Student, or, Community Servant?   Leave a comment

“Sed ministrare, non ministrare”, or “Not to be served, but to serve” is the official motto of Queens.  When I was a freshman, these words didn’t mean anything to me.  The extent of my dedication to the community went as far as the walk to Freedom Park to plant trees at nine o’clock in the morning.  However, the Core program has introduced me to a number of different philosophies that have added to my own conception of Community.

Little Sugar Creek, where I planted trees as a part of Freshmen Core, photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org

In order to understand my current views on the community, it is important to discuss my development through college.  In 2009, I was 18 years old and had moved to Charlotte from Orange County, California.  This was the first time that I had lived on my own, which coupled with the inflated ego of a recent High School Senior, which prevented me from truly caring about community service.  As I look back on the situation now, I like to think that the reason for my apathy was that I wasn’t really a member of the Charlotte community.  My home was a dorm room on campus, and my community consisted of my peers; that’s where my thoughts were concerned.  I thought that Intro to Nobel Lives was a great course, and Dr. Frederick taught with a sense of true dedication.  However, I really didn’t think about the material.  I read the texts, took the quizzes and exams and I earned a ‘B’, and that was that.

Another important development in my appreciation of community service was my commitment to PUSH America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi.  My brothers pride themselves on their constant dedication to community service, and we have won awards like the Greek Service House of the Year.  It was different to have a group of my peers, as well as my friends that expressed an interest in volunteering.  If nothing else, volunteering was a great way to get off campus and earn a free meal.  However, over time, I began to look past the long hours spent volunteering, and I began to consider the lasting impacts behind service.

Scaffold Sit: A Philanthropy event hosted by Pi Kappa Phi designed to raise money for people with disabilities

Scaffold Sit: A Philanthropy event hosted by Pi Kappa Phi designed to raise money for people with disabilities

I am currently enrolled in the final installment of the Core program, or Applied Ethics.  This has been a truly eye-opening class for me.  By considering a number of different philosophies to live by, then applying those philosophies to current news articles, Dr. Goode has been able to teach me about the lasting significance of service.  True service isn’t just showing up to a Soup Kitchen to make a homeless person a sandwich; it’s about showing that homeless person that somebody still cares.  Service is one of the best outlets in which people can express their feelings to their peers, because service isn’t just a discussion, it is an action.  Queens has provided me with a thorough and thoughtful education, but I believe that what I learned in Core will be very important to my future.

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Posted February 21, 2013 by Big Man in Capstone Reflections

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