A class of 12 MSOE graduate students from the Doing Business with China program participated in a Servant-Leadership project of setting up an English language library in a small village located five hours from the city of Chengdu in Central China. The team set up a reading library, and provided books. A computer was donated to the school as well as supplies for the teachers. The project was planned and executed by these students to provide children at this rural school an opportunity to learn English.
Servant-Leadership Projects 2015
In June of 2015, ten MSOE students, two faculty members, and one staff member travelled to Joyabaj, Guatemala to complete a footbridge that spans the Rio Arco River linking the town to the other nearby village of Chosavic. MSOE students planned the project, and directed a build that included 800 man-days of labor from the community volunteers. The project was spearheaded by MSOE’s Engineers Without Boarders club and also sponsored by the Rotary Clubs in Wisconsin and Guatemala.
A team of three MSOE students and one faculty member participated in an international Servant-Leadership trip to Paita, Peru. The team helped install new water purifiers at a local school site. A total of 25 purification units were set up to ensure that safe and clean drinking water is available to the community. The project was co-sponsored with the members of St. Paul’s parish in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin and the School Sisters of St. Francis.
Global Brigades sent a Medical Brigade to Honduras in Spring of 2015. The Medical Brigade consisted of 33 MSOE students and faculty to provide basic medical services in the community of Alauca, Honduras.
Global Brigades also sent an Architectural Brigade over spring break to Honduras that consisted of 13 MSOE faculty and staff who worked in two communities (Tomatin and El Ocote) to help build community centers that will be engines of economic growth.
MSOE’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders demonstrated their commitment to servant-leadership on a trip to Chitom, Joyabaj in Guatemala to build a new primary school as well as a septic system. Seven MSOE students and a professor from MSOE coordinated the initial project in the USA before travelling to Guatemala over their spring break vacation to begin the work. A three room school house was designed, as well as a retaining wall, bathroom facility, and a septic field. The community continued the project on their own and the school was operational in August of 2015.
Every year, students from MSOE head out to Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat in Newburg, Wisconsin to help the facility get ready to welcome community members for the summer months. MSOE has been working with Blue Lotus since 2006 and uses this spring visit to help maintain their relationship with Blue Lotus and make sure that the deck they built is well maintained. Our students often work side-by-side with owners of the retreat. It is an activity that our students look forward to all winter long!
This year, 60 MSOE students volunteered their time to lengthen a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk on the shores of the lagoon at Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center in Newburg, Wisconsin. Since 2006, approximately 1,000 MSOE students have been involved in projects at Blue Lotus. Most recently, students completed the third phase of the deck project, which extended the five-foot wide boardwalk 80 feet. The extension was made of recycled decking and was built low to the ground, with safety bumpers along the sides for visitors in wheelchairs. This long-term relationship with Blue Lotus has provided students with countless opportunities to strengthen their leadership skills while serving those in need.
Servant-Leadership at MSOE hosted the annual Milwaukee Empty Bowls event. The event uses art to heighten hunger awareness and raise funds that help provide food pantries and meal programs in Milwaukee. This year there were 300 volunteers, 33 restaurants, three bakeries and more than 2,000 attendees who raised a record $55,000 for seven charities. Servant-Leadership coordinated MSOE’s involvement of 150 student volunteers.
Students in the MSOE University Scholars Honors Program volunteered to clean up and improve Weber’s Greenhouse, a community business that donates plants to non-profits. The students collected plants helped design the community garden in the historical Harambee neighborhood.
At the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, the Residence Hall Association led an initiative to help the Hunger Taskforce. Students had the opportunity to donate extra meal swipes in exchange for canned food that would be donated. All together the MSOE community donated over $1000 in donations.
MSOE students organized a day of STEM learning events for 60 children at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. In an effort to improve the lives of children from difficult situations, the student organized various fun activities such as a toothpick bridge, craft stick catapult, and slime making station so that these children could learn more about the joys of science.
MSOE students played a key role in helping build Kayla’s Playground in Franklin, Wisconsin this past September. With guidance from Servant-Leadership at MSOE, nearly 50 students helped construct the all-abilities playground dedicated to the memory of a young girl. MSOE students were responsible for designing and installing the musical components and mural on a bridge for the playground. MSOE athletes, Circle K members, members of Sigma Lambda Chi Honors Society, and other students were servant-leaders on this project. Students took their knowledge from the classroom and applied it in this real world experience.
To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, MSOE students participated in a dedicated day of service on campus. Students from Circle K and Lambda Zeta Nu sorority took leadership roles in this event. During the weeks leading up to the event, a drive was held to collect school supplies for 100 kindergarteners at the Milwaukee Math and Science Academy. Throughout the day, students crafted appreciation cards for those serving our country, wrote inspirational notes for women battling breast cancer and organized the donated supplies. The numerous on-campus service activities made it easy for students to get involved in the celebration!
Servant-Leadership sponsored eight women from MSOE’s Chapter of Habitat for Humanity to participate in National Women Build Week in Milwaukee. The women only build was a great learning experience for our students. Students were asked to submit their desire to participate in the event on the Servant-Leadership Facebook Page. This was a great way to share their experience with the MSOE community.
Once a month a group of students select and prepare a meal for the families staying at the Milwaukee Ronald McDonald House (RMH) near Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. This ongoing Servant-Leadership activity is a great example of how the Milwaukee community benefits from the service of our students. This is also a great way for students to practice the tenet of empathy when they visit with families who are staying at RMH to be near an ill child. Since this is an ongoing activity, many students from all over campus get the opportunity to participate every year.
MSOE students worked on organizing a school supply drive for the students in kindergarten at the Milwaukee Math and Science Academy. Students were given bags with pencils, crayons, markers and other supplies to provide them the tools they need to get a good start on their education.
A group of students in a project management class demonstrated their knowledge of servant-leadership by helping SHARP Literacy get volunteers for the Kids Run to Read event. This fundraiser was held in conjunction with the Summerfest Rock-N-Sole Run. The goal of the kids run was promote literacy in the community and ultimately raised over $10,000 for this cause.
Students in a Leading Project Teams Class organized a group of volunteers to participate in the Milwaukee River Clean Up. The group was assigned their own section of the project and worked to beautify the natural environment along the Milwaukee River.
Habitat for Humanity organized three trips during Spring Break. Two groups traveled to Tennessee, while the third group traveled to Clearwater, Florida. Servant-Leaders were in charge of making travel plans, mentoring new students, planning fundraising events and supervising the day-to-day activities on-site. These trips were very successful and gave our students an opportunity to apply their architectural engineering and construction management knowledge to serve those in need.