Jana Murphy has been engaged at Mount Wachusett Community College since her first semester serving as an S.O.S. (Students Serving Our Students) Peer Mentor, member of the Parents Support Club, a 2015-2016 Student Leader in Civic Engagement and soon to be two time participant in the MWCC International Service Trip to Costa Rica. In addition, Jana is now serving a term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA* dedicated to increasing student volunteerism in relation to hunger through a partnership with the Gardner Community Action Committee. In this capacity, she coordinated the United Way Day of Caring where over 44,000 meals were packaged by MWCC student, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers, beating all previous records. These meals were distributed to area food banks and our own students in need. But for Jana, this was not enough. She is currently working on a proposal to create a food bank at MWCC to provide hunger alleviation in an effort to allow students to then address the root causes of their hunger and become more food secure. Working in collaborating with community partners, she is exploring the social justice issues behind food insecurity and working hard to eliminate that barrier to educational success.
Over the last few years community involvement has become an important part of my life. One of the first groups I joined was the SOS mentor program. Through SOS, I had the opportunity to help other students find success. Helping others has been a privilege and improved my life immeasurably. The struggles I saw among my fellow classmates opened my eyes to issues of poverty and hunger right here on campus. By signing on for a year of national service as a *VISTA, I hope to alleviate some of the hunger issues I have seen and create a long-term sustainable solution that speaks to not just the immediate needs of students, but to the root causes of hunger on campus and in our community. There is no better feeling than assisting others who are going through some of the same things that you went through yourself. Working in the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement at MWCC has been wonderful for me and it helped me discover how important and rewarding it is to help others. This has made me a much happier and more fulfilled person and I am forever grateful for that.