BVU Students Attend Civic Engagement Conference


Photo Courtesy of Ashley Farmer-Hanson

Ella Wiebusch, News Editor

Every year, the Iowa Campus Compact puts on a conference at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, for schools in the Midwest area. The primary goal is to advance the public purpose of these universities by deepening their abilities to improve community life, as well as educating these students on civic and social responsibility.  

This year, students from Buena Vista University who are members of Student MOVE (Mobilizing Outreach and Volunteer Efforts) attended, as well as Education for Service Scholars. In general, schools that were a part of Campus Compact in Iowa and Minnesota as well as Americorps members were present. Students learned the meaning of civic engagement, shaped their own ideas of service, and engaged with other students to develop goals. 

When they arrived on Friday, students attended two sessions on civic engagement and then listened to keynote speaker Mike Draper, owner of Raygun. On Saturday, a group wide session was held regarding how to discover a personal sense of civic purpose. Following this, the second keynote speaker, Nancy Mwirotsi, spoke about “How to help by really listening.” Two final sessions rounded out the weekend. 

The BVU students that attended were Kathryn Tyykila, Hannah Reno, Amanda Miley, Wava Jarr, and Aubrey Anderson. This group was also accompanied by the Education for Scholars students along with Tawney Schreier, Ashley Farmer-Hanson, and Elizabeth Multerer. 

BVU senior Americorps member and Student MOVE leader Amanda Miley believes she benefited from this event. 

“Civic engagement for me is about education and action. As community members we need to be educated on all of the issues and injustices that our members are facing and not just ourselves,” said Miley. “We also need to do our part to work with organizations, local government, and people to create solutions and change in our communities.” 

Fellow classmate and senior Aubrey Anderson also attended the conference and shared that Student MOVE led a presentation during one of the sessions focusing on how to merge service passions that you have with the career path you are on. They examined how service has many facets and how students can use academic education and future career skills to serve their community in numerous ways.  

“I am very glad that I got to attend this conference. I learned about food security/food deserts, and better ways to communicate with volunteers so that they can understand why they are volunteering and the difference they are making,” said Anderson. “We can all make a difference; I just think some people need to realize how broad volunteerism spreads. No matter how large or small, we can change the world for the better. We simply need to step up and do it.” 

Miley helped shed a light on the key takeaways from the conference.  

“There are many ways that we can serve in a community. Service or action that is taken has to come from a community focus or it can be highly detrimental to that area. Any idea, any passion, and any person can create change and impact a community using the skills and interests they have,” Miley explains. 

Miley hopes to implement many things here on campus. Primarily, she feels that there are many ways that BV can work with the Storm Lake community better. By getting people involved and communicating with others, Miley expressed that she would love to create a series that helps to educate, advocate, and lead BVU in service to help the community around them. 

“I think the main thing is to be apart of your community. When I say this I don’t mean live there and get to know your neighbors, but so much more,” said Miley. “Know the diversity that surrounds you and the issues people face and what you can do to make a difference. Change has many pathways from voting, helping at shelters, using your privilege, and using your skills to benefit others.”