At the end of the fall 2012 semester, five students came together to found the group Wildcats Serving Others as a way to give back to the community.
“We are a new group focused on community service,” said Jordan Surgnier, president of WSO and sophomore in biology. “We are a group that doesn’t just focus on one kind of community service. When we get new members, we ask what they are passionate about. We want our members to be passionate about the community service they are providing to the community.”
Hayley Finch, publicist of WSO and junior in elementary education, said there are student organizations that focus exclusively on just serving the K-State campus. Finch said this is not one of those groups.
“We are a group of students who wanted to get involved in our community, by serving our community,” Finch said. “This group is one that is passionate about so many different areas of community service — we all bring something to the table about how we want to serve the community.”
Finch said one of the most difficult things about doing community service by yourself is that it is hard to hold yourself accountable. Ashley Schwagerl, vice president of WSO and sophomore in hotel and restaurant management, said she loves to volunteer but finds it more difficult to do alone.
“I love doing community service,” Schwagerl said. “I love finding places to volunteer. Nothing can beat the gratification I get from doing community service. I’ve done it before and I wanted to continue to do it in college. It’s a part of who I am.”
Andrea Schwagerl, secretary of WSO and junior in life sciences, said community service is intrinsically valuable. She said she has always wanted to leave positive impacts behind, especially after she graduates from K-State. WSO is a way for her to do that.
“I love the feeling of knowing I have helped someone. This group is going to allow me to help many more people,” said Katie Boreas, treasurer of WSO and freshman in animal science.
Boreas said she hopes people who join WSO will experience personal growth. Boreas said she hopes that members who join the group because they are required to volunteer will change their mindset and actually want to do community service.
“This group will help improve the lives of others, first and foremost, as well as grow as individuals,” Boreas said.
Finch said volunteer work is a meaningful part of the college experience.
“College and the schooling you receive here is a part of what you take with you once you graduate,” Finch said. “I see volunteer work and community service as a part of that schooling. It’s something I want to take with me when I graduate.”
Echoed by all members who were interviewed was the hope that WSO is able to make a considerable difference on the K-State campus and in the Manhattan community. They said they want to make sure the members of WSO make a difference in the community because they genuinely care, not just because they need community service hours.
“We as an organization want to go above and beyond what is expected of us, as well as making it interesting and fun,” Finch said. “We want it to be refreshing for members. Refreshing to work on our own character. Refreshing for new members to give back to the community they learn, work and live in. And refreshing to the people we surprise with service too.”
WSO meets every Monday at 7:45 p.m. in the Leadership Studies Building room 113.