Not many college campuses offer intergenerational housing opportunities for students, but Marquette offers this opportunity through St. Camillus.
St. Camillus is offering a new opportunity this year, offering Marquette students off-campus housing in exchange for weekly volunteer work.
Life plan communities like St. Camillus provide access to different types of health care and residential activities for seniors on a campus.
St. Camillus is a habitat for several hundred older adults and retired Jesuits that offers various programs and services such as: memory maintenance and rehabilitation.
The life plan community, located five miles from the campus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, offers several amenities to select students. Some include a $350 studio apartment or a $500 one-bedroom apartment, free laundry facilities, and access to a fitness center with a yoga garden, golf simulator, and various workout studios. Life Plan Home also features a bar with happy hour twice a week.
A minimum of eight hours of weekly volunteer work per week is required for students to live in the apartments.
Stacy Barnes, director of the Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center and associate professor of practice at the College of Nursing, said it has been a positive implementation for both students and residents.
“We want the experience to be a positive one for both the residents living here and the students,” Barnes said.
Despite the age difference, the students and residents get along well, said Jackie Knight, Life Enrichment Manager at St. Camillus.
“My favorite part is that they’re together — they love them, they really do,” Knight said of the relationship between the students and residents.
Joia Wesley, a third-HerA graduate student and current resident of St. Camillus said her living situation did so exceeded her initial expectations and allowed her to meet people from different generations.
She comes from an intergenerational household in which her grandparents played an important role, Wesley said This vibrant community is an opportunity to give back.
“By bridging generations and bringing people of different ages together, there is a lot to learn from it. It is not only older adults who teach younger people, but alsoIt is younger people are also teaching older people,” Wesley said.
Antonio Martins, a current resident of St. Camillus and a sophomore in graduate school, expressed similar motivations.
“I really love spending time with my grandmas and grandpas in Brazil where I come from and when I saw that I would be living with these people I was also very excited because I knew I would learn a lot, ‘ Martins said.
Each student has the freedom to put their own twist on volunteering the flexibility to choose what they want to do, when they want to do it.
Martins said he has done volunteer activities around his home and environmental studies, such as watching a documentary on environmental issues where Martins will present statistics and allow residents to voice their opinions and talk about them.
“They really wanted us to do things that we think we can do with them, like things related to our major, activities that we enjoy doing in our free time,” Martins said.
Martins said the hours required, despite the time it takes to coordinate and plan events, didn’t feel like a commitment at all and often exceed the eight hours.
It feels like family, Martins added.
While Martin’s activities specialize in his interests, Welsey’s volunteer work specializes in hers.
Wesley said she focuses on mental health by prioritizing her volunteer activities, such as relaxation training and gratitude events. Ultimately, for Welsey, the big picture of these activities for residents is to develop social networks and goals for their well-being.
Wesley said that one of her favorite aspects of this program is building connections with residents and having friends of different ages so close.
“Since I live there it’s different than just volunteering and coming back home as it’s a lot more intimate. I see them every day… I mean, I don’t think a lot of people can say they have more than two hundred best friends,” Wesley added.
The program has just started as next year’s application is open until March 2023 for students to apply. Students selected to live in the home are selected for their drive and motivation to live in an intergenerational community and their ability to thrive with additional responsibilities and commitments.
The application requires a personal information section, a five-hundred-word essay, a list of references, and a signature. Applications should be sent by email to [email protected] until March 31, 2023, and finalists will be invited to continue the application process.
each fullaccording toIme Marquette student in any major – undergraduate or graduate – are welcome to apply and take a tour of the activities and apartments if interested.
This story was written by Trinity Zapotocky. She can be reached at [email protected]