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Posted by on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Community.

Rebecca Riley, ’17,  School of Engineering

Anyone who knows me can attest that I am perennially running ten minutes late. It was no different when I rolled into the Crawford House “Meet the Candidates” meeting last August. I checked out the board with the names of the candidates and, to my total surprise, saw my name amongst them for… what was that? House service commissioner?

At the time, I was coming to Vanderbilt off of a very successful, not to mention stressful, senior year. Service was the last thing on my mind. Yet once again I found myself getting roped into another altruistic activity. I was not happy.

Rebecca RileyIt wasn’t until I put service into the broader perspective of the Vanderbilt experience that I began to realize the importance of being both a servant and a student. Service provides a crucial channel for validating the freshman journey. It helps each of us answer the question that suffuses our actions, our motivations, and our very existence: Why are we here? Service allows us to put our experiences here at Vanderbilt into perspective: All the hard work that we put into our education becomes meaningful when we perceive our degrees as tools with which we may serve others.

The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons provides a forum for all freshmen to delve into the critical issues of the college experience. The spirit of The Commons is all about addressing these questions in a profound and meaningful way, a way that cannot avoid service to others. Indeed, you may find that, in convincing yourself that service is worthwhile, you discover where your life has meaning as well.

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