Amy Eiden, a junior at the College of Saint Benedict, is a student leader committed to community engagement and activism. She works to inspire and engage others in civic engagement, and she thoughtfully links her service to root causes of inequity in education and in society.
As Bel Clare Activities Director at Catholic Charities in St. Cloud, Amy teaches daily lessons for bilingual grade school students, and encourages them to pursue college. She also works to connect the Special Olympics organization to the CSB/SJU community through the DIFFERbiliities Club. In this capacity, she coordinates the selection of qualified volunteers from among her peers, and works closely with those volunteers and Special Olympics athletes.
Amy also coordinates service learning opportunities for students at the College of Saint Benedict as a Core Leader for Students Today Leaders Forever. Amy helped plan a 10-day Pay It Forward Tour that incorporates service learning, buildings relationships, and self-reflection. She partners with local businesses, as well as organizations across the country in need of volunteers.
I have always enjoyed serving my community. In particular, the CSB/SJU community has uncovered three important things about myself: 1) I am an activist, 2) I am a feminist, and 3) I am a future educator. I am an activist because minorities do not have equal access; because hunger and homelessness is a social injustice that must be discussed; and, because one sexual assault is one too many. I am a feminist because old-fashioned machismo dictates gender roles in the Guatemalan and other societies today; because documentaries such as Miss Representation or The Mask You Live In speak the truth about societal pressures for both women and men; and, because I want my sister and my brother to have equality in opportunities, wages, and expectations. I am a future educator because the insurmountable achievement gap in Minnesota must be closed; because no matter where one was born, everyone has a right to be educated; and, because the students at Bel Clare Clubhouse teach me as much as I teach them every single day.
The last two-and-a-half years of volunteering have shifted my life more than the previous 18 ever could have. Prior to working in the St. Cloud community, I had a business mentality; I was an Accounting major with a special place in my heart for volunteering. Now, I have a more loving mentality, I am an Education major and Hispanic Studies minor, and I possess a fundamental inclination for helping the community. All of these traits define me. Adjusting to a new community was not easy, but with the combination of warm welcomes and bumps in the road, deep connections have been formed. Through all of my success and failure here, this community has shaped me into who I am.