The Advance-Titan

Students volunteer in the Oshkosh community

Laura Dickinson

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Zeta Tau Alpha members Kerry Bolduc and Brittany Mchalzky work together to relocate prairie plants to behind the tennis court.Alicia Kahl | The Advance-Titan

Zeta Tau Alpha members Kerry Bolduc and Brittany Mchalzky work together to relocate prairie plants to behind the tennis court.

Kayla Baumann plants her prairie plant as part of Hands on Oshkosh.Alicia Kahl | The Advance-Titan

Kayla Baumann plants her prairie plant as part of Hands on Oshkosh.

UW Oshkosh students volunteered around the community for the 19th semi-annual Hands on Oshkosh, which helps out various local organizations and businesses.

There were 15 different locations throughout Oshkosh for the more than 150 student volunteers to help out at on Saturday.

One of the locations was on UWO campus, where volunteers relocated the prairie garden stretching between Kolf and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

The prairie is being moved behind the tennis courts on campus due to the recent concern of students walking back from the Rec Center at night, UWO Grounds Department Supervisor Lisa Mick said.

“The prairie grows very tall in the summer and fall months,” Mick said. “When students are walking back at night from the Rec Center, some are afraid that there might be someone they can’t see on the other side of the prairie. This has created a safety risk for these students.”

UWO freshman and Zeta Tau Alpha member Ciara Trunnell said relocating the prairie instead of just disposing it will keep everyone at UWO safe while keeping the campus beautiful.

“We are taking plants by the rec and we are moving [them] to the other side of the tennis courts because they have been raised as a safety issue,” Trunnell said. “We are brightening up the ecosystem here while possibly saving people from things they wouldn’t want to be involved in.”

Mick said she was approached about a month ago and asked if she wanted to receive volunteers for Hands on Oshkosh.

“I was in a sustainability meeting, and one of the students in the meeting brought up that Hands on Oshkosh was coming up and that they would be able to help us out if we wanted volunteers, and I happily agreed,” Mick said.

Sophomore Margot Elliott sorts through the wheelbarrow full of prairie plants the volunteers dug up from the sidewalk by Kolf and the Student Rec Center.Alicia Kahl | The Advance-Titan

Sophomore Margot Elliott sorts through the wheelbarrow full of prairie plants the volunteers dug up from the sidewalk by Kolf and the Student Rec Center.

Alicia Kahl | The Advance-Titan

Mick said the volunteers with Hands on Oshkosh helped her and her crew with the long relocation process.

“I am so thankful for the student population at UWO,” Mick said. “This would have taken my crew, almost a week and half to move all these plants over, and we are able to finish this project in two and half hours.”

UWO freshman Annette Ehmke said she helps out with Hands on Oshkosh to give her a ambitious edge registering for her program.

“I am applying for the nursing program, and it is quite competitive,” Ehmke said. “Hands on Oshkosh is a great way to get those volunteer hours in, and, I mean, it is in the Oshkosh community, and it impacts where I am living for the next three years and where I plan to do my clinical and live.”

Trunnell said she and her sorority sisters volunteered together as a way to satisfy their volunteering hours for Zeta Tau Alpha.

“Every semester we have to get in ten hours of service and this is a great way to get involved with the community and the campus and get out there, and on a Saturday morning it’s better than just sitting around,” Trunnell said. “Volunteering has just been a huge part of my life growing up. I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Project Angel Hugs, so this is just another way to get the volunteering in.”

Trunnell said she hopes that more students at UWO will volunteer for the next Hands on Oshkosh.

“It’s such a great experience overall,” Trunnell said. “You are out in the sun, not sitting in a dark dorm room. You are out talking, making new friends, and it’s not like it’s back breaking work.”

Alicia Kahl | The Advance-Titan
Alicia Kahl | The Advance-Titan

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