As we near the end of my final semester in With Purpose: College Station, I find myself frequently reflecting back to where it began in 2015: my Public Speaking class. COMM 203 seems like a strange place to form an organization and meet some of your best friends, but it happened to me. I suppose it wouldn’t have if the class had not been taught by Dr. Kristan Poirot, an inspiring and highly respected advocate for those who need help finding their voice. Furthermore, I am thankful to the amazing Erin Benson and Michael Lee for creating With Purpose in 2014 and giving ten college students the chance to become a part of something big.
The ten students that worked on the With Purpose campaign that semester were mostly freshmen, including myself. I remember when Dr. Poirot announced to our class that we would be splitting into two teams to initiate public campaigns for special organizations. To be honest, I was slightly annoyed over the ambiguous assignment and never would have expected it to become my single most favorite college experience. We were given a brief overview of each organization and asked to write down our top choice on a slip of paper. I wrote “With Purpose (by far)” and I’m not sure why, given my limited knowledge of pediatric cancer at the time, but I’m glad I did.
I remember being scared when one of my team members brought up the idea of hosting a 5K for our main fundraiser. The largest event I had ever planned at that point was my high school graduation party, and none of us knew the first thing about organizing a simple bake sale on campus, much less a large-scale race. All of the barriers and hesitations aside, we took a vote and decided to move forward with our pet project, the Run With Purpose 5K. Since you found our blog, you likely know that our COMM 203 class project was a success and many of our team members banded together to create With Purpose: College Station, an official Texas A&M student organization, the following semester. We are now completing our fifth semester in existence with forty active members and are gearing up to host our third annual Run With Purpose 5K.
I was recently interviewed by the Texas A&M school newspaper, The Battalion, regarding the process of creating a student organization. When asked for my advice to people considering starting their own group, I said don’t hesitate. It is a very easy and rewarding process; the University has over one thousand organizations but there is always something missing. If you feel passionate about something, whether it’s pediatric cancer research or fly fishing, just go for it. Your impact on Texas A&M will be forever felt.
Back in the spring of 2015, we didn’t have it all figured out. We learned the hard way that students prefer quarter-page flyers over full-page (easier to crumple into a ball ;) ), wind slits in banners are not supposed to be gaping holes, and you shouldn’t use yellow font on white t-shirts. The thing is, we’re still learning, and not knowing how to do something isn’t an excuse for not trying. Our mission statement begins with “Developing and empowering individuals to be impactful, passionate members of their community…” and I think that sums up the origins of With Purpose: College Station very well. Don’t underestimate the power of passion. Try new things. Use your voice. Live With Purpose.
WPCS President 2015-2017