The College of Wooster has a rich tradition of altruistic service, and no one personifies the spirit of volunteerism in a more exemplary way than Michael Bush, a senior mathematics and physics double major from Brooklyn Park, Md. Bush recently received the J. Howard Morris and Josephine L. Morris Volunteer Service Award for his work at Holly House, a local non-profit agency that provides affordable housing options for the homeless and underserved in Wayne County.
Bush’s duties include coordinating student volunteer schedules, assisting with fundraising events, and participating in special events and continuing education, as well as working on improvement projects at the organization’s office site. By being chosen for the award, Bush will become Wooster’s nominee for the national Howard Swearer Student Humanitarian Award. He will also donate the award’s financial prize to Holly House.
“Michael has shown exceptional tolerance, compassion, and understanding for his fellow volunteers, the community at large, and most notably, the clients connected to the agency,” said Holly Hustwit Tate, a 1991 College of Wooster graduate who founded the organization in 2012. “His insight, knowledge, and patience have made him an outstanding role model, and despite his quiet nature, he has become a well-spoken advocate for our mission and an excellent leader in our organization.”
Holly House aims to create a community of care, diversity, and concern, as well as to raise awareness of the social problem of homelessness. Short-term rental assistance and intensive case management support services are designed to aid clients in obtaining and maintaining housing stability.
“It was quite an honor to receive the award,” said Bush, “but it wasn’t just me; it was a team effort of all our volunteers. “We are all very committed to fighting homelessness and helping people break out of the [homeless] cycle.”
After graduation, Bush will continue his studies at the University of Delaware, where he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics, but the issue of homelessness will never be far from him mind. “Homeless is complex and systemic, but I will continue in the fight against it,” he said. “Who knows, maybe someday I will start a Holly House in my community.”