As we begin the last week of Badger Volunteers for the spring 2021 semester, it feels serendipitous and right that the last week coincides with Points of Light’s National Volunteer Week. This weeklong celebration highlighting the impact of engaged members of the community emphasizes and reminds us of the power of collaboration, care and investment where we live and spend our time.
Badger Volunteers are UW–Madison students who intentionally dedicate time each week for eleven weeks of the semester to engage in our Madison community, making an impact in education, sustainability and public health. We would not have been able to continue to work with community partners this year due to the pandemic if not for the dedication and passion of Badger Volunteers who chose to continue volunteering in a virtual setting.
Amongst challenges faced by the students, there was an eagerness to remain connected to the community and a commitment, collectively, to the Wisconsin Idea.
“I really think that Badger Volunteers (BV) has helped me know more of the Madison community during difficult times. It is nice to encourage the students to keep going strong and continue their education with passion.”
We appreciate that Badger Volunteers have been responsive to the changes in our community due to COVID-19, practicing flexibility, humility, and understanding when opportunities or processes changed at their site. For example, students adjusted their calendars when their volunteer hours in local schools changed when schools began a hybrid learning model.
Additionally, Badger Volunteers have continued to deepen their own learning in education sessions, workshops, and reflections to deepen their experience of engaging with the community and trying new volunteer tasks.
One Badger Volunteer noted, “I really think that BV has helped me know more of the Madison community during difficult times. It is nice to encourage the students to keep going strong and continue their education with passion.” Another emphasized that, “BV definitely has shown me that anyone can give back to their community given almost every circumstance.” Not only did the Badger Volunteers support and engage in the Madison community, but they realized the reciprocity in building relationships through volunteering. A Badger Volunteer pointed out, “I really enjoy working with the students and getting a chance to get to know them. The social connection is enriching and it has helped me feel much less isolated.”
The Morgridge Center, and the Badger Volunteers Executive Board in particular, are grateful to all the Badger Volunteers who have continued to engage in the Madison community through virtual volunteering.
Thank you for your passion. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for showing up even as you too learned how to navigate so much of the world virtually! Moreover, thank you to all volunteers who have continued to build reciprocal relationships and volunteer in our community!
There is more need now than ever for volunteers, so taking time to give back to the community during this difficult time makes a difference.