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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

Profiles in Service

Deborah Hilbert

Abilene, Texas

Deborah Hilbert
Graduation Year: 2013
Major: Biology and Environmental Studies
Minors: Chemistry
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?

I have worked with the recycling program since I arrived at Eckerd, and this will be my third year as Recycling Coordinator. I have been a member and leader of the Garden Club since its inception, helping to care for the organic garden and to oversee volunteers and events. I have participated in two spring break service trips--one to North Carolina where we worked on a sustainable homestead, and another to Cayman Brac where we cleaned beaches and cleared historic trails. The two service trips were some of the most memorable adventures I have had at Eckerd, and I still share strong bonds with members of the trips. I have also participated in the Into the Streets program, volunteered with Eckerd College Homeless Outreach (ECHO), and participated in clean-ups of the EC Palm Hammock natural area, the EC Native Plant Garden, and the Indian Key Bird Sanctuary.

Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.

I must say that the environmental service experiences have been the most significant for me. Seeing local and global environmental issues first-hand repeatedly reinvigorates my sense of duty to the earth. It is not always easy to see where we are and how much further we have to go, but participating in the different service projects has reminded me that I am a part of a community of like-minded people who share my concerns and my passions.

Service and justice are two topics that can generate stimulating thought and discussion. Describe a time, event or interaction that really engaged your thoughts on service and justice.

I remember vividly the first time I went with ECHO to feed the homeless. People on the streets told me about unfair St. Pete laws that were clearly directed at the homeless population, and later I couldn't help but rant to my friends about the injustice of it all. This was one of the experiences that made me stop and think, "how could we let the world come to this?" And better yet, "what can we do to create change?"

What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?

Get involved as soon as possible. Trade off a Saturday spent at the beach or an afternoon hanging out with the usual crowd and get off campus. It's a huge, complicated world we live in, and participating in service is a sure way to grow in empathy and wisdom, two traits that are necessary for having healthy relationships with the world and everyone in it.

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.