Kelsey Michener, a junior at St. John Fisher College, has been an active student leader on campus since her first days as a member of the Fisher family. As a Service Scholar, she is required to complete 200 service hours each year. But Kelsey hasn't stopped there. Her service extends far beyond what is required of her and is part of the person she is. Kelsey serves as the vice president of clubs and organizations of the Student Government Association, as a peer mentor for first-year students, and as a captain on the Teddi Committee, which hosts an annual 24-hour dance marathon for Camp Good Days and Special Times. Last fall, Kelsey implemented a new requirement for all campus clubs and organizations to complete a minimum amount of hours volunteering for a local organization. Her passion for social justice issues and religious inequality, as well as her commitment to further ingraining civic engagement into the lives of her peers at Fisher, is contagious and effective.
I first became involved in addressing the issues of religious inequality by volunteering with the Irish Children's Program of Rochester. When I was four years old, my family hosted our first child from Belfast, Northern Ireland for a summer. Belfast has dealt with religious intolerance for years and the program is designed to bring the children out of the intolerance and teach them about tolerance. I even had the opportunity to host two girls my own age for two summers. As a host child, I began to see the importance for creating communities that are inclusive and welcoming. On campus, I ensure all clubs and organizations are feeling supported and are following all policies. One of the new initiatives I started was having clubs complete a service project each semester. This way, clubs can give back to communities in need and learn the value of service for any given community. I continue to support the Irish Children's Program and I am thankful for that introduction to service because it is a significant aspect of my life that I will carry on as I become a professional.