Sociology alumna Madilyne Wegener ’17 and Emily Herne ’17 are continuing their commitment to change through a year of service as AmeriCorps VISTAs in Duluth, Minnesota.
Wegener and Herne were co-presidents from 2015-2017 of the sociology-based club, Students Organized for Change (SOC Club). They each earned a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology.
“The Sociology Department at St. Cloud State, and the work I was able to do with Students Organized for Change, has been integral to my success as an AmeriCorps VISTA,” Wegener said. “I use the knowledge and skills I learned in my sociology classes related to research, policy, and community organizing on a daily basis at the non-profit I am serving with in Duluth.”
“Additionally, the leadership opportunities I was able to utilize through SOC Club and the Applied Sociology Internship Program not only helped to foster my love for community service, but also gave me the necessary experience and skills to really excel in my future career,” Wegener said.
“I cannot emphasize enough how happy I am with my undergraduate experience at SCSU as an Applied Sociology major, and as a co-chair of Students Organized for Change,” she said.
AmeriCorps VISTA is a branch of AmeriCorps that brings full-time volunteers to nonprofits and local government agencies. The goal is to eliminate poverty in the United States.
AmeriCorps VISTA workers complete a minimum of 1,800 hours of service during a year of service. They are compensated below the poverty line at less than $1,000 per month. This makes life challenging because they can spend 40-50 percent of their monthly income on rent and utilities. The 2018 federal poverty line for an individual is $1,011 a month, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
The Ecolibrium3 Resilience Corps VISTA cohort are transforming a condemned property into an affordable housing option in Duluth’s lowest-income neighborhood, Lincoln Park. As construction season starts, funds are going fast. Consider donating to the project.