming students, sign up for Urban Connection. You can click here to register and if you’d like more information. I can’t wait to see you all on campus! 

- Brittany White

Center for Community Service Program Assistant & Orientation Team Leader