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Volunteerism buoys community

A UW-La Crosse student helps with a swim lesson during an adapted physical education camp at Mitchell Hall on campus. More than 850 UW-L students reported their service and partnerships with local companies and organizations in 2016-17.

Faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse crammed five years worth of service to the community in only one year.

The employees provided 43,600 hours of service on average in both 2015 and 2016 to schools, community groups, faith organizations and more. That’s just numbers reported from UW-L. That obviously increases with the addition of faculty and staff from Western Technical College and Viterbo University.

But that doesn’t consider the hundreds of hours provided by UW-L students. They helped at more than 450 organizations, including several of the programs at the La Crosse Area Family YMCA — a win-win experience, said Communications Director Aleesha Torres.

“They get real-world experience in after-school programs, youth sports and more, and we get passionate people who want to learn more and give back,” the 2004 alumna says. “We’d be lost without them.”

It may be easy to gripe about the annual boom in population and struggle to find parking, but the positive impact is substantial.

Estimates on the volunteer time go as high as $25 an hour, making the time worth thousands of dollars to the community. On top of supporting the community, it helps UW-L accomplish one of its strategic plan pillars — increasing community engagement.

“It’s so vital and important to volunteer in the community,” says 2018 graduate Carly Juzwik, who regularly volunteers in the community. “We take advantage of the resources, so it’s important to give back.”

Have a project or need that could use help from UW-L? Find out how to get connected through the community portal.

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