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Mauthe reaches out to campus, beyond

Lauren Galloway, Contributor Commentary
September 6, 2013
Filed under Life, Top Stories

Faith. Spirituality. Social justice. These are the words echoing along the walls of the Richard Mauthe Center. From letting loose with friends to meditation, the center offers a home for students of all backgrounds.

What started as a church led by the Rev. Richard Mauthe is now a community center staffed by volunteers with diverse cultures, religions, personalities and goals.

The staff members, comprised mostly of students and interns, are each involved in many programs on the local, national and international level.  Events are open to the public.

“You need to take that risk and try something new,” said Aisha Umar, a 2011 graduate with plans to attend medical school.

Umar, who moved to the U.S. from Malaysia, volunteers at the center. She hopes to open her own center one day.

The Mauthe Center hosts an array of events, including the weekly Eat Well program

Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., the Eat Well gives students an opportunity to donate their spare change for a home-cooked meal. The meal includes a salad, entrée and dessert, highlighting different cultural foods. All proceeds go to building wells to provide clean drinking water around the world. Although donations are highly appreciated, they will never turn people away.

On a personal level, the center can be a gateway for students’ ideas to flourish. It’s there if someone wants a resume building opportunity too. The staff encourages everyone to stop in.

“The best decision is to get involved here,” said Judy Thompson, an Irish international student going for her masters in social work. She said she’s seen many people come by just to check things out and then become regulars.

Thompson started as a volunteer. Now, she works fulltime as the program and marketing manager, though she said titles aren’t a big deal.

“We are all equal and do a bit of everything.” Thompson said.

Some new programs are Random Acts of Kindness, Anti-bullying campaigns and a recycled material fashion show.

Students can be on the lookout for the annual Harvest Fest. The staff will host live music, games and many activities during the event.

Thompson calls the staff the Mauthe Magic Makers because the smallest ideas can impact the community when the Mauthe team gets involved.

Both Thompson and Umar spoke of Hung Nguyen, director of the Mauthe Center.

“He never lets us fail,” Thompson said. “He’s always looking over our shoulder like Big Brother. All we need to know is when, where and what you need to get it done. Nguyen and the staff receive and use ideas from students and others in the community.”

People can use the center for work or play. The center is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.