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A Minute with Casey Eldridge

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What is your role with The University and where does your passion for your work stem from?

I am the community service coordinator. My job is to connect students with service opportunities that give them a chance to give back to communities while gaining valuable skills and experiences. To achieve this goal, I work closely with Rev. Michael Fales to plan community service trips for our students as part of our service learning department. Our projects last semester included assisting the Port Austin Historical Society, working with grade school students in DeTour, Michigan, doing conservation work in some of their local nature preserves, working with the Morgan Scott Project in Tennessee, and our helping to repair a home damaged in a fire during our alternative winter break trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Community service work has been my passion since I was young, and this passion grew when I was a student at Olivet participating in the service learning trips.

What are the most exciting parts of your role?

The absolute best part of my job is seeing the students’ positive impact on communities and seeing them grow as they experience new places and challenges. During these trips, students meet new people, experience new places, and do unique work that significantly benefits people in need. I love seeing the positive impact it has on both the students and people in need. I also love working alongside the students during our trips as we tear down walls, clear invasive species and move furniture.

What “words of wisdom” have you lived by that students can learn from?

Do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone. The world is a complex place full of exciting but terrifying opportunities. If you are scared to be uncomfortable or to take a risk, you can miss out on incredible opportunities. Trust yourself, and don’t be afraid to take some risks while trying out new things. You will never know what you are capable of if you hold yourself back. Some of my favorite experiences in life started with me taking a leap of faith despite the fear of failure.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?

I love to travel and try new things. Before accepting my current position at Olivet, I worked in the archipelago (a chain or group of lakes) of Svalbard (part of Norway), far above the Arctic Circle, as a musher, giving tours of the arctic tundra wilderness from the back of a dog sled. Riding a dog sled through the Arctic wilderness during the dark of the polar night with the aurora shining above me will always be one of my absolute favorite moments.

Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at admissions@UOlivet.edu or 269-749-7635.

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