Eva Danielson, a second year student at Wheaton College, is a well-regarded leader on our campus. Through her many volunteer efforts, Eva is committed to increasing volunteer involvement on campus and addressing real community needs through heavy community engagement. Eva understands the importance of taking the time to build capacity for partnerships to evolve in meaningful ways. Her energy and passion to learn more about community issues and community-identified needs on service trips inspires her peers to engage in new ways.
I have always been struck by the lack of equal access to educational opportunities in the US. I began volunteer tutoring in high school and have continued in my time at Wheaton. It felt very purposeful being able to do my small part in order to address the concerns of inequity, but came to understand helping an individual didn’t necessarily address the complex issues of why students weren’t receiving equal opportunities. I began to see that community organizing may be a more effective way to do this when first exposed as a leader in my high school and then through Wheaton’s community service groups. Although leading a group of volunteers doesn’t completely reverse cycles of inequity, I noticed changes with the volunteers I worked with. Their motivations for volunteering were all very different but their level of understanding about community issues began to change through their service experience. Being able to give my peers this opportunity to learn about our society feels more rewarding. As a result, I am a part of the team that is revamping Wheaton’s volunteer group to have more impactful and mutually beneficial engagement off-campus and provide more learning experiences for our peers.