Leading the Way
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Some IIT students say that family role models, such as their parents or other relatives, shaped their community service mindset. Some began volunteering regularly during high school at nursing homes or hospital gift shops, or for special events. Their reasons for giving back may vary, but their motivation can often be summarized simply.
"If one act can bring a smile to someone's face, that's pretty much all the drive I need to keep contributing to the community," says Ali Riaz (ECE 2nd year). "Whatever path you take in your life, you must always find the time to give something back to your community, state, or country. Reaching out to help people will bring you more satisfaction than anything else you've ever done."
Meet six IIT students who are making a difference in their community by leading their own quiet revolutions for change.
Students Dhara Shah, Ali Riaz, and Anita Thomas
Photos: Michael Goss
"Anything that gets you involved in events on campus and in the community makes your college experience that much better."
Name: Melanie Koto
Community service highlight: Bringing first-ever Relay for Life to IIT's The Big Event Why Relay for Life appeals to her: "I participated in Relay all four years of high school. It brings students and members of the community together through a very real and admirable goal—eliminating cancer and the pain that it causes."
Why more students should consider giving back: "Anything that gets you involved in events on campus and in the community makes your college experience that much better, especially if what you are doing gives you a good feeling inside. Participating in community service events can be a really fun way to achieve that."
"After all, service is the rent we pay for living."
Name: Ali Riaz
Community service highlight: Spearheaded campus festival—Eid-ul-Azha—that included fundraising for flood victims in Pakistan Eid-ul-Azha festival efforts: "The Pakistan Student Association collaborated with the Muslim Student Association on the Eid festival as a great way to bring Muslims and people of other faiths together. When I heard that the monsoon rains [in Pakistan] affected more than 8.1 million people, I was devastated. We held several fundraising drives and donated all of the money to Islamic Relief."
Why more students should consider giving back: "The personal satisfaction that you'll get once you've helped someone is simply amazing. And trust me on this—it doesn't matter how big or small an act you do; once you start, you'll want even more. After all, service is the rent we pay for living, and it's really a small price to pay for a great life!"
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