• Community Development Week Recap

    Description: Volunteer Network completed Community Development Week and had a huge success!
    Students volunteered with in the Northfield Community at the Clothes Closet, Greenvale Community School, Northfield Retirement Community, and the YMCA’s Kid’s Night Out. Additionally, VN partnered with Carleton to host speaker events and connect with students off the hill. If you are interested in getting involved with any of these community members please email Megan at bristo1@stolaf.edu Thank you to all who were involved in Community Development Week!


    Hey guys! It’s that time of year again: they are fluffy, they are friendly, and they are adorable… that’s right it is PAWS FOR FINALS. Come on by the Lion’s Pause next Wednesday from 11am-1pm to pet some lovable dogs and relieve your stress before finals (because let’s be honest, we all deserve some time to pet some dogs before finals). Get there early to pet all the dogs you can dream of because the line fills up quickly! See you then!

  • Featured VN Org: Project Friendship

    Project Friendship focuses on building self esteem and self worth in children in grades 2-7. We match these children with student mentors from Carleton College and St. Olaf College. Mentoring relationships benefit children that may be struggling with stress from their family, are new to the community, or may simply have trouble making friends at school. Most relationships last for two or more years.

    College students, who want to make a difference in the lives of children, volunteer to share one hour per week doing fun activities with their “buddy”. The student and child establish a consistent weekly meeting time, usually on the college campus and participate in informal activities, either individually or in groups. Their activities are most often informal and determined by interests, time, and energy. Group activities are also a part of Project Friendship, including seasonal group parties and activities. Most importantly, individual attention and unconditional acceptance are the corner stones of this program.

    We recently had a successful 50th anniversary celebration on May 7th! If anybody is interested in getting involved, check out projectfriendshipmentoring.org.

  • Featured VN Org: SOMOS

    SOMOS is an awareness-raising organization that aims to foster discussion about Latin American issues at St. Olaf. We hold weekly meetings in Spanish where we each bring news, personal stories, and articles on Latin America for the group to discuss. We also frequently invite professors and guest speakers to our meetings to hear about their latest research on the region. SOMOS organizes a conference each spring where the St. Olaf and Carleton communities meet to discuss a specific Latin American issue. Additionally, each semester we hold Noche de Ritmos, a Latin American dance tutorial, as well as host smaller discussion panels, student presentations, and fundraisers.

    SOMOS is the recipient of Volunteer Network’s Cage Fast fundraiser for Spring 2016. This year, SOMOS will partner with Empoderando a Latinoamérica, a youth education NGO, to raise scholarships for low-income Latin American youth to attend workshops on effective leadership for social change. SOMOS’ mission is to not only raise awareness about social issues in Latin America, but also address these issues. Through this collaboration, we hope to bring renewed energy and hope to communities all across Latin America by investing in its young leaders. Participants of this workshop will design unique community development projects that they will then implement in their home communities.

    We are very thankful for the incredible support we have received from the St. Olaf community who, in recent years, has generously provided scholarships for several participants of Empoderando a Latinoamérica.

    SOMOS welcomes new members at any time! For more information on our organization and events, please email us at:

    owner-somos@stolaf.edu or somos@stolaf.edu

    For specific information on Empoderando a Latinoamérica, please email: monque@stolaf.edu


    To learn more about the project, see St. Olaf’s webpage news article: http://wp.stolaf.edu/blog/empowering-young-leaders-to-create-social-change/

  • Featured VN Org: ROG

    Reaching Our Goals, more commonly known as ROG, is a mentoring program for middle school Latino youth from Northfield. This year we partnered with Greenvale Park (GVP) Community School to provide programming for middle school students on Tuesday nights from 6-8pm. We do small group mentoring with a few St. Olaf students and a few middle schoolers per group. We call these small groups Squads and then make #SquadGoals to reach during the semester. Their #SquadGoals include things like attending ROG regularly, finish homework assignments, getting good grades. Each Tuesday, the mentoring squads do homework together and enjoy free time activities including the clubs and offered at the community school,

    On May 3rd, we had our end of the year event on St. Olaf’s campus in the Pause. The students heard from Trio SSS Board of Leaders about what it’s like to be a first generation college student. During this time, the middle school students could ask questions about scholarships, admissions, and any other college-related questions. We also ate a TON of Pause pizza and the Squads competed in Squad Olympics (minute to win it challenges). It was a great way to wrap up the year and give the students a taste of college life, now that our program is not hosted off campus.

    If you would like to be a part of ROG and all of the fun next year, please contact:

    Maya Lehman (lehman1@stolaf.edu)

    Sarah Guezmir (guezmi1@stolaf.edu)

    Juliann Perala (perala@stolaf.edu)

  • Featured VN Org: ESL Club

    English as a Second Language Club goes to the Adult Basic Education center in Faribault once a week to help teach English to adults in the community. We help in beginning, intermediate and advanced English classes by tutoring small groups of students. The topic varies from week to week, but the skills we help teach focus on practical matters for students committed to learning English. The Adult Education program is a part of the Faribault public school district and offers classes and resources to the community without turning a single student away. It is a great opportunity to reach out in the community and make a lasting relationship with the people involved. On top of it all, we having an amazing time while helping out.

