This semester the Morgridge Center for Public Service welcomes two new peer advisors to the center. Matt Flynn and Caitriona Hobart will help advise students interested in volunteering in the Madison community.
Peer advisors help with anyone looking for general guidance on where to look for opportunities, to those with specific volunteer interest areas.
Welcome to the Morgridge Center, we are excited for the fresh faces around the office!
Matt: Thank you, I’m excited to be starting here. My name is Matt Flynn and I am a junior studying geography and environmental studies. I switched majors many times but finally made it to where I want to be!
Caitriona: And my name is Caitriona Hobart. I am excited to join the great work I hear the Morgridge Center is doing. I am currently a senior majoring in community and nonprofit leadership and environmental studies major with a certificate in global health.
How did you two come to find this position at the Morgridge Center?
Matt: My first connection to the Morgridge Center was when I started Badger Volunteers last summer, where I really enjoyed the people we got to work with in the community. Through that, I got in touch with Reuben, the former Badger Volunteers Coordinator, to talk about different positions in the center. As a previous SOAR advisor with Cross-College Advising Service (CCAS), he pointed me in the direction of becoming a peer advisor.
Caitriona: I actually met with a peer advisor my freshman year and I think that’s largely why I am here today. They told me about the Sierra Club and generally how to get involved, which led me to an internship there later on. Also Danielle, the previous peer advisor, explained how it would be a great way to use my skills and knowledge of the non-profits in the Madison area.
It seems like you will both be a great fit in this role, is there something in particular you are looking forward to as a Peer Advisor?
Matt: I’m most excited for working with other students and pointing them in the right direction. When I was a freshman I was pretty lost with all the opportunities on campus. I want to be that person to enlighten them with cool new volunteer opportunities.
Caitriona: The Morgridge Center is the place on campus that I’ve said is always doing really great work—it’s exciting to now be a part of that team. Also, as someone who didn’t grow up volunteering, I think that I will be a good insight to someone who is lost on where to start with volunteering and how to navigate finding your passions in the community.
As you both settle into the Morgridge Center and bring fresh perspectives to the position, are there new updates to peer advising we can look forward to?
Caitriona: We want to be able to share what the best practices of volunteering are to those we meet with. From working at other organizations, I know what the community partner side is like and how difficult it is to be a volunteer coordinator. We want to help students to understand how they can foster a good relationship and put the organizations’ needs first.
That sounds like a great step forward for advising! What can you say for those unsure about dedicating time to volunteering outside of campus?
Caitriona: A lot of students isolate themselves and only look for opportunities on campus, but it’s important to connect with the Madison community as a whole and be less siloed. Plus, I feel like the best way to get to know yourself is through volunteering.
Matt: I agree, volunteering is the easiest way to test out careers without any previous knowledge. You could volunteer as a construction person for Habitat for Humanity without any construction background, a really easy way to test out career paths or interests in general!
Can you explain how to make an appointment with one of you for those interested?
Caitriona: They can make an appointment on our website, it’s called “Meet with an Advisor” under the students tab. It’s a peer–to–peer meeting that lasts about 25 minutes. We ask you to fill out a form about your major and areas of interest that we can use to prepare ourselves for your appointment.