Midnight Run transitions from active service to mindful learning through online format

Midnight run has taken an online approach this semester.

Midnight run has taken an online approach this semester.

Midnight Run will be hosting weekly roundtable discussions to educate Marquette students on social justice and volunteering.

Midnight Run is a student-led organization under the supervision of Campus Ministry. Its webpage describes it as “a movement of compassion towards the community on the margins of society.” 

During a normal semester, Midnight Run focuses on sending Marquette student volunteers to different sites and programs throughout the Milwaukee community including Vet’s Place Central , Streetlife and other philanthropic organizations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Midnight Run is unable to have in-person volunteers. 

“It’s a situation where the most compassionate thing we can do is keep distance and be apart from each other,” Brooke Huerter, senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and a student coordinator for Midnight Run, said. “This semester we tried to think as creatively as we can on how to connect with our community and rebuild for when we go back in person.” 

Even though in-person volunteering isn’t an option, Midnight Run is still offering ways to connect as a community. Student coordinators announced the organization’s plans in a panel over Microsoft Teams Sept. 23.

“This semester instead of going out in person and volunteering we have transitioned from active service to mindful learning,” Huerter said. “We’re having these conversations grounded in anti-racism to build our organization better for when we can go back in person.” 

Student coordinators hope that these weekly discussions can help prepare Marquette student volunteers for when they return to in-person volunteering. So far, they’ve only had one discussion but hope to continue them throughout the course of the semester.

“Our hope for the semester is to just focus on education and learning,” Joey O’Connor, senior in the College of Business Administration and a student coordinator for Midnight Run, said. “Each one of us comes from different backgrounds and different experiences and different knowledge bases and I think our hope is that we can kind of grapple with these ideas together and hopefully we can take that knowledge back to the community when we’re finally able to get back out there.”

Despite having to alter the way Midnight Run operates, student coordinators hope that this can be a time of learning and reflecting on why students volunteer in the first place. 

“Sometimes when people come to volunteer they just volunteer because it’s something that they think they should do or that they’re really passionate about. But they don’t understand all that’s behind it,” Mary Grace Riley, a senior in the College of Health Sciences and a student coordinator for Midnight Run, said.

Riley and the rest of Midnight Run see this time as an opportunity to learn and grow while preparing to help the Milwaukee community.

“I think that this is the perfect opportunity to work at the base and help people understand why they’re volunteering and the struggles in our community that we’re facing specifically in Milwaukee, and how our volunteering can help people in those situations,” Riley said.

The weekly discussions are held over Microsoft Teams. Each week, the group will reflect on a piece of writing or media relevant to the theme of the week. But the weekly roundtables will also be a place to interact with other students and form a community.

“We’re going to have check-ins to see how the week is going, mental health, literally anything that you’re feeling week by week,” Emily Foley, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and discussion leader, said.

Midnight Run roundtable discussions are still open for those who want to sign up. Their homepage can be found under Campus Ministry on the Marquette website. Additional information can also be found on the Soup with Substance Facebook page.

This story was written by Megan Woolard, she can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu.