Farley Center goes above and beyond to serve student volunteers

UW-Madison senior Haley Spranger is a team leader with the Badger Volunteers program through the Morgridge Center for Public Service. Her team serves weekly at the Linda and Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability just outside of Madison. Haley explains why the Farley Center has meant so much to her and her volunteer team.

The Farley Center
 goes above and beyond the expectations of the Badger Volunteers program, making me so grateful to be part of the Farley Center team.

Being the team’s leader, I receive weekly emails from Caroline Farley, the Peace & Justice Facilitator. She takes the time to update me on what my team and I will be doing for that week’s two-hour volunteer session. Caroline also always makes sure to invite the Badger Volunteers team to the Farley Center’s activities and events outside of our normal volunteer time.

This past summer, my team and I went to the Farley Center’s Feast of the Fields 2015, receiving a free dinner and entertainment while being able to talk with everyone who is a part of the Farley Center. Caroline also goes out of her way to thank the team for their contributions to the site. I have never felt so welcomed and greatly appreciated at a volunteer site before.

The Farley Center Director, Shedd Farley, is who the Badger Volunteers team interacts with weekly. Shedd makes sure to put the volunteer plan to action. Shedd realizes that some of the things we do as volunteers are new to us and he always takes the time to educate us on each task.

Some of the tasks have included harvesting vegetables and fruit with farmers, taking out a horse fence on the land, making apple cider and grape juice and digging graves in the Natural Path Sanctuary. If we harvested any vegetables or fruit or made any juice from apples or grapes, the Farley Center farmers would always let us take some back home with us. I almost felt like I went grocery shopping there every week!

Farley Center
Badger Volunteers pose with Shedd Farley (center, glasses) this summer.

All Badger Volunteers have to attend one education session outside of their normal volunteering each semester. The Farley Center has gone above and beyond their role as community partner by putting together an education session for all Badger Volunteers. Shedd presented on the Farley Center’s Natural Path Sanctuary, explaining the ecologically sustainable natural cemetery that provides natural burial practices as an alternative to modern-day burials.

The Farley Center has provided me so many diverse experiences. With the experiences and the relationships I’ve built serving there last summer and now this fall, I’ve realized the true meaning of mutually beneficial relationships with community partners—a core component of the Badger Volunteers program. As volunteers, we benefit the Farley Center by helping them out on activities. And as a community partner, the Farley Center has taught my team and me so much about hands-on work outdoors.

Shedd says his favorite day of the week is Wednesday, the day we volunteer at the Farley Center. I couldn’t agree more!