Alum returns to give back to Lewisburg community through Americorp

The Office of Civic Engagement hopes to bridge the gap between campus and Lewisburg

Megan Hays, Staff Writer

AmeriCorps is a non-profit service organization devoted to “getting things done” for America through commitment of time and skills. Jon Hunsberger ’16 returned to the University this year to work for Americorps through the Office of Civic Engagement, inspired to stay on campus during his gap year before graduate school.

“It’s fun to be back on campus and in a different role, one much less focused on academics and more on engaging with the community,” Hunsberger said.

Hunsberger is currently working on a service project dedicated to maintaining an after school program for young children in the Lewisburg community from two housing developments, Essex Place and Meadow View. The children are from low-income housing and do not have many of the same opportunities that their fellow classmates have.

Hunsberger and other University students attend Essex Place every Monday and Wednesday, and Meadow View every Tuesday and Thursday. The children and volunteers typically spend the first 30 minutes doing homework, and the remaining hour playing games and doing activities. Hunsberger and his team are passionate about being role models for the children, supporting them, and striving to create more opportunities for them.

Although Hunsberger is not sure where his employment path will take him, he recognizes the great reward that has come from his time working with children.

“I’m not necessarily saying that I will end up in a first-grade classroom, teaching kids, but it’s definitely in the realm of possibilities now, whereas it was not in my line of sight at all before,” Hunsberger said.

He emphasizes the importance of the Office of Civic Engagement, as it can serve as a “hub” for service work. Students and staff can come and advertise their own ideas for service, and find ways to get involved.

“You will see the work that is being done to bridge the gap between Bucknell and the Lewisburg community — noticing what has already been achieved and what still is lacking. We’re already making progress, but there is an immense amount of untapped potential in the Bucknell community — I’d like to see that change,” Hunsberger said.

Melody Sonnemann ’18, who works as the Social Media Intern in the Office of Civic Engagement, also commented on the importance of AmeriCorps.

“AmeriCorps projects connect students with the surrounding communities, allowing them to gain new skills and perspectives, and most importantly, to aid those around us,” Sonnemann said.

Students who are interested in doing service work can contact Hunsberger or the Office of Civic Engagement.

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