By Jessica Thiel,
Student Intern, Professional Communications Program
Pauline Ho knows all too well the pain and discomfort cancer patients can face. Ho’s father, who is battling stage IV lung cancer, is one of many patients who uses a port to facilitate blood draws and delivery of chemotherapy.
Ho, a student in Fox Valley Technical College’s Medical Assistant program, explains that ports, which are inserted into the chest or abdomen, often lie right where a seat belt hits, creating discomfort.
When Ho came across something that would help alleviate the discomfort ports cause, she immediately knew that she wanted to help.
Ho learned that a local cancer center had distributed portal pads, which fasten to seat belts to create a cushion and alleviate friction. The pads, which someone had made and donated, were tremendously popular among patients and thus disappeared quickly.
Seeing an opportunity, Ho recruited fellow members of the Medical Assistant Student Club to help. Using money raised from selling candy bars and a rummage sale, members made dozens of portal pads as well as lap blankets to distribute to Fox Valley and Oshkosh oncology centers. The club’s act of kindness is but one example of FVTC student clubs giving back to the community.
FVTC’s Fab Lab Student Club promotes a similar dedication to service. After harnessing the power of 3-D printing to create a prosthetic hand for a young girl with a disability, the Fab Lab Club has moved on to another project, this time helping Fox Valley nonprofit organization, COTS.
Wanting to design and create a donor recognition wall, COTS, whose mission is ending homelessness in the Fox Valley, connected with Dean Sommerfeld and the Fab Lab Student Club for help.
According to Amber Price, marketing and grant coordinator for COTS, the wall, which will debut this fall, is a way to show appreciation to donors who support the organization’s mission of providing residents the comforts of home.
The wall will feature a house motif – a symbol of the organization’s dedication to provide safe, affordable housing. Club members are creating the wall’s metal backing as well as the donor recognition nameplates.
Nathan Schroeder, student president of the Fab Lab Student Club, says the club is very much geared toward community service. “We like helping out in the community,” Schroeder says. “It’s not really a job for us at all.”
While community service plays a prominent role in many of FVTC’s more than 40 student clubs, the groups also offer opportunities to network and connect socially, in addition to building critical skill sets in leadership and communications.
With events in April and May, Hmong Student Union members are collaborating with the Multicultural Club, Japanese Cultural Club and International Exchange club to celebrate Asian heritage.
The groups held campus-wide arts, talent show and food-tasting events in April. On May 5, campus and community members can experience Hmong culture, tasting authentic foods, learning about history and even trying on traditional Hmong clothing.
According to Shannon Gerke Corrigan, manager of FVTC Student Life, clubs help further the college’s mission of providing co-curricular activities for students. These opportunities are not extra but integral for students, Gerke Corrigan explains.
Students who participate in clubs are passionate about the experience, Gerke Corrigan says. The involvement, she finds, helps students reach their ultimate goal: a successful career.
Whether students seek an opportunity for community service, to build leadership and communication skills, develop professional connections or simply a chance to connect socially with peers, odds are one of FVTC’s many clubs will meet that desire.