Student reflections on service
November 14, 2012
Purple Stride: Walk for Pancreatic Cancer at the Oregon Zoo
I will freely admit that my initial motivation for volunteering for this particular event was the idea of being surrounded by animals because hey—free zoo admission. I felt it to be a fair trade. I provided myself as (wo)manpower, and Purple Stride provided me with a free t-shirt and free admission into the Oregon Zoo. So I went, along with two of my coworkers from the Center for Career and Community Engagement (3CE). I went with the vague impression that I was getting the better deal—that I was going to the zoo with the side bonus of the warm, fuzzy feelings that come with doing a “good thing.” Helping others makes me feel good. I don’t know exactly why the act of volunteering seems to be directly responsible for my high levels of satisfaction, but it is, and I follow that feeling. I
bounce from organization to organization because I don’t feel personally and emotionally attached, and yet in spite of this I get something out of it. I didn’t know much about pancreatic cancer, and I didn’t know anyone who has had it, but I felt good wading through a sea of purple, surrounded by volunteers, participants, and survivors alike. I suppose, then, that it is the people who inspire me instead of the actual cause. There’s something beautiful about volunteering, and for me it is witnessing people come together to work towards a common goal. And when I volunteer, I am reminded of all the good and the kindness that the human race is capable of. The sheer numbers of participants clad in all combinations of purple (socks, polyester tracksuits, tulle tutus, wigs, t-shirts) were impressive and inspiring. I had never volunteered at an event such as this, surrounded by people who loved so much even if they grieved. And I think this is why I volunteer. To be surrounded by people who are so passionate and who genuinely believe that they are making a difference in people’s lives—and they are—is rejuvenating. The people of Purple Stride, by way of being wonderfully hardy and energetic, have motivated me to keep moving, to keep volunteering. Maybe one day I’ll find my cause, the cause that fires off my neurons and propels me to my feet and into action. And this cause will be one worth fighting for, for me, because it’ll be personal. And I’m hoping that one day, when I make that connection from passive to passionate participant, I’ll find my answer. Until then—
Class of 2015
Trushaa Castelino, Jasmine Graze, and Amanda Stewart.