Today’s lesson: Small steps make big difference

Steps to Make a Difference WalkThe seventh annual Steps to Make a Difference Walk, Saturday, Oct. 27, organized by UW-Green Bay’s Public and Nonprofit Management Class, raised about $5,000 for four local causes.

This wasn’t your typical walk/run, according to faculty adviser Lora Warner. For one thing, the casual rather than competitive atmosphere included a crowd favorite, hot chocolate at Lambeau Cottage. About 20 student volunteers, most of whom were UWGB Civics Club members, learned how to run an event, promote it, and solicit donations.

“We also learned about the difficulty of working within the bureaucracy of a large institution like the University,” said senior Public Administration major Lance Hill. “Just getting hot chocolate at Lambeau Cottage for our participants took great effort.

“The good part was that it was a successful event and we met our fundraising goal. The real-life experience in organizing an event like this is of great benefit to both the organizations we helped and the students who participated. I much prefer learning this way as to sitting in the classroom.”

Walkers and runners negotiated a course through the arboretum that was scattered with signs containing facts about the four organizations. Each organization sent board members and executive directors to speak about their programs and missions.

Among those were Neville Public Museum’s Rolf “Wisconsin” Johnson, who promoted the 100th anniversary of the Neville coming up in 2015. The Ecumenical Partnership for Housing (EPH)’s Dave Pietenpol described the success story of a client who moved from homelessness to Habitat for Humanity Home ownership and a good paying job. Baird Creek Preservation Foundation’s Maureen Meinhardt discussed new developments at the Preserve, including mountain bike trails. Director of Hand-N-Hand, Jenny Geiken, described how a UW-Green Bay student, now on the Civics Club planning team, was once a child participating in Hand-N-Hand of Northeastern Wisconsin — an organization that supports children who are deaf or hard of hearing (ages birth to five) and their families.

The walk received large participation from the College of Menominee Nation, the Preble and UWGB Optimist Clubs, Hand-N-Hand families, EPH supporters, and UWGB Public Administration faculty and students. Warner’s husband, Steve, was the “sign guy.”

— Photos by student volunteer Emily Hlava and UWGB faculty member John Stoll.

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