University Relations

Community Engagement Scholars Program:

Integrative Community Engagement Project (ICEP)

Gina Bussman

May 2013
Major: Political Science
Minor: Social Justice

Volunteer Organizations: The Project: Gina created a volunteer manual for Casa de Esperanza. When she started volunteering there, she felt like she was just thrown in and expected to learn as she went. Her manual provides volunteers with guidelines that they can follow if they ever get "stuck" during a particular case. For example, if the volunteer is there by herself and there is a woman that needs to know where she can find a free clinic for her children, the manual will guide that volunteer so she can help the visitor efficiently.

Challenges: Gina struggled most with deciding on what type of project she wanted to do. She not only had to consider what she wanted to do, but also what the organization needed and whether the project would be sustainable. She was struggling between doing a project related to health care (which is the field that she wants to go into) or doing something smaller like the volunteer manual that they really could use a hand with.

Student Development Outcomes: Making the manual helped Gina expand her critical thinking skills by connecting the things she learned in the classroom with what she experienced while serving her community. It also made Gina realize what it means to be a citizen of a community and the responsibilities that come with being a member of a community.

Words of wisdom: "Realize that in order for a project to be meaningful, it doesn't have to be huge. I chose a project that the organization really needed and I'm happy knowing that I have contributed my little grain of sand to make their lives a little bit easier."

What She's Up to Now: Currently, Gina is seeking volunteer opportunities at Physicians for a National Health Program. Her experience in the Scholars Program has definitely influenced her decision to continue community work. The program helped her realize that she needs to use her privilege to her part in the community.