UW-La Crosse helping to identify community needs

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:27 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - A group of UW-La Crosse students are helping a nonprofit organization identify the greatest areas of need in the community.

The Women’s Fund of Greater La Crosse is partnering with UWL through a community needs assessment, a confidential survey asking the public about economic, social, and health concerns.

The survey was developed by students in Assistant Professor Kristina LaPlant’s senior capstone course, who wanted to get the community’s input on a variety of different topics.

“One group of students said, well we should really analyze the impact that COVID has had on La Crosse,” LaPlant said. “Another group said, I really want to examine mental health issues in the community, another group wanted to examine homelessness.”

The results will help the Women’s Fund determine the best ways to allocate its resources when supporting the community.

UWL Community Engagement Coordinator Lisa Klein says organizations like the Women’s Fund are asking for the university’s help due to the large amount of resources available on-campus.

“Our faculty are experts in their individual disciplines, and so that knowledge can translate well into meeting with some of the community need,” Klein explained. “On top of that, those experts are training students in those professions.”

Klein says the university also wants to make students feel like they’re active members of the larger La Crosse community.

“We don’t want to be a city within a city, we are a part of the city,” Klein expressed. “We really, really want the community to feel welcome on our campus, and we want our students to feel welcome in the community.”

Organizations who wish to work with UWL on similar projects can submit proposals through the Community Idea Exchange.

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