The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Six Issue Area Organizers to graduate

By Kayla Burchuk

Issue Area Organizer is a special part-time paid student position within the Civic Engagement Center that places students at the helm of a specific social issue. Issue Area Organizers work to promote awareness of their specific cause within the Macalester community via campus events, working with student organizations, and providing volunteer opportunities linked to that specific issue via working as a liaison between community organizations and Macalester. Six Issue Area Organizer positions will become available when organizers in Health and Wellness (Marybeth Grewe ’10), Immigrant and Refugee Resources (Heidi Evans ’10), Global Opportunities (Maria Princen ’10), College Access, Women and Gender (Linda Nguyen ’10) , and Environmental/Sustainability (Julia Tyler ’10) areas as well as the Bonner Senior Intern position (Kayla Richards ’10) graduate this spring. Hoping to attract new and dynamic job candidates by the application deadline of February 12th, some of the graduating Area Issue Organizers sat down with the Mac Weekly to discuss their experiences. TMW: What does an Issue Area Organizer do?

Marybeth Grewe : We try to make connections between the Macalester community and the Twin Cities community and we and do that a lot of different ways.
Maria Princen: Service oriented projects, volunteer opportunities, and a lot of on campus events as well as off campus event coordination.

TMW: Kayla, you serve as the student liaison for the Bonner Scholars Program, what is a Bonner Scholar?

Kayla Richards: The Bonner Scholars Program is a four-year commitment and typically is targeted towards first generation, low SES students who are coming to college who might need a little more support in terms of personal development, leadership enrichment, and the work study is a big component as well. So my job is to work with first-years and second-years as of now, which is great. It sounds cheesy, but it sort of keeps me grounded and reminds me of why I came to Macalester. I work with them making connections with off-campus opportunities, they work within public schools and then after two years they get to pick their own service project.

TMW: What sort of things do your Issue Areas include?

MG: I refer people to volunteer opportunities working with senior citizens, working with hospitals, community clinics, HIV/AIDS organizations. I’ve been involved in Mental Health Awareness Week and also World AIDS Day. I’ve worked with Face AIDS on campus and also with the Health and Wellness center

Heidi Evans : What I’ve dealt with mostly has been coordinating student groups to go and teach ESL and do tutoring and direct service with immigrants and refugees, also the policy side of immigration and immigration issues and immigration reform and the activism surrounding that.

Linda Nyugen: It isn’t really an Issue Area as much as it is a population of people. If you’re interested in women’s issues and gender issues you can have a diverse array of what area you want to go into and still work with those populations, I think there’s a lot of opportunity to do that.

Sue Xiong: I lead a group on-campus called Opportunities Abound. We coordinate campus visits for youth all over the Twin Cities who are low-income students of color. Each semester there are probably about 8-10 campus visits. Having this group and making this group grow is what I’m really pushing for. We don’t see a lot of students who are local students of color here, so that’s what I really want to push.

MP: I am certainly involved with international communities within the Twin Cities, and then also involving Macalester in this discussion of global citizenship and global topics that involve more than just the Macalester community and other organizations such as Nonviolent Peace Force , the Jane Adams School for Democracy, as well as teaching kids about global issues.

TMW: What kind of work could be done in the future in your respective areas?

KR: I think there could be a better job done trying to integrate the CEC with the larger Macalester community. I think there is something really specific about students who seek out engagement and there are a lot of students who do things on their own time at Macalester and sort of have no contact with the CEC.

MP: That’s why we’re trying to keep this application process campus wide and open to all sorts of people in an effort to bridge the kind of secluded sort of CEC world and life with the greater Macalester community.

TMW: Who would be a good candidate for these positions?

SX: Someone who is passionate about the issue of course, that’s always important.

KR: I think there are a lot of people who have done a lot of community service throughout their school trajectory or throughout their entire lives, so they know what they’re passionate about. But I think that there are students who might not know yet, and this could be a good opportunity for them to explore that. It’s extremely rewarding.

More information about the Issue Area Organizer positions is available at and through the Student Employment Website. Applications may be completed on the website through February 12.

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