‘Empathy and Understanding’: Logan Gade’s Public Service Journey with Badger Volunteers

During her freshman year, Logan Gade joined the GreenHouse Learning Community—a residential community that prioritizes sustainability and environmental learning and requires its residents to be a part of an active community of learners.

Badger Volunteers Educational Programming Intern Logan
Logan Gade

That’s when she began volunteering with Badger Volunteers, giving back and sparking a joy in serving the community.

“Coming to the Morgridge Center and coming to Badger Volunteers has helped me find my love for volunteer work and serving the community,” she says.

She first volunteered with the Catholic Multicultural Center once a week, helping in ESL classes as a conversational partner and providing daycare services to the children of people taking classes.

Through this experience, she cultivated interpersonal relationships with people and immigrants in the wider-Madison community, learning their stories and finding a sense of belonging and community in Badger Volunteers.

“As somebody who had just moved from out of state, and was also feeling kind of out of place, it was really great to be able to connect with people who had those same sentiments,” she says.

She continued with Badger Volunteers after her freshman year, volunteering with a diverse group of initiatives as she discovered her interests and passions for different areas.

Her second semester, Gade worked with the Tenant Resource Center at the Dane County Courthouse, writing court dockets for people facing eviction and helping to prevent homelessness. She also volunteered with Habitat ReStore with Habitat for Humanity Dane County by pricing and selling donated furniture to fund housing projects.

Now a junior, Gade serves as the Badger Volunteers Educational Programming Committee Chair for the Morgridge Center, where she contributes to the behind-the-scenes work that goes into organizing the largest volunteering program on campus and its active impact on the community.

Badger Volunteers Logan Gade
Logan Gade at Habitat ReStore with Habitat for Humanity Dane County.

Within Badger Volunteers, Gade organizes educational sessions to help new members of Badger Volunteers contextualize their service. These often inform volunteers of social issues in the communities they will be serving.

“[The sessions] are very frequently social justice-oriented,” she explains. “Being empathetic and understanding that you don’t know what somebody else has gone through but you want to support them to the best of your ability is definitely very important to being a volunteer.”

Gade is very passionate about instilling values of how to be a better volunteer in her work. She often works to disrupt narratives of saviorism in volunteering and emphasizes a community-focus over a personal one, recognizing that community service isn’t about showing off or adding to a resume.

Gade continues to volunteer with Badger Volunteers, returning to the Tenant Resource Center at the Dane County Courthouse since she loved the experience during her freshman year. Currently, she and her team are working to compile a list of viable, cheap places to stay for people experiencing homelessness.

Gade says her experience with Badger Volunteers as both a volunteer and a committee chair have been extremely rewarding, helping her make connections and discover new opportunities and career pursuits working with nonprofits in the future.

“I really think that the best part about Badger Volunteers is that you get to leave the campus bubble,” she says. “And you get to see other parts of Madison and get to know people in the Madison community that aren’t students. You’re getting to learn about this community that you’ve moved to.”