Elon Community Champions honored
Top Elon Volunteers! students recognized by Proponent Federal Credit Union
By Caitlin O’Donnell ‘13
Proponent Federal Credit Union honored Elon student leaders as Community Champions at an April 25 ceremony, in partnership with the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. The award, which was given for the first time last year, recognized members of Elon Volunteers!, a student-run organization active in service both on campus and in the community.
“Proponent is proud to be a part of Elon University and the sponsor of the Community Champions Award,” said Marty Stadler, account executive at Proponent Federal Credit Union. “We highly regard the students who have unselfishly given their time, talents and abilities to make the world a better place.”
EV! leaders work in a variety of capacities to engage their peers in service and address local community needs. Students serve in many different positions that range from coordinating logistics for service trips, working with community partners to provide volunteer opportunities, and raising awareness about local and global issues.
These are some of the award winners who were honored at Elon home athletics events during the basketball and football seasons through the sponsorship of Proponent Federal Credit Union.
Jared Allen ’13, Whitney Ballbach ‘14, Sandra Flores ’15, Lauren Hoerr ’13, Anthony Pratt ’13 – Alternative Breaks
Allen, Ballbach, Flores, Hoerr and Pratt serve as Alternative Break coordinators.
Pratt and Hoerr coordinate the trip to Turtle Island, N.C., which focuses on an environmentally sustainable nature preserve. Allen and Flores serve as co-coordinators for the alternative spring break trip to Honduras, which focuses on poverty and the experiences of Honduran street children. Ballbach is a co-coordinator for the alternative spring break trip to Jamaica, which focuses on the issues of rural education and poverty. Coordinators of Alternative Break trips work together to select participants and advisors, plan logistics and facilitate reflections and service projects throughout the week.
Emily Kane ’13 – Oxfam
Kane leads Elon’s Oxfam Awareness Program. Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries to find solutions to poverty and injustice. Kane works directly with Elon volunteers to increase student awareness of the issues Oxfam is working to eliminate.
Sally Spurr ’13 and Grace Troccoli ’14– Special Olympics
Troccoli and Spurr coordinate events year-round for Special Olympics athletes in Alamance County. Special Olympics is a national organization that offers women, men and children with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to train and compete in Olympic-style sports.
John Anderson ’14 and Rachel Lewis ’15 – National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
Lewis and Anderson coordinate Elon’s National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which offers multiple service events and opportunities on and off campus to enable students to fight food and housing insecurity in the Elon community and beyond. The event, which takes place at several schools and communities, is part of a larger nationwide effort to promote education, action, and awareness about hunger and homelessness.
Rachel Fishman ’15, Rachel Gilman ’15 and Cat Palmer ‘15 – Service Learning Leaders
Fishman, Gilman and Palmer serve as leaders of the Service Learning Community, the university’s oldest learning community, comprised of first-year students who share a common interest in service. The trio collaborates to plan and facilitate service events and reflection for the members of the learning community.
Lauren Berk ’15 and Katie Salerno ’13 – Invisible Children
Berk and Salerno lead Elon’s chapter of Invisible Children, which uses film, creativity and social media to address issues in Central Africa. Efforts specifically address the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore communities that have been affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Elon Volunteers! Executive Board
The executive board of Elon Volunteers! is comprised of 18 interns and directors who oversee various aspects of the organization. They coordinate to develop strategic plans and goals to ensure all EV! leaders have access to the resources and support they need.
Jennifer McLean ‘13 and Carrie Shropshire ‘14 – EU-CERT
McLean and Shropshire coordinate CERT, Elon’s Community Emergency Response Team, a group that works with the local fire department, police department and campus security to assist in emergency events. EU-CERT is on call daily, and could be called to respond to an emergency at any time.
Frances Hamilton ‘13 – Safe Rides
Hamilton serves as the director of Safe Rides, a student-run organization that provides rides to students Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to prevent students from driving while intoxicated. Hamilton oversees Safe Ride coordinators who organize logistics, manage volunteers and maintain the vehicles used each weekend.
Devon Clark ‘13 and Omolay Ojo ’15 - Avalon
Ojo and Clark coordinate Avalon, a campus organization designed to provide volunteers for the Avalon Community Center, a Greensboro refugee center. The coordinators organize carpools for volunteers and assist individuals going through the citizenship process.
Anna Lee Crenshaw ‘13, Meghan Fackler ‘14 and Emily Hines ’15 – EV! Public Relations Team
Crenshaw, Fackler and Hines coordinate public relations for Elon Volunteers!, with each working to promote a specific program within the organization. The trio helps spread information about EV! events, programs and leadership of opportunities through a variety of media at Elon.
Lizzy Appleby ‘13, Will Brummett ’13 and Jessica Elizondo ’13 - EV! Interns
Appleby, Brummett and Elizondo serve as interns for Elon Volunteers!, working closely with student directors and professional staff members to ensure leaders have resources and support to sustain and improve each program area. They focus on communication and morale; outreach and collaboration; and leadership and development
Marissa Wertheimer ’14 and Mary Young ‘15 – Share
Wertheimer and Young co-coordinate SHARE, a program focused on serving the animals of the community at the local animal shelter. Each week students volunteer at the shelter to improve the lives of animals. The organization also hosts the annual Animal Awareness Week to educate Elon students about animal rights.
Lindsay Swenson ‘13– Campus Kitchen
Swenson serves as director for Elon University’s Campus Kitchen program. She works with the Campus Kitchen student leadership team to collect unused and unserved food from campus and community partners to repackage and distribute among local food banks. Her team also recruits other students, faculty and staff to volunteer to prepare and deliver meals to those in need in the Burlington team. She is also a member of the EV! Executive Board.
Elissa Krapf ‘14– EV! Awareness
Krapf serves as the director of Elon Volunteers! Awareness, for which she works closely with coordinators of EV! programs including Sierra Club, Oxfam, Invisible Children and Amnesty International. Each program strives to raise awareness and educate Elon students about social issues that impact communities globally. She also is a member of the EV! Executive Board.
Caitlin Jones ’15 and Taylor Whiting ’13 – Best Buddies
Jones and Whiting launched Best Buddies at Elon in Spring 2012, an international organization that gives opportunities for one-on-one relations for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is currently one of three college chapters in North Carolina. Elon’s branch of Best Buddies works with Alamance Community College’s Career College to create events designed to connect people with disabilities with Elon students.
Cristina Dicostanzo ’13 and Caroline McSwain ‘13– Linking Generations
Dicostanzo and McSwain lead Linking Generations, which brings together senior citizens and college students to interact more frequently. Students volunteer at Blakely Hall, a local assisted living community.
Catherine Bell ‘13 and Samantha Murray ‘15 - Stop Hunger Now
Bell and Murray led Elon’s annual Stop Hunger Now event. Volunteers assisted in packaging food that will be provided to hundreds of people across the world.