Stories of Learning and Community Engagement

Winona State University's civically engaged students create a positive impact measured in each of the lives they touch through service to the community. Developing community engagement intelligence alongside academic excellence defines the Winona State University community culture. Students and faculty, through academic course work, clubs, teams and individuals, provide over 180,000 hours of service each year to the Winona Community. These hours find students working to:
  • Stop domestic violence
  • Support public parks and community centers
  • Share in enhancing the Winona community through a "we are better together" lens.

Each and every one of those thousands of hours begins a ripple effect. A person engaged by a student may find a love of the arts, a new way to cope, a new love or understanding for importance of life-long wellness, or a passion to care for our environment. That ripple effect will impact our children’s children, and no matter what statistics or data we collect, the full impact of each ripple can only be realized by those affected. The students themselves will likely never see how the work done as a student at this university changed the lives of so many.

Evidence of a Community Working Together

Although this story does not fully encompass the importance of the civically engaged work of Winona State students and the University, it does begin to paint a picture of what it means to be a true community, and what it means to be part of a "Community of Learners Improving Our World."

Sometimes, students bring civic engagement onto the WSU campus. In February 2014, Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Science students helped cancer patients begin the road to recovery by providing individualized exercise programs in the Integrated Wellness Center. Annual campus events such as The Vagina Monologues and Take Back the Night gather students and community members alike to raise awareness for gender based violence, support for sexual assault victims and donate to the Women's Resource Center of Winona.  

However, students often go beyond campus in their efforts to help their community. Warrior athletes, busy as they are with practices and academics, volunteer an average of 55 hours through 90 groups and organizations. 


A partnership between the Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation Department and Winona Park & Recreation provides students opportunities to engage in the Winona community as camp counselors, youth sports coaches and facility supervisors. For students, their volunteer service is personally rewarding while also valuable to the community. 


Students' sense of community also extends beyond the Winona area and even beyond American borders. In 2011, students spent 12 days in San Juan, Argentina serving in an elementary/middle school, following in the footsteps of Winona State graduates of 150 years ago. This experience had a positive impact on the Argentinian school to be sure, but it also inspired students to view a career in teaching as a vocation to improve the world.