Volunteer opportunities lead to a focused future

Amanda LuesmannA commitment to community service and helping others has always been an integral part of the Aurora University identity. And service projects have become an increasingly visible part of student life. As AU students discover what matters most to them, they are building lives around character, scholarship and a desire to make a difference. For senior mathematics and secondary education major Amanda Luesmann, this is certainly true.

As a member of the Advent Christian Church of the Highlands in La Grange, Ill., Luesmann grew up learning about Aurora University and always felt a deep connection to the campus. And when it came time for her to make a college decision, it was a simple choice.

“I knew Aurora University was the perfect fit. I wanted to spend time giving back to the community, and I can do that here,” Luesmann said. “I discovered the Wackerlin Center after I attended the first Morning of Service my freshman year. I knew immediately that it would be a place where I could explore my beliefs and grow.”

As the hub for campus ministries, community service and leadership studies, the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action provides a space where students can explore their core convictions, while encouraging them to find meaning for their lives and careers through serving, leading and believing.

Amanda Luesmann, Candlelight VigilLuesmann has spent the past three years participating in a variety of events and organizing several of the center’s gatherings. “A highlight of my college experience was planning a candlelight vigil for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks,” she said. “It touched me to be able to put together an event that helped so many people through a difficult day.”

Luesmann also has been a member of several on-campus organizations, including the AU Students’ Association and the women’s soccer team. And she always finds time to give back to the community around her. In addition to her work with the Wackerlin Center, she has volunteered at area organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry and Illinois Youth Center–St. Charles.

“Service helped me find what matters in my life, both personally and professionally,” said Luesmann. “Without this experience, I would not have grown as much as an individual or leader. I came to college wanting to teach high school mathematics, but after volunteering, I realized that I want to help college-aged students find meaning in their lives and discover what they can do with their passions. I plan to attend graduate school to study mathematics so that I can one day teach at the university level.”

Now in her senior year, Luesmann says it is amazing to look back at the center’s growth and see the strong foundation it has built within the campus community.

“The center has been my second home and played an important role in my life,” she said. “I was honored to attend the Wackerlin Center Addition Dedication Ceremony during Homecoming Weekend and be there as the center opened its doors to the next chapter. I look forward to the future when I can visit campus and see how this wonderful space is being used to continue to impact the lives of AU students.”