Waubonsee Voices: Thrive locally; volunteer generously.

Waubonsee students have a long history of volunteering generously in the community through the Lucile Gustafson Scholarship program, which began in 1979. Since 2015, there have been approximately 2,153 Waubonsee students who have given 6,785.25 volunteer hours in the community, and this dedication to service continues today.

From organizing natural relief projects, blood, donation and food drives to Alternative Spring Break, Day of Service, The Giving Tree, Big Pink Volleyball, and Empty Bowls, Student Life offers several opportunities for Waubonsee students to expand their collegiate experience and engage in their community. In addition, students can give back to their community in support of local causes.

One of the areas we focus on in Student Life is civic engagement. What is civic engagement you ask? The American Psychological Association defines civic engagement as: “individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.” This can look different depending on the person such as volunteering, participation in a group, or voting and/or writing a letter to a local, state, or government official, and more.

I am thankful for the many agencies in our community who welcome Waubonsee students into their facilities to learn, grow and make an impact on the community, including, but not limited to: Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry, Aurora Kiwanis, Aurora Restore, Association for Individual Development, Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, Charity Blooms, Family Focus, Fox Valley Metro/City of Aurora, Feed My Starving Children, Fox Valley Restore, Gigi’s Playhouse, Hickory Knolls Discovery, Hesed House, Kendall County Food Pantry, Kendall County Forest Preserve, Kishwaukee Hospital, Lazarus House, Marklund, My Daughter’s Dress Boutique, Mutual Ground, Relay for Life, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, United Way of Fox Valley, Veterans Affair, Wayside Cross, Willow Crest andYouth Outlook Center.

All of these experiences are valuable learning opportunities to encourage, support, and engage students who can thrive locally and volunteer generously.

• Dr. Mary Tosch is the Student Life manager at Waubonsee Community College.