Almost 3 dozen students earn service honors

Kayla Daugherty

A strong Madonna presence was felt at the annual Michigan Campus Compact Outstanding Student Service Awards Celebration on Saturday April 14, 2012. At this ceremony, 34 Madonna students were acknowledged for their community service efforts.

The award recipients came from 42 schools throughout Michigan including Madonna, Albion, Sienna Heights and Northern Michigan University. Taking place at the Kellogg Conference Center and Hotel in East Lansing, the ceremony recognized more than 300 students for their community involvement.

The keynote speaker, Emily Doerr, spoke briefly about her journey of service-learning. Attending college at Central Michigan University, she was involved in various students groups. Actively volunteering in her years at CMU, she found herself becoming so passionate about community service that it became part of a job requirement. She encouraged everyone at the ceremony to continue their work.

“Volunteering in college is not a single, onetime thing. It’s a start of something good you can continue with the rest of your life,” Doerr explained.

Doerr is currently working to obtain her M.B.A at the University of Detroit Mercy. The sky is the limit for this service champion.

After her talk, several other service champions were recognized.

Madonna was honored to have one of the largest numbers of students recognized at the ceremony.

Thirty-two Madonna students received the Heart and Soul award. This award identifies undergraduate and graduate students who have devoted time, effort and personal commitment to their community through service.

Julie Koprowski, a Madonna student who received the Heart and Soul award, was motivated after hearing Doerr’s talk.

“Her speech was exactly what I needed to hear. I was encouraged to stay involved and find new ways to reach my community. I am now so excited to bring all the things I have learned and experienced back to my hometown and use them for good in my first career. If anything, I think I will be more evolved post-graduation.”

Another Heart and Soul recipient, Brandon Rennie, wants to use his profession after graduation as a nurse to aid the community.

“Listening to the key note speaker talk about the journey she has been on over the course of her life and the accomplishments she has achieved were a reminder of how I would like to create change in the world too,” said Rennie. “I have an undying passion to study HIV/AIDS and other diseases that are creating many of our world’s premature deaths.  I hope to one day witness, if not be involved in finding better preventative measures, treatments and/or a cure so that the individuals in those populations may have a better quality of life.”

Additionally, Janos Uzonyi (right)was acknowledged for his leadership in service and received the “Commitment to Service” award. This award recognizes students for either the depth or breadth of their involvement and the demonstration of meaningful reflection.

The biology major, Uzonyi is deserving of this awards as he not only participates in various service-learning activities but also founded a student service organization; EVO.

Ecological Volunteer Organization was founded after a service trip to Mississippi in the summer of 2011. In that summer alone, the organization documented over 200 service hours.

“We are committed to helping out the community, whether it’s here in Detroit or all the way in Mississippi. We have removed several invasive plant species for a local conservancy and at humbug marsh,” explained Uzonyi. “We have adopted a two mile stretch of highway on 275 between 8 and 10 mile (there is a sign there with our name!). We have returned to the gulf to clean up Katrina and planted trees to help 'green' Detroit.”

In this past year Madonna students worked with EVO in the Rouge River Clean up, Garlic Mustard Pull, and Greening Detroit project.

The greatest honor for Madonna University was Amanda Straub being one of the only seven students awarded the Outstanding Community Impact Award. Straub, a senior at Madonna is extremely active on campus, especially in SCOPE.

SCOPE stands for Students Creating Opportunities to Promote Education. This group hosts a week long camp at Madonna in the summer, the Bridge camp.

Straub leads fellow Madonna students in helping middle school aged students learn more about college, such as college vocab, and the application process.

“It is a way to promote education,” Straub explained. “We try to positively engage with the kids.”

Straub is involved in other activities aside from SCOPE, participating in other college access focused community service-learning projects. She is a Michigan Service Scholar and trained in College Positive Volunteerism. In addition the biology major is also active in EVO and Campus Ministry’s Peace and Justice Committee. Furthermore she mobilized 125 Madonna students to participate in service projects.

Madonna has had a long history of community involvement and continues to foster students with giving hearts.