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Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Profiles in Service
Devon Elizabeth Williams
Graduation Year: 2013
Major: Political Science
Minors: International Relations and Journalism
What types of service/volunteer activities are/were you involved with at Eckerd?
Through the Office of Service Learning I was able to volunteer on multiple Saturday Service excursions. I also went on Spring Break Services Trips and worked with the volunteer efforts of the office to rally the student body around an environmental cause. I also served on the committee of the Eckerd College Relay for Life supporting the American Cancer Society.
In what ways did your service experience change you or cause a transformation in your thinking, values or degree/career choice?
All of the service opportunities I have participated in have had a perspective altering impact on me. Each time I volunteer it propels me to be the best person I can be. All service experiences are reminders of how important it is for the future of the world, in a time of full throttle globalization, for people to be tolerant, open minded, and helpful. We're all citizens of the world and members of the global community.
Please describe your most significant or important service experience while at Eckerd.
Volunteering in Cuba was what I imagine traveling back in time would feel like. This experience exposed me to people who are completely controlled by their government, a poverty stricken nation, and a beautiful spirit. Their amazing innovation is inspired by necessity and seeing the lack of freedom they have, and the role the United States plays in that, made this one of the most impactful experiences of my life.
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 recently visited the International Criminal Court in the Hague with a group of Eckerd students for a portion of a spring into summer course. This opportunity generated a lot of discussion on the idea of justice - what it was, how to make it tangible. Most of us found our answer at the sentencing of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, when he was sentenced to 50 years in jail at the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone. The work that the members of the special court did to make the justice real for the people affected by the tragic events by making local truth and reconciliation commissions as well as town hall meetings really emphasized that justice was not only about sentencing a principle player thousands of miles away from where the atrocities took place, but making it relevant for the people.
What advice would you give to other current or entering Eckerd students about participating in service?
Get started early! I didn't even realize the beauty of our Office of Service Learning until I was a junior. This office offers tremendous opportunities for you to better the world (and yourself). Volunteering and participating in service in any capacity is always a "win, win".