Good news travels quickly and bad news often takes precedence over good news.
As you have read in previous weeks in The Platteville Journal, a number of UW–Platteville students recently made some very poor choices that resulted in their arrests.
It is important to remember that these were the actions of only a few UW–Platteville students. The majority of our students exhibit the highest standards of behavior, academically and socially, as evidenced by their academic success and the countless hours that they devote in service to our community.
Our students — sometimes with our prompting but often without it — actively seek out ways that they can give back to our community. UW–Platteville students provide service to local residents, businesses and organizations. Community service allows students to develop interpersonal skills, learn new perspectives and increase their sense of commitment to the people in the community.
• This spring, more than 600 UW–Platteville students participated in Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement community-based service learning projects. With UW–Platteville faculty members, these students partnered with more than 40 businesses, organizations and schools to affect meaningful, positive changes in Platteville and the region. Projects were in the areas of engineering, math, science, business, industry, life sciences, agriculture, liberal arts and education and ranged from building learning tools for special needs children to helping non-native speakers learn English to designing an exhaust diffuser that met new EPA emissions standards. During the past academic year, 14 percent of UW–Platteville students (1,050 students) participated in PACCE projects.
• Also this spring, students who resided in Morrow Hall hosted their annual “Morrow Hall Works Week.” Students participated in Relay for Life, an event that raises awareness and support for the American Cancer Society. They also cleaned up Main Street and parts of campus, organized and conducted a food drive, brought decorations and crafts to senior citizens, ran a clothing drive for Easter Seals and provided a donation to an area family in memory of their son. Students from Morrow Hall and other residence halls who provide service in the community are always looking for new ideas of service activities as well as new organizations to help.
• Throughout the school year, UW–Platteville student athletes hosted Kids Night Out. They also collected can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, held “Little Pioneers” basketball clinics, visited local elementary schools, raked leaves for senior citizens in Platteville, and participated in Relay for Life.
• Members of the UW–Platteville football program helped Neil Wilkins Elementary School upgrade their playground equipment and taught the students the fundamentals of football. Many of the players also helped with Relay for Life. Coaches Jason Wagner and Ryan Munz and player Lee Vlasak helped a young boy from Middleton who has cancer celebrate his 10th birthday. They talked with him and his classmates about football, athletics, perseverance and the future, then presented him with a signed UW–Platteville football helmet and jersey. In the last year, the football team has also bagged food for the “Food for Haiti” mission, helped build a home for the “Habitat for Humanity” just outside Cuba City and completed yard work for Platteville residents.
• Most of UW–Platteville’s more than 200 clubs and organizations have missions that are deeply rooted in providing service to others. For example, the Greek Community, which includes 16 social and professional fraternity and sorority chapters and their governing councils, participated in more than 2,100 community events, spending more than 14,800 hours engaged in service. Some of their activities included bell ringing for the Salvation Army, walking dogs and cleaning cages for the Dubuque Humane Society, taking a number of disabled people on a hunting weekend, highway clean up, tutoring, city hall auditorium cleaning, hosting bingo/spa day/caroling at senior centers, donating blood, donating food to the food pantry, raking leaves, shoveling snow and much more.
• Members also volunteered or provided financial support to the Humane Society, United Foundation for Disabled Archers, scouts with special needs, Operation Home Front, ALS Walk, World Dairy Expo and Wounded Warrior. In fact, 10 of the 16 chapters collected well over $14,000 for Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, Campfire USA, ALS Walk, Trina Benefit, Food Pantry, Invisible Children, Wisconsin Badger Camp, Project Concern, Walk MS, UW–Platteville Music Department, Main Street Fund, Special Olympics, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Food for Kids and Family Advocates.
• University students hosted the 39th annual Wisconsin Badger Camp Christmas Telethon and raised more than $66,000 for Wisconsin Badger Camp, whose mission is to provide quality outdoor recreational experiences for people with disabilities. In addition, UW–Platteville student ambassadors helped with promoting and organizing the Irish Festival at the end of March. They also participated in Relay for Life and did yard work for a family in Platteville.
This is only a snapshot of the positive ways that UW–Platteville students contribute to this community and region. There are many, many more.
In closing, I have great pride in the students at UW–Platteville. We have some of the finest, brightest, most creative and innovative students right here on our university campus. They are hard-working and deeply committed to their studies and future careers and are willing to devote the time and energy necessary to be successful. They are globally and environmentally aware and have a desire to make a difference in the world. Equally important, they are also responsible citizens who give back to the university campus and this community.
The next time you hear of or read about a UW–Platteville student in the news, I hope you will think about all the good things that our students do for this community and region.