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John Weyenberg ’97 and Marco Rodriguez ’16 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore retail outlet

TKE Brothers 19 Years Apart Build Working Relationship

St. Norbert College connections in the working world are far from rare, but John Weyenberg ’97 and Marco Rodriguez ’16 discovered they had an additional link when the two met through the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity (HFH).

Weyenberg, who serves as executive director of the Fox Cities HFH, met Rodriguez after the recent St. Norbert grad had been hired for a short-term position through the AmeriCorps national service organization.

“Through conversation, we found out we were both St. Norbert graduates, and then we realized we were members of the same fraternity in TKE,” Weyenberg said. 

In addition to the TKE (Tau Kappa Epsilon) bond, Rodriguez also had previous experience with Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity projects, as well as its ReStore retail outlet. He served as secretary, treasurer and vice president of the college’s HFH chapter in three years of volunteering.

“The experience taught me different approaches to communication,” Rodriguez said. “It helped me understand that everybody is different when you try to communicate with them.”

Rodriguez brought the Fox Cities Habitat’s old manual volunteer-management system to a fully integrated online scheduling system, and implemented a point-of-sale system for the Appleton ReStore and trained others in its use.

“It’s much more efficient and a huge transition for our organization,” Weyenberg said. “Marco did a fantastic job keeping people coordinated and on track. For being fresh out of college, he did an amazing job and we’re sad to see his term with us is ending soon.”

Rodriguez is serving in the Army National Guard and will continue his education at the conclusion of his AmeriCorps term at the end of summer. His plans include working toward a master’s degree in project management through the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

“I’ve been put onto a lot of projects, and it helps that they’re very diverse,” Rodriguez said. “If I was just working on one project, I could get bored with it fairly easily. It’s definitely been a fun ride.”

A Life-Changing Experience
Most of Weyenberg’s early experience in community service came through the college’s campus ministry program, where he was a student-employee. He coordinated some of the service trips that students would take during semester breaks and participated in multiple volunteer efforts.

His passion for volunteering ramped up during his junior year, which he spent studying in London. Living in a large city was a new experience for him, and it opened his eyes to the vast need for social services.

“I had never been out of the country and barely out of Wisconsin until then,” he said. “One of my first days in the city, I went walking around and there were homeless people on park benches, sitting on sidewalks, just everywhere.

“I sat down with a woman sitting on some steps and started talking to her. She shared a little bit of her story. The next day, I went into the career services office and told them, ‘I have this internship with a multi-national company, but I really think I need to try something in the social services area.’ She found me an internship with Family Welfare Services about an hour away, and from that point forward, I knew I would be in social services.”

Sept. 5, 2017