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Here are some examples of college students who are contributing. The former high school quarterback who plays intramural flag football is contributing. The African American student who joins the African American Student Union is contributing. The student with a pilot's license who joins the Flying Club is contributing. The student who has to work full time to put herself through college, and schedules classes around the hours where she works at the campus coffee shop, is contributing. The student who becomes a resident advisor and also teaches cultural sensitivity trainings to the RA staff is contributing. The former photographer for the high school paper who now takes photos for the college paper is contributing. The homosexual student who becomes the president of the Gay/Straight Alliance in college is contributing. The harmonica player who plays with a blues band in the annual campus "Battle of The Bands" is contributing. The former lead in the school play who minors in drama and acts in the productions is contributing. The daughter of migrant farm workers who's now the first in her family to go to college, who plays club ultimate frisbee, works part time, and regularly visits her professors during office hours is contributing.
The common trait all of these students have are that they are in some way sharing their talent, background, belief or circumstance with other students and faculty.
It's not uncommon, as it's often the broader prompts like this one that are harder for students to answer.
But remember that essays are a vehicle for the admissions committee to get to know you better in ways your application doesn't reveal.
It's good to see large schools like University of Wisconsin trying to personalize their application process.
Thank them for doing so by personalizing your responses.
It might be a major leadership role on campus or might be simply teaching other students how to play the harmonica. They're finding their place within the campus community.
The only way to answer a question like this is to think about the person you want to be in college, and connect that with stories from your high school life that illustrate those traits, circumstances, beliefs, etc.
In order to give us a more complete picture of you as an individual, please tell us about the particular life experiences, perspectives, talents, commitments and/or interests you will bring to our campus.
In other words, how will your presence enrich our community?