Students in Action

James Branch

San Antonio, TX

James Branch
Major: Human Development, Minor: Religious Studies
Why did you decide to attend EC?

I was initially attracted to Eckerd for its innovativeness, small classes and reputation of distinct character amongst private liberal arts colleges. As I delved further in the admissions process, I was hooked and Eckerd therefore became my unprecedented top choice. I received the information I needed through friendly interactions with my admission counselor and current students. That was before I even visited. Once I stepped foot on Eckerd, the student body, beautiful campus and sunny St. Pete had me committing to Eckerd that week.

Eckerd is recognized as a College That Changes Lives (book by Loren Pope). How has EC changed your life?

Eckerd changes your life by inspiring you to transform not just your life, but others' as well. Eckerd has the ability to offer so many new experiences. One of the neatest things I've been changed by are the clubs, specifically ECHO (Eckerd College Homeless Outreach). I am now the co-vice president of ECHO and will be co-president next year. We provide 250 homeless citizens with sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies and bottled water every Saturday downtown. ECHO also distributes health packets and clothing.

What are some of your favorite things about Eckerd?

One of my favorite things about EC is the level of involvement offered to students. After developing my love for EC I realized the path of student government, ECOS, was a way of working for something I really believe in. I first joined ECOS via the Financial Affairs committee after an upperclassman inspired me to get involved within ECOS. I found it awesome to help allocate the extensive budget ECOS holds and work with EC’s 70 plus clubs. Now a sophomore, I recently ran successfully for Senate, now overseeing the needs of the four dorms in the Gamma Complex and the issues of the student body and beyond. Because this is truly an institution like no other, you become inspired in various ways to maintain the enjoying aspects of campus-life as a leader while ever seeking to improve it. Additionally, I find the degree of student-faculty interaction essential to attaining the fullest of college experiences. Your professors quickly shift from just scholars to becoming your friends and mentors

When did you know you made the right choice coming to Eckerd?

Autumn Term here assures you that you've made the right decision to be a part of Eckerd. Immediately you're engaged with students as interested in making new social circles as you and the captivating curriculum which trounces the class you thought was your coolest in high school.

Favorite Eckerd class:

My favorite class at Eckerd thus far was my Autumn Term class: "Don't Drink the Kool-Aid" taught by Dr. Davina Lopez. In this extremely diverse class we "critically engaged" cults and emergent religious movements. Dr. Lopez's teaching methods and unique style captivated the class and inspired me to become involved as a minor in Religious Studies, something I by no means anticipated ever doing.

Who is a typical Eckerd student?

Picking a mold for a typical EC student would be a bit of a mistake given you're commonly exposed to a new type quite often. EC generates interest from ambitious future entrepreneurs, to prospective therapists, and to those who are going to enlist in the Coast Guard the second they don't have ECSAR anymore. However, I can pinpoint a universal linking characteristic of all EC students: curiosity.

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