I Am Elon with Jenny Fukunaga ’17
The human service studies major is passionate about local service and her work with Elon Volunteers! has been key in developing that interest
California native Jenny Fukunaga visited 23 colleges to find the perfect match. After touring Elon, she knew the search was over. Now a tour guide herself, Jenny is one semester away from completing her degree in human service studies.
“By far, my favorite part of Elon is the people I’ve met here,” the Leadership Fellow says. A standout is Evan Small, assistant director of the Kernodle Center for Student Programs. Evan and Jenny have worked together throughout her time at Elon, beginning with service work the summer before her first year. She cites his ongoing guidance as key to her time with Elon Volunteers!, where she serves as executive director of leadership and development.
“Recognizing that I am not an expert when I go into a community and that I am there to learn from them is something that the Kernodle Center taught me. We work with, not for, people. The cook at the local soup kitchen can teach me a lot about food insecurity in Alamance County.”
Jenny’s interest in local service work led to her undergraduate research project, which investigates community engagement between Elon students and local residents. She is gathering data about the effectiveness of campus initiatives for local service work and its effects on both groups.
“My research has shown that getting students involved in the local community in their first few weeks on campus is one of the easiest ways to have them committed to service throughout their four years here. And with Elon Volunteers!, I’m able to connect people with the social issues that they’re passionate about. I love seeing them fall in love with service.”
By Kim Walker