Making a Difference Together
“NWU has given me the skills and resources necessary to get involved in the community, and the confidence to take initiative and start serving others.”
—Alexis Ortega (’22)
Service and philanthropic involvement are core to the Nebraska Wesleyan community. NWU defines itself as a learning community whose members respect the dignity and worth of all members of the university and who seek opportunities to serve the wider human community. Because of this commitment, NWU facilitates philanthropic and service opportunities for every student. “NWU sets the service mentality by having incoming students start off doing a service day in the first week they are on campus,” said senior Alexis Ortega, referencing Lend a Hand to Lincoln. “This sets the tone for the rest of their four years.”
"Being a student here has shown me the joy of providing service."
During our upcoming Philanthropy Week, we’re highlighting the servant-leaders in our student body. Our students embody the spirit of philanthropy in many different ways on and off campus. They hold leadership positions in on-campus clubs, serve and fundraise on behalf of local nonprofits, and represent NWU abroad through global service opportunities. As we gear up for a week of celebrating service and connecting like-minded members of our community, let’s take a look at a few students who embody NWU’s core value of community.
Maddy Perry (’23) is deeply involved on campus. As a member of Wesleyan Entertainment Board (WEB), Intersectionality Resource Center (IRC), Homecoming Committee and Willard Sorority, Maddy has jumped into NWU’s philanthropic ventures. “NWU provides a lot of service opportunities to its students,” said Maddy, who also serves as a Prairie Wolves Welcome Leader and Admissions Ambassador. “Being a student here has shown me the joy of providing service. NWU has helped me understand that service is not a dreadful task; it is a chance to bring your community together. Service means giving back to your community and spreading love and appreciation so those in your community feel a sense of belonging.” Maddy and students like her help make NWU an inclusive space where all can belong and thrive.
While students have ample opportunities to engage in service on campus, many are also involved in philanthropy throughout the Lincoln community—as an extension of an NWU position or directly through local organizations. Alexis Ortega (’22) is a prime example of a student whose engagement on campus has made a broader impact. As the former Service and Philanthropy Chair for Theta Chi Fraternity, current Vice President of Philanthropy for Interfraternity Council (IFC) and 2022 recipient of the Most Philanthropic and Most Value Oriented Greek Member awards, Alexis’s work bridges the gap from campus to community. In his IFC role, Alexis has coordinated events to fundraise for local causes like the Malone Center, Voices of Hope and Movember. Additionally, Alexis gives of his own time weekly for Clinic with a Heart and Meals on Wheels. Through Greek-affiliated philanthropy and off-campus service, Alexis makes a difference in our community. “When you are doing some type of philanthropy or service, you can really feel the impact, and it’s truly one of the most rewarding feelings.”
"NWU has prepared me to serve others by providing me with the confidence and the communication skills to be an effective and organized leader."
Ann Truka (’22) applies the skills they have developed on campus to support the Lincoln community. “I think NWU has prepared me to serve others by providing me with the confidence and the communication skills to be an effective and organized leader. I’ve grown so much during my time here at Wesleyan. I want to pass on my gratitude in the form of giving back to my community and the organizations that have done so much for me.” Off campus, Ann works as a teaching artist for Branching Outward, a program supported by local arts and culture nonprofit BLIXT, where Ann is also a playwriting fellow. Branching Outward is a for-youth-by-youth program designed to help elementary and middle schoolers connect planting a garden with developing community relationships and setting goals. “I see the kids get excited to clean up their school garden, and the quiet students feel like they can open up.” Ann also organizes and performs in drag shows in the region. “I’m most proud of my benefit shows because I really wanted to raise money for a nonprofit directly tied to Lincoln. I saw the impact when I met the founder of Food Fort to make the donation of the money raised. She was so grateful, and Food Fort is awesome because it provides food and community support for kids in under-resourced neighborhoods here in Lincoln.”
Service opportunities that start with students on campus can also have an international reach. Said Mendez (’22) is a member of Global Service Learning (GSL), a selective student organization focused on building a global community through local, national and international service. In addition to GSL, Said spent a portion of summer 2021 interning and serving at a sports physical therapy clinic in San Jose, Costa Rica. These experiences have shaped Said’s college experience and have broadened his horizons: “NWU has provided me with many different perspectives that have fostered new ideas to help build my community and future communities.”
"We can make a much bigger difference together."
NWU students are already philanthropists. In giving of their time and talent to causes on campus, in the Lincoln community and around the world, current P-Wolves live up to the university’s core value of community. We are stronger when we work together. Alexis exemplifies the goal of service and philanthropic leadership: “I’m most proud of just how many people I’ve been able to help get involved. Through my various leadership positions, I’ve helped organize events where we’ve done service or supported a philanthropic cause as a group. I think bringing the campus or community together is really a powerful thing. We can make a much bigger difference together.”
NWU’s first-ever Philanthropy Week includes:
Tuesday, April 19: Student Philanthropy Fair
Wednesday, April 20: Dine out for NWU at Runza (56th & Holdredge location)
Thursday, April 21: NWU’s sixth annual Giving Day
Friday, April 22: Scoop on Philanthropy with Tropical Sno
And don’t forget to make a gift on Giving Day!
Story by Kennedy Berreckman (’23)