Students at Boise State University are offered the world. They are offered to learn and grow beyond textbooks and group projects. Students are given the opportunity to experience life outside of their comfort zone and stretch their realm of possibilities to a new level. I have been fortunate in my university experience to have seen much of the world, but one of the most poignant experiences has been working with my peers in some of the poorest regions in the western hemisphere, communities like Ketto, on the tiny Caribbean island of Jamaica.
It wasn't too long ago that Student Involvement & Leadership Center Director, Jeremiah Shinn, brought PROJECT JAMAICA to Boise State University. This service learning experience has allowed students to live the lessons they were taught in the classroom, and put into practical application the lessons and theories of leadership and service. Students involved in various university programs and student organizations have been able to travel to Jamaica and offer up their time, talent, sweat and strength. This winter 2012, the trip was especially designed for the Greek Community, the Sororities and Fraternities at Boise State University. As a new member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity I considered myself lucky to be able to participate in such a worthy venture. In total, there were representatives of nearly every Greek social organization on campus.
The members of the sororities and fraternities at Boise State University stood in the face of their stereotypes and defied convention. I have never seen a more cohesive, respectful, and uplifting group of young people working toward a common goal. Gandhi taught that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Not only did our community find our true identity but we as individuals were able to find something greater than ourselves.
Poverty isn't something we are very familiar with here, Seeing the world through the eyes of those that live so simply yet with such grace has reminded me of what is truly important in life. As a photographer, I saw the beauty and struggles of Jamaica through my camera. Being with my DU brother allowed me to see our goals through a more refined lens, the values upon which I will continue to build my life. As a student I have been able to focus my vision on the excellence outside the classroom and beyond the library. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be the man that I am today had I not been afforded the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of my fellow observers of humanity. I am a better man because I have seen the world through the eyes of a child as I served their needs and gave of myself.