Eight University of Wisconsin-Platteville students and two academic staff members from the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to engage in community based service. The learning project took place from April 16-20 with the goal to promote knowledge, skill development in students’ social justice leadership, cultural competency and prompt self-reflection of agency, according to UW-Platteville OMSA Advisor Jeremy Payne.
“The opportunity allowed the students to engage in a diverse community to build a sense of oneness with respect to diversity, address basic needs, combat oppression and xenophobia and build skills sets,” said Payne.
The group visited cultural sites and met with community leaders who shared their experience with social justice. “Meeting with community members was inspiring and hearing about what they wanted to accomplish instilled new motivation in my life,” said Chyna Williams, a sophomore criminal justice major, from Chicago, Illinois. “It made me feel like I could accomplish similar things. A lot of the work they do is overlooked. It was truly an honor to participate.”
The students also toured nonprofit organizations including Public Allies Twin Cities, Green Card Voices, Neighborhood House and Pillsbury United Communities. “The businesses put their emphasis on immigrant, migrant and refugee communities,” said Payne. “Our partners presented how to put social justice leadership into practice and develop functional systems that support the needs of various people.”
“The organization Green Card Voices, whose mission is to share the raw and authentic stories of immigrants, allowed me to see the world in a different way,” said Jessica Martin, a junior criminal justice major, from Green Bay, Wisconsin. “Having immigrant parents myself, it was beneficial for me to reflect upon their stories of courage and strength through a different lens. Green Card Voices enables immigrants to have a voice; their mission touched my heart.
Along with touring the businesses, the students saw cultural and social experiences unique to the Twin Cities. Students learned about environmental sustainability at U.S. Bank Stadium, while also visiting Paisley Park Studios and the Mall of America.