A new program offering assistance to individuals in quarantine and isolation called Warhawks Volunteer Program announced the start of its services in a university-wide email Sept. 21 and has been expanding its impact since then.
The program’s launch came after a troubling first two weeks of high positivity in coronavirus cases on campus. Many students were forced to go into quarantine or isolation after a positive test result or after exposure to someone who tested positive, creating a need for these individuals to receive basic living and school resources.
“The idea originally came from reports I had gotten from faculty whose students were in quarantine,” said Faculty Senate Chair Tracy Hawkins. “These students had reported having trouble getting supplies and feeling lonely. So we were trying to think of ways to help people who were in quarantine within the Warhawk community—something we could do on an individual level instead of at an institutional level.”
Hawkins helped develop the original idea of the program along with Whitewater Student Government’s Director of Academic Affairs Justin Wesolek and COVID-19 intern Danielle Klais. Wesolek and Klais carried the idea from its inception to its ongoing execution.
Individuals either looking for assistance or to volunteer start by filling out designated forms. COVID-19 intern Danielle Klais then matches volunteers with quarantined persons. Volunteer duties include grocery or snack delivery, paper printing and delivery, prescription pick up and drop off, and daily call or text check-ins. More tasks may be added later upon request or notification of their vitality.
Barely three weeks into its launch, the program has elicited 104 volunteers as of Tuesday, Oct. 6.
“So far we have only had three people contact us for assistance during the first weekend. We have way more volunteers than we do people requesting help, which is a good problem to have. My concern was that it was going to be the other way around, and I’m delighted to see that it’s not,” said Wesolek.
The University Announcement also makes the distinction that no volunteer is ever in direct contact with those they are serving. Therefore, there is no risk of the virus spreading during the enactment of the program.
“My hope for this program is that it will encourage students to realize that they can ask for help because there is an entire community to back them up—and that goes beyond COVID-19, too. The UW-Whitewater community wants everyone to succeed and if you need help, there are people all around campus who are willing to give,” Klais shared.
To request assistance from the Warhawks Volunteer Program, fill out this form. To sign up as a volunteer, refer to this alternative form.