Volunteer programs prevail over COVID-19

Campus and community organizations come together to fight effects of pandemic


Communication associate professor Kate Ksobiech begins loading a pile of donations for students quarantined in Clem Hall.

Katie Childs, Assistant Campus News Editor

The UW-W campus and Whitewater community are working all season long to ease the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on those suffering from the virus physically or economically. Volunteer programs such as Honors Council Care Packages, Warhawks Volunteer, QuaranTeam, Warhawk Food Pantry and Whitewater Community Food Pantry are just a few of the many organizations helping in this time of need.
“2020 has been a fireball of upsets. Social, economic, medical – all sorts of unusual situations. There’s social unrest. There’s chaos in the political system, no matter what side you’re on. During this time, it’s nice for people to be able to come together instead of falling apart,” said University Honors Program director Tanya Kam.
One such example of the campus coming together is the Warhawks Volunteer Program. This program announced the start of its services Sept. 21 and has been expanding its impact ever since. Its main goal is to help both on- and off- campus students receive basic living and school resources while in quarantine or isolation.
Faculty Senate Chair Tracy Hawkins helped develop the original idea of the Warhawks Volunteer 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 looking for assistance or to volunteer, start by filling out designated forms. Volunteer duties include grocery or snack delivery, paper printing and delivery, prescription pick up and drop off, and daily check-ins.
Another organization working to make a difference during the pandemic is QuaranTeam, a fundraiser set up by UW Foundation, Inc. that provides students quarantining or isolating in Clem Hall with care packages and hygiene products. The QuaranTeam fundraiser allows for donors to choose an amount they wish to donate, and each amount corresponds to certain items in the care packages.
“During these times we’ve all dealt with some type of disclusion. I thought it was a great idea, so I decided to help them raise some money,” said donor UW-W head football coach Kevin Bullis. “The UW Foundation has always been so helpful whenever we put on fundraisers for the football program. When people help you, you always want to help back.”
Yet another volunteer project that has brought comfort to those in quarantine and isolation is the Honors Council Care Packages. Honors Council Representative Dylan Paprocki heads this project, having gotten the inspiration from his sister’s nursing school model. The project give Honors Students the chance to support other students during one of the most difficult medical, economic, and emotional times within recent history.
These care packages are stocked with both non-essential and essential items, such as EasyMac, coloring books, boredom busters, cough drops, and tissues.
Labor from students of all areas of study, advertisement on behalf of local businesses, and donations from friends and family created a mixing pot of feel-good feats resembling the care package amenities themselves.
In town, organizations like the Whitewater Community Food Pantry increased the frequency that people can visit for groceries. Individuals and families who live in the school district can now visit every three weeks for groceries and weekly for bread, milk and pizza.
The pantry is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at 146 W. North St.
Despite the unconventional semester and associated challenges this year, these volunteer programs and individual efforts have proven that when a community comes together, any obstacle to progression becomes that much more conquerable.
“My hope is that the volunteer programs will encourage people to realize that they can ask for help because there is an entire community to back them up,” Klais said.