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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Service Learning

Service Learning

Craig Altemose '06

International Relations and Global Affairs major

Craig Altemose 

I was extremely fortunate to be able to participate in so many fantastic service opportunities at Eckerd. I volunteered as close as a nearby YMCA (tutoring low-income students) and worked as far away as Venezuela (street children) and Thailand (refugees). But perhaps the experience that left the biggest impact on my personal development was my Spring Break trip to Washington, D.C. We went there to volunteer for organizations dealing with the twin demons of AIDS and poverty. I had been to Washington, D.C. several times before in my youth, but always as a tourist, visiting the nice parts of town in the right hours of the day.

But we did no such thing. We got our hands dirty, and saw the real-world. It was an eye-opening experience to see charities distributing food to the impoverished literally on the steps of our nation's capitol building. This clear juxtaposition, with extreme power on the one hand and extreme poverty on the other, left a sore taste in my mouth. I knew then that our system of government was broken; that those in power were failing to look out for the best interests of the people they were supposed to be serving. My desire to live a life of public-serve was strengthened even more from this experience.

Since graduating, I enrolled in a joint-degree program between Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School, but that has taken a back-seat to my activism. I now view the dangers posed by climate change as the single largest threat to the prosperity, stability, and well-being of our society, and have dedicated myself towards advocating solutions to the climate crisis. I helped form a statewide network of youth climate activists in Massachusetts and put on a several-hundred person conference that involved workshops, speakers, lobby trainings, direct citizen-legislator lobbying, a rally, and a keynote address by Senator John Kerry. I also served a term on the Executive Committee of the Sierra Student Coalition, helped plan Power Shift 2007, the nation's first national youth climate summit that brought 6,000 students to D.C., and am currently the Co-Chair of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies, strengthening a national network of law students to help tackle the environmental crises of our day. My time at Eckerd has set me down a lifelong path of both service and learning, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I was able to take advantage of.

Notes from the Field

Servant Leaders blog
Service-Learning Interns blog
The service-learning student interns are increasing service involvement at Eckerd, becoming successful service leaders and helping students create a community around the values and challenges of servant-leadership.

Service Learning Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Read individual profiles of how involvement with Eckerd Service Learning changed the lives of current students and alumni.  Learn more.