“The chance to stop making college all about me”

Krista Brown dedicates a majority of her time to thinking about how she can positively impact the lives of others, whether through her studies or through direct service in Badger Volunteers and the Campus Women’s Center.

Brown, originally from Madison’s northeast side, attended Madison East High School and has always been active outside the classroom and in the community. So naturally,Badger Volunteers was a fit for the art, sociology and Spanish major.

“Badger Volunteers gave me the opportunity to get off campus and get out in a Madison community,” Brown says. “It gives me a break from class and work and and the chance to stop making college all about me.”

When Brown came to UW-Madison, she says felt trapped on campus, surrounded by people who looked the same, were around the same age and had more or less similar interests. She wanted a new experience. So when she saw Badger Volunteers advertised on a screen in the Education Building, she jumped at the opportunity.

Brown began volunteering for Mentoring Positives (MP), a referral-based program that works with kids and families throughout Dane County and its surrounding areas.

“I like the girls at Girls Group the most,” Brown says. “I like that they constantly surprise me in how kind, goofy, and honest they are. I also enjoy how much they mentor each other and learn from each other almost more than any volunteer or intern.”

Brown says she loves engaging, teaching and getting to know the children, but that she’s also learned a lot about how to mentor young people. Becky Green, Mentoring Positives Assistant Director, says Krista’s passion is evident.

“I think Krista is most passionate about being a good person and giving back to others,” Green says. “Krista has a genuine caring and empathy for others. She is also a great role model for youth.”

Krista has now been volunteering with Mentoring Positives for two years, and last spring, she became the Badger Volunteers Leader at the site. Green says Brown immediately emerged as a confident leader and referred to her as a team player, always dedicated and responsible. And she has a wonderful sense of humor.

Those are qualities that also come through in Krista’s work at the Campus Women’s Center (CWC) at UW-Madison.

“Krista has this fantastic ability to make everyone feel like they’re the funniest person in the room,” says CWC Family Resource Coordinator, Nicole Rudisill.

Brown works as a volunteer intern at the CWC. Rudisill described Brown as someone who never complains or slacks off. While the internship only requires students to work five hours a week, Brown often attends everyone else’s events.

Rudisill works with Brown on the center’s “Kids Time Program,” assuring students who are also parents have adequate childcare. She said Brown works tirelessly to see that non-traditional students receive the full UW-Madison experience.

“She does a lot of work to make sure that no one gets the short end of the stick,” Rudisill says.

Brown says she plans on incorporating service into her life through her career, whatever it might be. She also intends on staying involved in her community, getting informed and striving to help at any capacity she can.

“I think service is important because it forces you outside of your comfort zone,” Brown says. “Service challenges the way you see people, communities and experiences by you being a part of them in some way.”

While Brown is still a junior, she hopes to continue to find both meaningful and challenging experiences that change her perspective.

“I think service is the most sincere and true form of learning and growing.”

By: Malik Anderson