  • Featured VN Org: Nightingales

    The Nightingales Project is a mentoring program here at St. Olaf. Any female student can apply to be a mentor and be matched with a middle school girl from Northfield Middle School or Arcadia Charter School. We’re all about building new friendships and helping one another get through the school year! We have a group event every month, and mentors  are expected to plan additional activities with their mentees between those group meetings. This year as a group we have pumpkin carved, made friendship bracelets, baked and decorated cookies, written positive messages on sidewalks all over campus, and many other fun activities. We have so much fun at these group events we often forget to take pictures, but here we are at our annual pumpkin carving that happens every October. We’re looking forward to our final event of the year in a couple of weeks, and are so excited to see what next year brings.

    Mentor applications are given out every Fall, so shoot us an email or stop by at our table at the co-curric fair if you’re interested!

  • Featured VN Org: SCC

    St. Olaf Cancer Connection (a.k.a. SCC) is a service organization designed to provide cancer-related opportunities in the areas of volunteering, cancer education and awareness, outreach and fund-raising for not only the St. Olaf community, but also residents of Northfield and surrounding areas. SCC plans, organizes, and runs the Northfield area Relay For Life. This year, St. Olaf has put on a variety of events including Relay for Life, a Breast Cancer Survivor Panel, Stovember (“No Shave” November), Coaches vs. Cancer, a Holiday Gift Drive for the Children’s Hospital, and other education and outreach events.

    Relay for Life was on April 22nd from 6PM to Midnight and was filled with inspirational speakers, wacky games, and incredible musical and dance performances. Together, over 200 participants raised more than $21,000 for the American Cancer Society. This money will go to fund the American Cancer Society’s life-saving research, awareness, and outreach. We are so thankful for the support of St. Olaf and the Northfield community, as well as the hard work and dedication of our incredible volunteers!

    New members are welcome at any time! For more information about our events and how to get involved, please contact any of the presidents:

    Ellen Sutter (sutter@stolaf.edu)

    Anna Hjerpe (hjerpe@stolaf.edu)

    Lucas Groskreutz (groskrel@stolaf.edu)

    McAllister Stephens (stephenm@stolaf.edu)

  • Featured Volunteer Org: SOS

    This year has been a time of reinvention for the social work organization Serving Our Society. Along with the new leadership of Romario Smith and Emma Goodwin, these two have also worked throughout the year to pair volunteer opportunities with topics for open dialogue during meetings. Some volunteer activities SOS has arranged throughout the year are Social Work Month events, American Indian Clean Up Day, and Relay for Life. SOS hopes to finish out the year strong by offering a weekly meeting in town (location TBD) for students to engage in conversation regarding events on campus and around the world and possibly arrange a few more volunteer opportunities off campus.


  • Featured VN Org: SARN
    The Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN) is a CONFIDENTIAL source on campus. Our principal concern is making sure that survivors of sexual, relationship and emotional violence find their needs and concerns met with compassion and competence at St. Olaf College. Our two pain pillars are education and advocacy. Advocates are in the SARN office (BC 113) MondayFriday during chapel and community time and on call everyday from 8pm-8am (507-786-3777). Or if you rather put your thoughts into words beforehand or meet at another time feel free to shoot us an email at sarn@stolaf.edu. This email ONLY goes to the two co-chairs and our advisor Steve O’Neil who is the director of Boe House. 
    April is Sexual Awareness Month and we have multiple events planned! Tuesday April 19th is Yoga for Healing with Jen Grant in the Black Ballroom at 6:30p.m (Wellness Swiped). The healing process is unique for every individual and yoga is one of the many forms of healing. Join us and bring some friends for a relaxing evening. April 26th will be the Candlelight Victim Vigil at 8p.m. in Boe Chapel. This moving event honors the lives lost due to sexual violence. Our final event is the annual Survivor Panel on April 28th at 7:00pm in the Sun Ballroom (Wellness Swiped). Fellow Oles will share their stories of survival , putting into perspective how sexual assault affects our community and the importance of supporting survivors. We would love to see you at one or all of these events and are always open to hearing your concerns and thoughts!
    In addition to a month packed of events SARN is sponsoring the Caf Fast this semester! Donate your breakfast meal on Saturday April 23rd 100% of the proceeds go to HOPE Center in Faribault which aids survivors of sexual and domestic violence. HOPE Center provides the training for advocates twice a year for no cost and this is a great way a community to say thank you. Overall there are a lot of upcoming exciting things happening! The advocates are what truly make SARN so special.Two of our advocates even won Leaderships awards last week, shout out to Eleanor Worley ’16 and Connor Phelan ’16.