An avid volunteer, Jacquitta Ferguson '13 of New Lebanon, N.Y., enjoys stepping outside of herself to take care of someone else. Taking on this type of challenge, as well as new experiences and meeting new people along the way, have been instrumental to her growth on campus.
"When I learn about all the things wrong in this world and the people that are being hurt, my only reaction is to do something about it," Ferguson said. "It gives me tremendous joy to give, to support, and to be of comfort to other people when they are hurting. To act out of love for another is the most selfless gift you can give, and it has the most profound and beautiful impact on the entire world."
The sociology major began volunteering in high school, when she worked with a Youth for Christ center. Once she arrived at MCLA, Ferguson joined the PILLARS community service group. Her many volunteer efforts include helping to build a house during her sophomore year with Habitat for Humanity.
The president of Christian Fellowship and PILLARS at MCLA, she's working on a number of events for the spring semester and is on a planning committee to bring back the "Relay for Life" in 2013 with "Colleges against Cancer."
Her classes also provide opportunities to volunteer. As part of her "Social Work with Juvenile Delinquents" course, Ferguson visited Berkshire Farms, a facility for troubled youth.
The experiences have allowed Ferguson to learn and grow.
"They require me to step outside of my comfort zone and become more aware of what is happening around me," she explained. "Because of these activities, I am becoming more educated and less ignorant. To me, that is one of the first steps to bringing powerful and positive change."
Ferguson, who plans to pursue a master's degree in social work, advises other students to be willing to grow.
"It may sound cliche, but it is very true: Welcome challenges, new experiences and new people. But also know what you stand for. Be a positive, caring, loving and pro-active person who makes an impact. Be prepared to be angered, frustrated, annoyed, confused, etc. Then use those emotions to empower and propel you forward."
"My experience as a sociology major has been great," Ferguson continued. "Right now, I'm taking a 'Social Problems' course in which we discussed human trafficking and modern day slavery. These topics have been near and dear to my heart since high school, so being able to learn more, and talk about solutions was wonderful. In addition, I had the exciting opportunity of meeting modern day abolitionist, Kevin Bales, who wrote the book we read for class. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year!"
Life on campus is "pretty great." "The knowledge and the life skills I've acquired while being a student are priceless. All of my classes have in some way helped educate and prepare me for the things going on outside the classroom.
"I think the best part of being at MCLA is the ability to be creative. Not only am I creative in the artistic sense, but I can also get creative in my classes, and in how I form positive relationships, and present information to my friends, or other students. You never know who you will meet or talk to that may greatly impact you in some way, and can give you ideas that make you passionate."