Building a community through service and travel

Brandon Goetz and his service trip group help out in Colorado.

By Yvie Croninger ’25

After his first service trip with Wartburg College, Brandon Goetz ’25 was hooked.

“I decided that because it wasn’t very expensive, it was a way to travel and meet some new people. One of the exec members was on was on my first trip to Nashville and encouraged me to join the exec team, so I applied,” said Goetz, a sociology and psychology major from White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Now he is the group’s co-director and helps promote the organization, assists other executive team members, and leads service trips across the United States.

“I’ve led trips to Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., and New Orleans, La. During Winter Break (2024) I led a trip to Denver, Colo., and I will be in Winston-Salem, N.C., later this spring,” he explained.

Goetz said his involvement on campus is the key to his Wartburg experience.

“Involvement as a whole is really important to me. Being a part of service trips allows me to have community involvement both on- and off-campus as well as the ability to meet new people and gain new experiences. I enjoy being able to learn from my experiences,” said Goetz.

Brandon Goetz

Though being busy can be stressful, he also thinks it can help student grow.  

“I remember talking to my adviser, Dr. Brian McQueen, and telling him that I felt like I was stressed out, really busy, just hanging on by a thread. I will never forget him telling me that is what success feels like. That statement has really stuck with me, and I give that as advice to others around me,” he said.

While Goetz has many amazing memories from his time at Wartburg, his freshman year Outfly take the top spot.

“I remember how excited my roommate, Matthias Letsche, was. We had heard about it but our freshman year was weird in many ways, so we didn’t know what was going to happen. I thought it was really fun getting the surprise wake up. That day I got the opportunity to spend time with some guys I was still making friends with who are now my roommates in The Res and some of my lifelong best friends,” he said.

After graduation, Goetz hopes to take his Wartburg experience of service and implement that with a graduate degree in psychology working to help people, maybe as a counseling psychologist.