This semester has been filled with local volunteer opportunities for students. Everything from UNICEF Pigotta doll making and wrapping holiday gifts with Mani Tese, to English tutoring at local schools. Umbra participants have not shied away from these opportunities, but instead have jumped at the chance to step outside of the classroom and give back to the community that has become their home away from home.
Over several weekends, many students volunteered with the Orsini Family of Orsini Agriturismo in nearby Passignano sul Trasimeno. As a small-scale, family-run operation, all sowing and harvesting is done by hand. It is here where students experienced the day-to-day operations of a rural Italian farm during harvest time working alongside members of the family harvesting both fagiolina beans and olives. It also served as a wonderful opportunity for students to become honorary members of the Orsini family, gaining insight into Italian family relationships as they practiced their Italian language skills.
“I volunteer a lot in the United States, so working with the Orsini family allowed me to continue that practice, while also getting more in touch with local culture,” commented University of Wisconsin-Madison student Joseph Orner. “Harvesting fagiolina beans had me working alongside Italians within their element, demonstrating their strong work ethic and the tight bonds that they have as a family, since they do work so closely together. It makes you appreciate the work that goes into the process.”