The Mobilizer: Premo is tops at persuading citizens to volunteer
When Sue Premo came to UW-Green Bay as a college freshman, she found people willing to listen, and in the process, she also found her own voice. It was the perfect transition into a career in which she speaks on behalf of thousands of volunteers.
Premo is the community relations director for the Volunteer Center of Brown County. She is responsible for special events that promote volunteerism and garner greater awareness of, and financial support for, the Volunteer Center.
During the recent election season, “Inside” asked her to reflect on her current career and the fact she once held elected office herself (SGA president, 1986).
“Especially in this political season, it occurs to me that volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy,” Premo says. “From the people delivering meals, to community stewards erecting buildings, volunteers ‘vote’ every day about the kind of community they want to live in.
“It’s exciting to be a part of that. I am continually amazed and honored to be part of the powerful things that volunteers do for our community.”
Premo wasn’t always so self-assured, but her University experience helped reassure her that her opinion mattered.
“I remember thinking every once in a while, ‘Hey, I’m just a girl from small-town (Adams-Friendship) Wisconsin. What are these professors and other smart people doing listening to me?’ In the end, my experience at UW-Green Bay and student government taught me that everyone has a voice, and everyone can make a difference.”
As a first-generation college student, Premo says she found UW-Green Bay to be “exciting, challenging, and a great environment for learning.”
A rare campus attack involving her roommate showed Premo just how much campus personnel cared. The chancellor immediately arranged for a group of students to participate in a ‘security walk’ to make sure areas of concern were addressed.
“I was really impressed with how seriously Dr. Weidner considered our suggestions, and many of them were enacted,” she recalls. “Later, when I became involved in Housing Council and Student Senate, I continued to be impressed that the faculty and administration listened to students and we were often able to come to agreement.”
Premo encourages all her fellow graduates of UW-Green Bay to get involved. For those living in Brown County, she’s got a great place to start: www.volunteergb.org. Volunteer opportunities throughout the state and country can be accessed at www.1-800-VOLUNTEER.