By Angela McManaman
The year 2016 has been an important one for the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. It’s the year that UWM earned a prestigious “top research university” designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It’s the year that UWM revealed plans to become a Hispanic- Serving Institution to enroll and educate Wisconsin’s fastest-growing population of college-aged students.
And, 2016 is the year that UWM celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Its official birthday was Sept. 25, 2016, but the university will keep the celebration going for the entire academic year with a “60,000 Hour Challenge.” Everyone with an official UWM connection is welcome to participate – students and staff, faculty and alumni.
UWM students already complete about 50,000 hours of service yearly in Milwaukee. They just need help accumulating an additional 10,000-15,000 hours of service in food pantries, shelters for the homeless, K-12 classrooms, beach cleanups, voter-registration drives and other acts of volunteerism.
Chancellor Mark Mone says the 60,000 Hour Challenge is a way for UWM to give thanks to its hometown – for six decades of service, support and partnership – by giving back.
“There are many ways to participate in commemorating UWM’s six decades of education, research and community engagement,” Mone said.
“Recognizing and celebrating where we came from strengthens the resolve for where we are going. And we will continue working and serving with our nonprofit partners across Milwaukee,” Mone said. “Service to Milwaukee doesn’t just make our city stronger, but it provides research and relationship-building opportunities that we all can learn from.”
The 60,000 Hour Challenge is coordinated by the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, & Research at UWM. Service hours are being tracked on an easy-to-use website, uwm.edu/60thanniversary/challenge.
Organizers say that they’ll be pleased if UWM meets its goal, but they believe it’s possible – and they are aiming for it – for the campus community to exceed 60,000 hours. Students, faculty, staff and alumni have already logged 5,000 hours, and the contest continues through May 2017.
“Many UWM students, faculty and staff volunteer week after week, year after year, logging a few hours a month,” said Laurie Marks, director of the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, & Research and a UWM alumna.
“This happens at hundreds of nonprofit agencies that address issues related to poverty, youth, the arts, health, social justice and more,” Marks said. “Their impact, hour-by-hour each week, is profound when you think about the collective, and I think it’s possible for us to exceed 60,000 hours if we can tap into our alumni base. Many of them are already volunteering here in Milwaukee. Now they can easily add their hours to the challenge using the online form.”
If you’re a UWM student or alum, professor or staff member, and you haven’t logged any service hours yet, please visit The 60,000 Hour Challenge webpage. To learn more about UWM’s 60th anniversary and related events, please visit uwm.edu/60thanniversary.