Jenna Manders, Wartburg College
For the past three years, Jenna has worked on the executive team for our Dance Marathon to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. As a student executive with our Service Trips program, Jenna once again took a leadership role. Upon the departure of the director of the Service Trips program, Jenna, as Student Director for Service Trips, took the reins of the program until a replacement was hired six months later. During that time she was able to coordinate six service trips over Thanksgiving break and continue work on an additional 14 trips that would depart the following semester. These trips addressed social issues such as – poverty, homelessness, disaster relief, hunger, environmental awareness, refugee resettlement and Native American rights.
-Darrel Colson, President
As a student at Wartburg College, I have had the opportunity to impact many communities throughout the country – starting with my own. As a Wartburg student, I have been able to inspire other college students to give back to the college via the senior class gift and pledge, other communities via service trips, and other causes via Dance Marathon. As a co-chair for the senior class gift and pledge, I was able to stress the role that higher education plays on building a better world and encourage my peers to participate, promote, and provide in the life of the institution. On a broader scale, I have worked on the executive team for our Dance Marathon for the past three years to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. By connecting my peers with the children treated at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, I have been able to show that philanthropy can be fun and an important part of our community. In that same time, I have also found myself as a leader with our Service Trip program. As a first year student, I went to East St. Louis to work with the impoverished community. Since then, I have gained a deeper understanding of many social issues including poverty, environmental justice, asset-based community development, and affordable housing. Each trip was full of new experiences and insights gained from peers and members of the local community in which we were serving. This hands-on experience allowed me to see the root causes of issues such as poverty as we dug into the history of East St. Louis, but also ways to fix them as I learned of asset-based community development in Atlanta. Furthermore, as student director my third year, I began to better understand myself as a leader as I continued into leadership roles my senior year. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not started any of these organizations grassroots, but I have continued in the work of my predecessors and further laid the groundwork for my peers to come.